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Bethesda accused of sabotaging Rune 2 to protect The Elder Scrolls

Published: 13:29, 22 October 2020
rune 2 screenshot showing a viking warrior in battle with two giants
Rune 2

Here's a strange legal turn for you today - Ragnarok Game's lawsuit against Human Head Studios, the developer of Rune 2, has been expanded to include Bethesda and its parent company, Zenimax.

"In an act of utter bad faith and contractual breach of confidentiality requirements, Human Head secretly provided Bethesda and Zenimax with 'keys' that permitted it to play a confidential, pre-release version of Rune 2. This enabled Bethesda and Zenimax to see for themselves the threat that Rune 2 posed to their hit franchise, Skyrim/Elder Scrolls. Plaintiffs were never informed of this betrayal", the lawsuit states. 

Now, the lawsuit is a complicated one, to begin with, so let us first explain the situation. Discussed almost since the original Rune launched in 2000, Rune: Ragnarok was finally confirmed to be in development in 2017. 

In March and May of 2019, Human Head Studios announced that Rune: Ragnarok has been renamed to Rune, and then Rune 2 , respectively, confirming it as an Epic Games Store exclusive.

This is where things get interesting because just a few days after Rune 2 launched and reportedly exceeded all expectations, Human Head Studios suddenly disbanded. Ragnarok Game LLC, the publisher, ended up being as confused as the general public, even more so after Human Head practically reformed as Roundhouse Studios, a Bethesda-owned studio. 

EGS rune 2 screenshot showing a viking warrior bracing for dragon attack Rune 2

Human Head refused to hand over source files to Ragnarok, which made it pretty hard to provide players with any sort of support, and thus the lawsuit was filed.  

Although Rune 2's source files have been returned to Ragnarok in January 2020,  the lawsuit stayed and has now implicated Bethesda as well. We're not sure whether Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda complicates things further, but so far it seems it's not even a talking point.

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