Elemental: War of Magic was not a rousing success of a game. The August, 2010 strategy title was a buggy, muddled mess at launch that even publisher Stardock felt was a broken game, badly in need of mending.
This August, two years after Elemental's disastrous debut, Stardock filed a lawsuit against former employee Alexandra Miseta, claiming that actions she took immediately before her departure were a major contributing factor to Elemental's failure. However, Stardock vs. Miseta is not the first time Miseta and Stardock CEO Brad Wardell have faced off in court—and the timing of the new lawsuit suggests it could have more to do with the other court case than it does with Elemental.
Court records from the lawsuit show several troubling messages from Wardell to Miseta, as well as allegations of problematic in-person behavior. E-mail messages included in the records go back as far as March, 2008, and include a link to a sexually explicit YouTube video, a comment that Miseta was chosen to go to a conference "not just because you're 'hot'," and a 100-question "purity test" that he asked her to take and then send him her score from. The purity test includes questions like, "Have you engaged in group sex?," "Have you engaged in intercourse with an unconscious person, while conscious?," and, "Have you had anal intercourse?"
Basically, Stardock CEO and Elemental publisher/developer Brad Wardell is alleged to have been a class A perv and his current suit against his marketing director (which made headlines a month ago) appears to be an attempt to scare her out of court. His response to her initial requests for him to stop is pretty amazing:
I'm not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).
The objectives of the company's shareholders now dictate that you tell me if you enjoy the taste of semen (no, really, read the complaint.)
Stardock responds! They claim that the lawsuit against Miseta was filed two years ago, immediately following her exit, and is not retaliation for Miseta's sexual harassment suit. (Note: as pointed out in the Kotaku article, Miseta would be legally barred from suing for sexual harassment for at least 180 days while her claim was reviewed by a tribunal.)