NCsoft, the Korean gaming giant responsible for titles like Aion, Lineage, and the upcoming Blade & Soul, has been dealt a bitter blow by former employee Richard Garriott, of Ultima and Tabula Rasa fame. On July 30th a federal court jury in Texas awarded him $28 million dollars as a result of his lawsuit against NCsoft last year, in which he claimed that the company forced him to resign and sell his shares of company stock, costing him millions. You can read the original complaint here.
With the father of the acclaimed Ultima series at their side, Garriott was no doubt intended to be a valuable asset to NCsoft when he was hired back in 2001. While he went on to produce several games, the financial failure of Tabula Rasa is often credited for the split. After seven years of development time, the terrible performance of the game led to an announcement by NCsoft’s in November of 2008 of the closing of Tabula Rasa servers. A letter of resignation from Garriott appeared around this time. This letter, Garriott argues, is a forgery, and the financial implications of the letter sparked the lawsuit.
According to the Korean Times, NCsoft is claims that Garriott had unloaded his 400,000 shares of company stock several months prior to his resignation – from February to August of 2008 – which earned him about 17.8 billion won (about $15 million).
NCsoft intends to appeal. “This was just the first trial, and it won’t be the last,” said an NCsoft official.