Remember Prey for the Gods, that mildly promising looking action adventure game that had a rather successful Kickstarter? Well it’s now called Praey for the Gods after a legal dispute with Bethesda and Zenimax, who opposed the original name, citing their ‘Prey’ trademark.
I was actually looking at Prey for the Gods on Steam a day or two ago on the hunt for some system requirements info, and noted at the time it had changed to Praey for the Gods. In my naivety, I assumed that I’d just read the name wrong in the first place a couple of years ago when it was announced, but that wasn’t the case. The development team at No Matter Studios has published a statement explaining the name change, which was in an effort to avoid confusion with Bethesda’s own Prey, out this week.
Sadly, Bethesda/Zenimax’s might meant No Matter Studios effectively had to roll over and accept the1 demands, refusing to use Kickstarter money from backers to fund what could've turned out to be a lengthy court battle.
“We could’ve fought this and we did think about it for quite a while,” said No Matter Studios. “Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive. We didn’t want to spend our precious Kickstarter funds, nor did we want to have to ask for additional funds to fight this in court. Using backer money towards something that doesn’t go towards the development or backer rewards felt horrible to us. Even if we did win we’d have to spend a solid chunk of our funds and in our opinion it wasn’t worth it.”
I have to say I’d probably have opted for Pray for the Gods, although presumably, this doesn’t tie in too well with the themes of the game. Fortunately, the development team can still keep the original logo. It features a woman kneeling and praying for the ‘E’, which seems just about ambiguous enough to escape the wrath of Zenimax.
Zenimax’s legal department sounds like a powerful force; you don’t want to mess with them. The Praey for the Gods name change comes shortly after Zenimax was awarded $500 million in its lawsuit against Oculus, and back in 2011 a legal battle ensued between Zenimax and Mojang over the use of “Scrolls”, with the two eventually reaching a settlement that saw Zenimax own the trademark while allowing Mojang to license it.
A sticky situation for Praey for the Gods to be in then, but the name change does also serve as an opportunity to gain the game some much-needed coverage in the run-up to launch. Do you think Bethesda is being a little overzealous in its IP protection? Or was Prey for the Gods always pushing its luck with a similar name? Let us know your thoughts below!