The DOOM Roguelike Is Within A Hair Of Its Kickstarter Goal

The DOOM Roguelike Is Within A Hair Of Its Kickstarter Goal

Spurred on by a very convenient, albeit delayed, cease and desist letter from Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax, Jupiter Hell – aka. the DOOM Roguelike – is within touching distance of its funding goal.

Jupiter Hell is a spiritual successor to DoomRL, a fan-made roguelike which had been kicking around for over a decade. It wasn’t until right before The Game Awards that its creator Kornel Kisielewicz revealed that Zenimax’s lawyers had gotten wind of the game, and demanded it be shut down.

Of course, the timing was helpful: Kisielewicz had just launched the Kickstarter for Jupiter Hell. And thanks to Zenimax’s move, the code for the original roguelike is available for all on GitHub.

But in the interim, the campaign for Jupiter Hell continues. And despite the inspiration, it’s a turn-based affair with a grid-based movement system. There’s also an ASCII version being developed concurrently, if you like the Dwarf Fortress/pre-3D graphics feel:

But for most people this will be more up their alley.

There’s an appropriate heavy metal soundtrack, and you can pause at any time or just skate through rooms if necessary. All of the levels will be procedurally generated, as any good roguelike should. And if you want a good idea of the gameplay, AliensRL (which Kisielewicz also made) is happily kicking around, sans legal threats.

The campaign has just under 2 days to go at the time of writing. Kickstarter logic by now says Jupiter Hell should squeak over the finish line without much fuss, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a reminder so you can jump on board. Just over $27 will get you the game when it launches in Early Access, which is planned for November next year.


  • Now this is the interesting bit, DOOM as a property has not always been owned by Bethesda/Zenimax, and the general ease at which derivative works have been created over the years may actually be worth something to the maintaining of the copyright, maybe?

    Like frivolous litigants and patent trolls, if there was an explosion of Doom-ish games, all at once, could that pose a problem?

    • The only way I’m aware of that a trademark can be unwillingly lost is by genericising – that is, the name becomes synonymous with a generic class of product or activity. “Doom-like” or “Doom clone” isn’t genericised, but if first person shooters became known as “Dooms”, the trademark protection would likely be lost. Xerox is an example of a borderline-genericised trademark, people in the US often say they’ll xerox something when they mean photocopy. Xerox did a pretty big PR blitz a while back to try to encourage people to say ‘photocopy’ instead of ‘xerox’ in that context so they wouldn’t risk losing their trademark.

      Trademark dilution is a separate thing that does need to be defended, but there’s no risk of losing a trademark if it becomes diluted. The point of trademark dilution laws is to protect the singular identity of a trademark with the public, rather than to protect the mark itself.

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