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After long-running financial troubles, Atari seems to have gotten its feet back under itself. According to one developer, though, the cost of that return to success may have been borne by developers not being paid properly. These allegations have led to a lawsuit.
According to their report, the team at Frontier Development is claiming that Atari has not been paying them properly, with royalty checks potentially cut in two due to inaccurate reporting. According to Frontier, Atari owes them $2.2 million. The developer is claiming that they partnered with Atari back in 2003 to work on games including RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. As is typical of the series, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 went on to do pretty well for itself. According to the lawsuit, it actually did quite a bit better than Atari is reporting.
Frontier, apparently, kept their partnership with Atari after amending their contract to make it through the publisher's choppy financial weather. By this past April, however, they started looking into some of the stats Atari was reporting. According to one report, Frontier should have received about $3.37 million in royalties for their work on RollerCoaster Tycoon. What they actually got paid was $1.17 million, or half of what they may be owed.
Tracking sales can be tricky since different sources seem to have different figures. Still, we imagine numbers were way off if Frontier's spread is so wide. And, things wouldn't look quite so suspicious for Atari had they not delayed an audit on their sales report for the game. Again, this is all based on accusations at this time, but that certainly doesn't sound like actions taken on the up-and-up.
Given all of that, Frontier decided to stop trying to get to the bottom of the matter themselves and is instead taking Atari to court.
It was nice to see Atari bounce back from their financial struggles but, if Frontier is correct concerning their accusations tied to RollerCoaster Tycoon royalties, then that would certainly cast that entire tale in a different light. We'll just have to wait and see what is discovered through this lawsuit. If Frontier is correct in their allegations, though, we imagine it will lead to a more thorough investigation into Atari's financials, in general. It appears that while the publisher might now be operating in the black, things could take a sharp turn into a loop the loop. And, yes, that was our one lame rollercoaster reference for the day.