SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The maker of an upcoming video game starring Jack Black has accused gaming giant Activision in a lawsuit of trying to kill the project to preserve its popular Guitar Hero franchise.
The allegations were made in a countersuit filed last week by Double Fine Productions against Activision, which sued the game-maker in June.
Activision's suit aimed to stop release of Brutal Legend by rival firm Electronic Arts.
Brutal Legend is scheduled for release in October. It features Black as a heavy-metal roadie transported to a mythical ancient world to fight evil.
A hearing is scheduled Thursday on a motion by Activision to block the game's release.
Double Fine's countersuit contends that Activision's lawsuit was filed to hurt the company and the game and that it was involved in unlawful business practices and a conspiracy to protect Guitar Hero sales.
An Activision spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Double Fine was developing Brutal Legend for Vivendi Universal Games, which is now Activision Entertainment Holdings Inc. But Double Fine's suit claims that Activision never showed interest in the game and canceled it in 2008 after it acquired Vivendi Universal Games. That was after an effort to convert the game into a Guitar Hero sequel failed, the suit claims.
Double Fine said in a statement that it intends to fight for the survival of Brutal Legend, which has been heavily promoted at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo and on gaming Web sites.
"Now that we've found a publisher and the game is getting sensational coverage, they want to stop its release," Double Fine chief operating officer Caroline Esmurdoc wrote in a statement.
Activision's initial lawsuit claimed it and Double Fine had negotiated to try to keep the game, which suffered some delays, on track. An agreement was never reached, and Activision contends that it never relinquished its rights to the game and that Double Fine improperly transferred Brutal Legend to Electronic Arts.