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Mechwarrior 5 Runs Into Legal Trouble

Illustration for article titled Mechwarrior 5 Runs Into Legal Trouble

The future of Mechwarrior 5 is a little up in the air today, with Harmony Gold - the media company that holds the rights to the Robotech universe in the US - commencing legal action against the upcoming mech title.

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Legal threats are being sent out to gaming websites as you read this, Harmony Gold demanding that they pull down the trailer for Mechwarrior 5. Why? It's a long story.

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See, Mechwarrior (and its daddy, BattleTech) haven't always used original designs for their mech. They sometimes straight up stole them from existing series, particularly Japan's Macross, which in the US forms the first part of the Robotech trilogy.

So BattleTech and Harmony Gold - who hold the Robotech rights in the West - went to court in 1996. End result? BattleTech (and by extension Mechwarrior) ceased using mech designs lifted from Macross, and instead employed only mechs they had themselves designed.

Harmony Gold's complaint in this instance is that the Mechwarrior 5 trailer uses designs that they own the trademark to. Now, they may have a point - the red mech in the image above looks a little like the Tomahawk Destroid from Macross (pictured below). But only a little. Surely not enough to warrant legal action.

Illustration for article titled Mechwarrior 5 Runs Into Legal Trouble
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Anyway, at the moment, the only legal threats we know about are those made to IGN. There's no comment yet from Piranha Games, the team working on Mechwarrior 5, or from Harmony Gold, explaining just what their beef is, and whether they'd be happy with edits to the game or are out for blood.

We'll update when we hear more.

MechWarrior 5 Trouble Brewing? [IGN]

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DISCUSSION

I thought that the court case about who owns what in Macross was already settled?

In the settlement, Harmony Gold/Tatsunoko holds the license rights to distribute Macross everything in the U.S., while the mecha designs and characters of the series belongs to Studio Nue/Big West?

In this case, what is in question is the mecha design. Harmony Gold shouldn't have the right to make legal threats for something that they do not own. If anyone could threaten them about the design, it would be from Studio Nue themselves. Harmony Gold always seem to want to have an iron fist clenched around the Macross/Robotech franchise forever.