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Ruling delayed on ‘Brutal Legend’ release

Brutal Legend Lawsuit
In "Brutal Legend," the character Eddie Riggs, voiced by actor Jack Black, left, is a heavy-metal roadie transported to a mythical ancient world to fight evil.Anonymous / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A judge said Thursday said he is not inclined to delay the release of "Brutal Legend," a heavily marketed video game starring Jack Black, but delayed arguments and a formal ruling for one week.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan said during a brief hearing that his tentative ruling was to deny a motion by gaming giant Activision to delay the game's October release. He rescheduled arguments on the motion until Aug. 6 because his court calendar was full and to allow attorneys to fully argue their positions.

Activision sued the game's developer, Double Fine Productions in June and asked a judge to stop the release by rival firm Electronic Arts. Activision claims it owns the game's rights and has invested nearly $15 million in the project.

Double Fine countersued earlier this month, claiming Activision breached its contract with the firm and is only trying to protect its popular "Guitar Hero" franchise.

"Brutal Legend" features Black as a heavy-metal roadie transported to a mythical ancient world to fight evil. It has been heavily marketed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and on gaming Web sites. An attorney for Electronic Arts told Karlan on Thursday that the company has spent millions of dollars already promoting the game.

Double Fine is scheduled to deliver a final version of the game to Electronic Arts on Aug. 8, an attorney for the company said Thursday. Karlan pledged to have his final ruling available so as not to delay that any longer than necessary.

He told attorneys for Activision that he had several reasons why he was leaning against ordering the release of the game delayed, one of them being he wasn't sure they would win.

"I can't say there's a likelihood of success here," he said.

The judge, however, said it didn't appear that either side had an upper hand in the case.

"This is going to be a close call," Karlan said.