Zack Snyder’s rejected Star Wars movie turned Netflix franchise is one of the standout names in the audiovisual landscape. And while it looks wonderful, its role-playing game is already a thing of the past. How? We’ll explain it to you.
Evil Genius was hired to create a tabletop role-playing game, also known as a pen-and-paper role-playing game (TTRPG), for Zack Snyder’s movie Rebel Moon and claims that after working alongside Netflix and the director himself, Netflix abruptly ended the contract without notice.
The lawsuit outlines the amount of work Evil Genius put into Netflix, which included three books in support of a planned TTRPG for Rebel Moon. Evil Genius is one of the few board game design companies that has raised money through venture capital funding and has established itself as a well-known TTRPG franchise company.
A partnership that seemed to be going smoothly
Snyder praised the TTRPG adaptation of his upcoming science fiction film series six months ago on the Nerd Queens’ livestream. He said he was having a “blast” with the RPG, and the development was at a “ridiculous scale.”
He also described the tabletop game as “immersive” and “intense.” According to David Scott, founder and head of the design team at Evil Genius, who spoke with io9 via email, Snyder was in frequent contact with the design team and had “daily interactions” with team members.
At the time of the alleged contract breach in May 2023, the lawsuit claims that the TTRPG was nearly completed, and the two sellable products (a 430-page Player’s Guide and a 337-page Game Master’s Guide) were in the final stages of editing.
Additionally, a massive internal document was created: a “World Bible” for Rebel Moon, detailing original information about the Rebel Moon setting and characters that Evil Genius was using as a reference during TTRPGG development.
As Netflix wanted to launch the TTRPG right before the movie’s release in December, Evil Genius claims they missed out on opportunities by prioritizing the Rebel Moon project. Evil Genius is renowned for its franchise games, including officially licensed TTRPGs for Rambo, Godzilla, The Crow, and Escape From New York, all utilizing their proprietary system, Everyday Heroes.
Breaking the contract due to breaching the confidentiality clause
Netflix terminated the agreement with Evil Genius, alleging that the company had violated the confidentiality clauses. The breach could have occurred in two instances.
According to the lawsuit, the first instance happened when Evil Genius Games, along with two Netflix employees, distributed images during a trade show in February as part of a promotional campaign among retailers.
The second time was when Evil Genius Games uploaded two non-final images of the cover on the back end of their website so retailers could place pre-orders. Due to an administrative error, the portal was accidentally made accessible to the public.
These two non-final images were shared on social media in May, and that’s when Netflix terminated its agreement with Evil Genius Games.
Later, according to the complaint, in June, Netflix sent another message to Evil Genius stating that the World Bible, which includes significant worldbuilding elements that greatly expand the universe of Rebel Moon far beyond the script, “belongs solely and exclusively to Netflix.”
Apparently, Netflix offered Evil Genius $50,000 for this property, but no agreement was reached. Evil Genius wants to publish the game and receive compensation for their work.
Scott clarified via email that the money offered “would not cover the expenses incurred in developing this game” and that Evil Genius was confident they could have sold “millions of dollars in game products.”
Furthermore, the work they did on the internal World Bible exceeded the scope of the license, and the money offered “would not exactly compensate us for the contribution we made to the Rebel Moon universe.”
“It’s disheartening to see Netflix backtrack on content that was jointly showcased and had received their prior consent. We urge our followers to get in touch with Netflix and Zack Snyder to push for the release of this game,” Scott commented via a press release.
Part of Evil Genius’s work was going to be crucial for the sequel
There’s another twist in this story. According to the lawsuit, “Mr. Snyder regularly praised the work and was so enamored with the 228-page World Bible that they indicated plans to incorporate substantial elements from it into their so-called ‘Snyderverse’.”
Rebel Moon has already been greenlit for a sequel, Scargiver, and more recently, Zack Snyder took the stage at Gamescom and announced that a cooperative video game within the Rebel Moon universe would be developed by Super Evil Megacorp and released exclusively on Netflix’s gaming streaming service.