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Stargate Worlds

Stargate Worlds is not resting in peace as new lawsuit emerges

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Stargate Worlds, News Items, Legal

Stargate World image
Travel back two years to when Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment was filing for bankruptcy and (unsuccessfully) attempting to sever ties with Gary Whiting, Chairman and CEO of the company. Stargate fans watched as their hopes for an MMO were dashed.

Fast forward to present day, when Stargate Worlds appears back in the news. Unfortunately for fans, it has nothing to do with offering a sliver of hope that the game itself might also revive; instead, more lawsuits are being filed against Whiting and other Cheyenne employees.

The newest lawsuit filed in Arizona includes 17 plaintiffs who accuse Whiting of misleading investors in various ways to obtain their cash. Some of the allegations leveled at Whiting include "negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, common-law fraud and securities fraud"; he's also accused of issuing loans to himself from the company's funds -- money that may still be in Whiting's possession, according to Cheyenne Mountain's court-appointed receiver, Keith Bierman of Phoenix-based MCA Financial Group.

The Perfect Ten: MMOs in movies and television

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, City of Villains, EverQuest, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Stargate Worlds, Second Life, Humor, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten
While 1982's Tron explored what virtual life might be like inside a massive video game, it wasn't until fairly recently that real MMOs have crossed the divide between niche and mainstream to be referenced in television and films. Depending on how you see it, this mainstream acceptance of geek culture can be a thing to be either celebrated or shunned. What's for certain, however, is that we've only started to see the beginning of such mentions.

In today's Perfect Ten, I cobbled together a list of the first 10 MMO references that I know of from movies and TV shows. Some might be nothing more than a background detail or a throwaway line, while others are completely centered around the advertisement, er, massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. I tried hard not to use "cheats" such as fake MMOs featured in shows like The Guild, so this list is all about real-world titles with no sugar substitutes.

Ready? Insert quarter and hit player one!

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Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment sells off Stargate assets

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Stargate Worlds

It's a troubling day for an already-troubled studio, as Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment has sold off Stargate Resistance -- the third-person shooter title that was made to help keep the company afloat and fund further development of Stargate Worlds -- to a startup company called Fresh Start. Fresh Start is comprised of former Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment employees, which means that the title is still in the hands of its makers.

Gamer/Law breaks down the recent events, and notes the salient details: that Fresh Start is in a joint venture agreement with CME to receive and run all of CME's assets (including Stargate Resistance), CME has the option to buy back these assets in the future, and there is no official word on Stargate Worlds. Gamer/Law speculates that there is either "some unpublicised arrangement has been entered into, or Cheyenne's Stargate MMO rights are an asset to be sold to satisfy creditors, or (possibly) Cheyenne has lost those rights following its entry into bankruptcy."

If you haven't been following the long, painful saga of CME and Stargate Worlds, suffice to say that this promising MMO suffered from lack of employee pay, devs jumping ship, extensive layoffs, lawsuits, Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a vague suit brought against former CEO Gary Whiting, and the sudden shift from developing SGW to getting Stargate Resistance out the door. However, whether this latest development will be a positive one to offer hope for a SGW resurrection or the death knell for the game has yet to be seen.

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment refused requested board changes

Stargate Worlds, News Items, Legal

The last thing we'd heard from Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, they were filing for Bankruptcy protection, and were attempting to sever all ties with Gary Whiting, Chairman and CEO of the company. However, according to a filing unearthed by Martuk over on the Ten Ton Hammer forums, it would appear that their motion to remove him -- and the restraining order against him -- were denied by the courts.

Rumors of financial mismanagement and all manner of shenanigans by Whiting and others have been rumbling around for quite some time. Thankfully, the court did see fit to intervene insofar as to require both parties to name two people they would recommend for receivership -- in essence, someone to protect the company from any further wrongdoing. The question now becomes how this is going to play out in terms of the future for Stargate Worlds, considering what is becoming of the court battle and the seeming rancor between parties involved. We'll be sure to keep you up to date as the story progresses.

Cheyenne files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, severs ties with Gary Whiting

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items, Legal

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on the situation surrounding Stargate Worlds, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and related publishing company FireSky, knows that there's been trouble brewing for some time. We've seen struggles to get funding, employees going unpaid, lawsuits for unpaid bills, and some of the studio's main names leaving the building. Still, they just released the FPS based on the work they'd been doing for Stargate Worlds, called Stargate: Resistance. The hope was that S:R would give Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment a much needed cash infusion.

Now, news has come to light that not only has Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, but they've also severed all ties with Gary Whiting -- former Chairman and CEO of CME. Add to that, the shareholders and Cheyenne Mountain have joined forces against Whiting in civil case (CV2010-003106) filed in Maricopa County, naming many other ventures including the curious "interactive social network," MMOGuls Inc. as co-defendants, in a civil complaint "alleging various wrong doing against the Company."

A statement detailing the company's current status was posted today to the Stargate Worlds forums. We've included it behind the break for those interested. In the meantime, let's hope that the change in leadership, combined with a reorganization under Chapter 11, and the release of Stargate: Resistance proves to be the boon that Cheyenne Mountain needs to get back on track -- and into the black.

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Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment: What happened to SGW?

Sci-Fi, Interviews, New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items

Fans have been waiting for the Stargate:Worlds MMO for what feels like forever, and a few weeks ago got a surprise in the form of a Stargate shooter instead of any more news on the MMO. We got a brief explanation on the reasoning behind this, but Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment covered things in a bit more detail yesterday. The CME team took some time to discuss Stargate:Resistance with fansite GateWorld, and also talked quite a bit about the decision to shelf Stargate:Worlds for the time being.

As producer Kathryn Dutchin pointed out the answer isn't a cut-and-dried, single-sentence explanation. When a long-running, extensive project like Stargate:Worlds begins to run into trouble, there are a lot of decisions to be made, questions to be answered, and problems to be sorted out, and it takes time. The ultimate goal is obviously to complete the project as originally intended, but there comes a point where the team is forced to say "This isn't going to happen. What next?"

"What next" in this case is Stargate: Resistance, but we'll wish CME the best of luck and continue keeping our fingers crossed for that MMO. The full interview is a must read for fans of either game, and can be found here.

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment reveals Stargate shooter instead of MMO

Sci-Fi, New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items

After over two years of work on Stargate Worlds and an increasingly dubious outlook, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment launched a website revealing Stargate Resistance. The game defines itself as a third-person shooter, and is scheduled for a release very soon -- Q1 2010.

This is a bit of a startling development for fans who have been anticipating Stargate Worlds, as well as those who have given up on the franchise completely. So what does this mean for Stargate Worlds? Information is a little scattered, but SGW team member fan Ian Stock gave the most concise explanation: "SGW will be worked on; but at a much lower rate compared to that of Resistance...That is until such a time when SG:R has become comfortable financially (enough) to then begin ramping up SGW again."

The latest news on the Stargate Worlds site highlights the screenshots that were revealed back in November, so the Stargate Worlds development team seems to have moved their attention to Stargate Resistance for the time being.

Stargate Worlds: We're still kicking, the pics prove it

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Classes, MMO Industry, Stargate Worlds, News Items

It's been a long, difficult road for Stargate Worlds -- a game that has been mired in financial woes for quite some time. Now and again we do get to report some positive news about the sci-fi MMO, but it's clear that Stargate Worlds isn't out of the woods quite yet. Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment recently made an announcement to the game's fan community, thanking them for their support through tough times. CME stated, "We know you expect nothing less than the AAA content in Stargate Worlds our development team is working hard to give you along with some additional exciting news we will be revealing very soon! We want to thank everyone for their continued support and passion for Stargate Worlds and we can't wait to show you more of what we've been cooking up over here."

As to what they've been working on, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment released some new screenshots of the armor and weapons for the Goa'uld, Jaffa, Soldier, and Scientist classes. CME explains, "Each of these armor sets will have unique traits that make them ideal for certain situations. As players become familiar with each world and the various environments they will encounter, they will discover which sets of armor best suit their play." The most recent Stargate Worlds images can be seen at the top of the gallery on the SGW Community Site.

Stargate Worlds site returns, but funding still tight

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Server downtime, Stargate Worlds, News Items

Over the weekend the Stargate Worlds site had planned a bit of maintenance which took their site offline on the 9th. From what we know now, the plan was that they would be migrating servers since they've been experiencing problems with their hosting. Many expected the site to be back up within a day or so - a normal time-frame for a DNS change and many cases of forum maintenance. When the entire site hadn't come back up by the 12th - and their Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites remained eerily silent - we decided to reach out to them and see how things were going.

While we're glad to see that the Stargate Worlds web site is now back on line, the note that we received back from Timothy N. Jenson, President and CEO of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment was a bit disheartening. While the team remains optimistic, it indicates that they are continuing to have funding issues despite the news that they'd picked up new investors in the tail-end of August. For those interested in reading the full statement we received, we've included it behind the break.

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Stargate Worlds makes its television debut

Sci-Fi, Video, Stargate Worlds, News Items

Stargate Universe
premiered last night, and sharp-eyed fans may have gotten a glimpse of the long-promised Stargate Worlds MMO. SGU slipped the footage in as part of Eli Wallace's story.

David Blue plays the character of Eli Wallace, a gamer who accidentally found his way into the Icarus program. "Some of his friends in the gaming world have told him that there is a puzzle in the game that can't be solved. So from Eli's point of view, that of course means that he has to solve it. He spends a month of his life working on this puzzle trying to figure it out and in doing so, ends up getting the attention of Stargate Command.", says Blue. The puzzle turns out to contain embedded code, and before he knows it, Eli finds himself aboard a spaceship, recruited to solve a much larger puzzle.

The game that Eli is seen playing is none other than Stargate Worlds. News of this on the official site (the first update since May 26th), sparked some excitement among fans. However, it also left them wondering: does this mean hope for the game, or does it just mean the video clip was handy?

Stargate Worlds receives new funding, development to continue

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Stargate Worlds

The sci-fi MMO Stargate Worlds had mostly fallen off of our radar, and with good reason. It's seemed that Stargate Worlds would not see a release -- the developer Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment faced major cash flow issues resulting in employees not being paid and subsequent lawsuits. There were also departures of some of the major individuals connected with the game's development that painted a grim picture. There has been the occasional glimmer of hope of obtaining more funding, though, and some of the Stargate Worlds team has stuck with the project as additional financing for the title was sought. Now it seems things may be turning around for Stargate Worlds with the latest bit of info we came across, that Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment has gotten that needed funding.

Dana Massey over at MMORPG.com recently spoke with CME about where the project stands. Massey writes, "Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment has received the funding that they believe will allow them to complete work on Stargate Worlds, and eventually pay back vendors and past and present employees who are still owed back pay."

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Rumor: Stargate Worlds facing an August 1st deadline to raise capital

New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items, Rumors

Stargate fans have long since been left wondering what's been going on with Stargate Worlds, but come August 1st -- or sometime soon thereafter -- their wait may finally be over. The rumor stems from a claim made by a recently departed employee who claims MGM has given Firesky until the beginning of next month to acquire funding or face having the licensed pulled.

Apparently a group of doctors who could potentially invest up to $8 million are the game's last hope. However, the same ex-employee says there's little chance the deal will actually go through by the deadline. Shane Hensley, Firesky's director of new business development, has said that they're continuing to speak with investors -- including the doctors. While he also says they've never considered scrapping the project, he doesn't deny the claim, either.

Ultimately, Hensley has hope but seems to be realistic about the situation, saying, "I doubt this will last much longer, but those who are here currently are amazingly dedicated and continue to make progress on our projects despite the circumstances." We'll keep you updated on any new progress, and hopefully there's a happy ending to all of this, even though our instincts are currently warning us to think otherwise.

Firesky confirms Dan Elggren's departure

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items

We reported earlier this week about rumours that Stargate Worlds' Executive Producer Dan Elggren had left Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/Firesky for Gazillion Entertainment. However, the reasons for his decision were left rather vague aside from excerpts from Elggren's family blog. Firesky's Kevin Ballentine officially commented on his departure in an MMORPG.com blog post:

"While we are saddened by Dan's departure, we believe that Stargate Worlds will benefit from this unforeseen change. Dan's guidance has been crucial to getting Stargate Worlds to this point, but we believe fresh eyes may find ways to improve the game moving forward. We wish to express our appreciation to Dan for all he has done for our company and wish him the best of success in his new endeavors. Dan will be transitioning his responsibilities to Rod Nakamoto, senior vice president of product development, over the next week."

Stargate Worlds studio head leaves company for Gazillion Entertainment

New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items

Dan Elggren has apparently left troubled Stargate Worlds developer Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment / Firesky for recently announced Gazillion Entertainment. This news certainly doesn't bode well for CME, who've been having financial trouble for a long while now. Dan is merely the most recent departure, although he seems to have weathered the storm longer than most.

What does this mean for Stargate Worlds? Well considering all the financial issues and employee departures, it sadly points to a game that's less and less likely to ever see launch day. Frankly, it'd probably take a funding miracle to finish the project and in this currently downtrodden economy most investors probably won't be taking much risk.

Moreover, what do we make of this MMO industry vacuum that is Gazillion Entertainment? They also picked up Jumpgate Evolution developer NetDevil last year while in stealth mode, and something tells us they're not done absorbing talent just yet. So much is known about the company and yet much more remains a mystery. Maybe they've got enough money to release Stargate Worlds, although they may not have the mind. Whatever ends up happening, we're sorry to see anything like this ever happen to an MMO, pre or post launch.

Stargate Worlds marches onwards and upwards, says development team

Sci-Fi, New Titles, Stargate Worlds, News Items

"Our official response is that the lights here are still on and the development team is working hard every day to get this game built." say the developers of Stargate Worlds in an open letter to the community at large. This response comes in light of the not-too-pleased state that Stargate executive producer Brad Wright was in concerning the game's overall progress.

But Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment says that while the global economic downturn has affected the team, they are still plugging away seven days a week on the game while being supported by altruistic investors -- whom we hope have the clout to see the game through to completion.

The message closes with the assurance that CME is negotiating several deals to cover their financial responsibilities and fund development up through launch, and that when it happens they'll let us know. So until that fateful day comes, they'll keep developing, we'll keep reporting and everyone will assuredly be giving the team their best wishes.

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