Kingdoms of Elyria's Alpha NDA has started going out to backers and some eagle-eyed users have spotted something that, while is pretty standard, feels offputting: a class action lawsuit waiver.
In case you missed it, Chronicles of Elyria's stand-alone kingdom sim Kingdoms of Elyria should be in testing now with the alpha going out to Elyria backers. As part of the test, players will need to sign an NDA for access as the test will not be publicly available. However, the backdrop to all of this is the fact that Soulbound Studios, the studio behind Chronicles of Elyria, is currently facing a class action lawsuit by backers as a result of the fallout from last year when CEO Jeromy Walsh closed the studio and briefly halted development on the MMO after raising around $8 million dollars of crowdfunded money.
As part of the NDA, however, backers have noted that the language includes a waiver to the right to file a class action lawsuit against SBS in the future should backers sign the agreement. This was pointed out by the Class Action lawsuit Discord channel, which is urging backers not to sign the NDA or even download Kingdoms of Elyria- period.
It is important to note that these types of waivers are pretty standard in agreements like this, so it's not anything out of the ordinary per se. However, with the current class action lawsuit against Soulbound Studios and Xsolla currently in play, asking players to then sign away their right to file a lawsuit feels especially targeted to give leverage to the defense in the ongoing lawsuit. Additionally, the language of the NDA makes it clear that SBS is under "no obligation to release the Game or any similar product."
Via the CoE Class Action Lawsuit Discord
The NDA is posted in full on the Discord, which you can download here. The NDA language shields Chronicles of Elyria's developer from future Class Action lawsuits being brought, as well as get around the pesky language where backers actually expect a product for their investment by getting alpha testers to agree that SBS is under no obligation to release anything in the end. In the Class Action Discord it's being recommended that if you have plans to be a part of the lawsuit moving forward, you shouldn't sign the agreement.