John Carmack Sues ZeniMax Back

John Carmack
Nick Ut/AP Images

Legendary game designer John Carmack has responded to the ongoing legal battle with ZeniMax with a lawsuit of his own.

Carmack is looking to collect $22.5 million from his former employer, accusing them of holding back payment due from their buyout of id Software in 2009. The father of Commander Keen, Doom, and Quake has accused ZeniMax of refusing to pay over “sour grapes.” According to the text of the lawsuit itself, ZeniMax “will soon be obligated to pay [Carmack] more than $45 million in cash” on June 23, 2017. This is the final date for payment of the eight-year-old sale of Carmack’s brainchild.

ZeniMax “clearly doesn’t want to pay,” in what the suit calls a “seemingly inevitable refusal to honor its obligation.” By dragging their proverbial feet, the company is “already in breach” of the agreements made on the deal. As the suit bluntly summarizes, “sour grapes is not an affirmative defense to breach of contract.”

ZeniMax bit back in a statement made to the Dallas Morning News. They expectedly asserted that the claims were “completely without merit,” but added that “apparently lacking in remorse, and disregarding the evidence of his many faithless acts and violations of law, Mr. Carmack has decided to try again.”

The hostility between the two parties leaks through the legal jargon, painting a picture of a bitter feud that is unlikely to be resolved anytime in the near future. It’s only the latest chapter in a litigatory war between ZeniMax, Carmack, and Facebook’s struggling VR project, Oculus — by whom Carmack is currently employed.

Accusations of everything from corporate espionage to outright theft and destruction of evidence have been thrown around with increasing aggression. It recently culminated in a $500 million dollar ruling for ZeniMax, but remains tangled in an ongoing appeals process.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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