"The complaint is meritless." As retorts go, Cryptic Studios' response to comic book giant Marvel Enterprises hits with the power of an Incredible Hulk ( er, better insert a TM here - Ed) punch.
As we reported last Friday, Marvel Enterprises has launched a lawsuit against Cryptic Studios and NCsoft, the developer and publisher respectively of PC MMORPG City of Heroes.
The lawsuit alleges that the game, which allows players to design characters that may look slightly akin to any superhero ever created, infringes on Marvel's copyrights and damages their future licensing potential.
Today Cryptic hit back with a short but decisive statement on their official company website. It reads, "Cryptic Studios is confident that the District Court will reject all of Marvel's claims and fully vindicate Cryptic Studios in all respects."
The lawsuit is a potentially explosive test case for MMO games. Marvel claim that since Cryptic and NCsoft host players on their own servers, they are responsible for the actions of those players. If the lawsuit is successful it could render developers and publishers of online games responsible for players who give their avatars copyrighted names or design them with recognisable visual cues.
Cryptic Studios appear to be standing firm on the issue though, so we'll bring you updates as they happen. You might also like to fly over check out our essential Q&A with Jack Emmert, the lead designer of City of Heroes here.