Rune II publisher Ragnarok Game has launched legal proceedings against the developers of the title for allegedly withholding assets it owns.
Update January 6, 2020: Ragnarok says it has acquired the Rune II source code and assets.
Original story continues: The action RPG released for PC via the Epic Games store on November 12, a day before developer Human Head Studios announced its surprise closure after 22 years in operation.
Simultaneously, Bethesda Softworks revealed it had established Roundhouse Studios, a new studio in Madison, Wisconsin, staffed by developers who had worked at Human Head Studios.
Following a “successful” launch, the game’s new development team at Ragnarok plans to update Rune II with fresh content “for months to come” and still intends to release the title on other PC platforms in 2020.
However, it claims its ambitions are being held back by developers formerly of Human Head Studios withholding the game’s source code and assets.
“As mentioned previously, we had no warning that our long term partner and friends in this project would abandon it during its most crucial moment, leaving our team at Ragnarok Game LLC to shoulder both the development and publishing burden of launch all on its own,” it said in a statement.
“Since Human Head’s sudden closure, announcement, and discovering the active concealment of their acquisition, we have repeatedly requested access to the final launch build source code and RUNE II game assets.
“This is so we can continue to support, update, and execute future DLC for our community. As part of the publishing agreement on RUNE II, Ragnarok Game LLC has paid for the development of these assets and is the rightful owner of them.
“After repeated refusals by Human Head to produce these assets, we’ve had no choice but to file a legal complaint in order to obtain the RUNE II game assets. We have exhausted all possible options before getting to this point. This is not the step we wanted to take, but it is necessary in order to fulfill our promises to our community.”
Human Head Studios was the developer of 2006’s original Prey game and a cancelled sequel, before the property was rebooted by Bethesda’s Arkane Studios.
It also developed the original Rune, Dead Man’s Hand, Lost Within and The Quiet Man, while contributing to titles including Batman: Arkham Origins, BioShock Infinite and Brink.
Roundhouse Studios creative director Chris Rhinehart, formerly a project lead at Human Head Studios, said earlier this month: “Sadly, we had to wind down the business of Human Head Studios and close its doors, which was particularly devastating due to the passion and creativity of the team we’d assembled.
“We reached out to our friends at Bethesda for help, and they saw that same creativity and passion in our team. With the formation of Roundhouse Studios, Bethesda offered every employee of Human Head a position at the new company.
“We are excited our team will remain together, pursuing the work we love, as part of a company we already know and admire.”