Bethesda Asks Indie Game To Change Its Name

Prey for the Gods, an indie PC game paying homage to Shadow of the Colossus, now has a new name courtesy of some pressure from Bethesda, publishers of the upcoming Prey.

Prey For The Gods Is Basically Shadow Of The Colossus, For The PC

A bleak landscape, battles against massive enemies which you can climb over...Prey for the Gods is as Shadow of the Colossus as you can get without actually playing Shadow of the Colossus.

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In a post mostly about updates made to the game following its successful Kickstarter, No Matter Studios also announce that the project will now be known as Præy for the Gods after Bethesda "chose to oppose our [trademark]".

"We could've fought this and we did think about it for quite a while", the statement says. "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."

"The truth is we initially thought about naming the game Præy for the Gods prior to our initial trailer. The logo has both the woman praying against the duality of prey, and thankfully we get to continue to use that. We figured people would have a hard time trying to type in the æ symbol in search engines etc. This was back in 2015 when we posted a trailer on Facebook and Twitter with had no idea if 100 or even 1000 people would watch the trailer."

The team are allowed to keep using the logo, which features a praying woman instead of the letter "e".

No Matter say that when they applied for trademarks in 2015 they took both Prey for the Gods and Præy for the Gods, but Bethesda opposed both, on the grounds that they were too similar to their upcoming Prey, which is out this week.

"While we disagree with their opposition we were able to come to an agreement", No Matter say. That agreement means that they can continue to use a logo that says Prey For The Gods, with a stylised "e" that's actually the silhouette of a woman praying, but must use Præy for the Gods every time the game's name is written.

It's an almost identical situation to the one Mojang found itself in a few years back over the word Scrolls, whose trademark Bethesda contested because it was deemed too similar to their Elder Scrolls series. As we explained at the time, this is how trademark cases are often fought: It isn't about whether names are identical or overtly confusing, but more about the fact trademark law often requires lawsuits (or the threat of them) as part of the process of maintaining ownership of a name.


Comments

    Hey look, Bethesda/Zenimax being absolute shit cunts again, but lets see how many people let them off the hook yet again

      The article already "let them off the hook".

      Trademark laws basically dictate that you must defend your trademark at any point, or risk losing the right to do so later. This article basically says this much, and in part defends Zenimax/Bethesda by doing so.

      Gotta say I'm a little jealous of people like you though, your ability to just ignore fact whenever it fits your like or dislike of a particular entity must be so freeing.

        Hmm lets see now, one is one word title and the other has 4 words in the title, there is no possible way that anyone can get the two mixed up. If it was just called Pray, then Bethesda have every single right to go after them, but here they have no right what so ever, hell no judge or jury would even side with bethesda if this went to court because of how utterly stupid it is.

        Everyone got up in Arms when King went after The Banner Saga just because they had the word Saga in the title, yet because its bethesda doing it yet again people like you love to look the other way

        Wow, it doesn't take the Bethesda fanboys long to come crawling out of the woodwork, frothing at the mouth to attack anyone who says a bad word about their true love. There's a difference between defending your trademark and attacking everyone elses ....like the other poster here said. Prey is a one word title ...Prey for the Gods is 4. Very unlikely people would get confused. Same goes for their attack on the game Scrolls, as opposed to The Elder Scrolls. There are a shitload of games that share a word in common ...Bethesda are just exceptionally nasty about theirs. People's defence of them is rather pathetic.

        If this is the case, then in "defending" it, they should not be a-holes and simply challenge it but give documented permission for the name to be used.
        No convoluted legal proceedings, financial burdens or anything else.

        But because they have significantly larger resources, they have the "Edge" to frighten others into changing.

      They were arseholes to Mojang. They were aresholes to Oculus. This isn't the first time they've been predatory bastards. It won't be the last.

      Last edited 04/05/17 12:20 pm

    Ah, Bethesdas legal eagles are at it again.

      In the long term it's smart actually. The harder they are now, the less likely anyone will name a game remotely close to anything Zenimax has.

        Guess I'm going to have to be extra careful in the future not to use the world "The" "Elder" "Scrolls" "Fall" "Out" and the numbers 1 through 4

          Fallout, one word, using fall or our would not be an issue, but hey let's not get facts in the way here

            Who needs to be reasonable when you're Zenemax / Bethesda?

    They are treading a fine line here.

    I can only hope they bring out a game with a name similar to another. Involving maybe the words Final, Fantasy, Legend (or Legend of), Secret or something that can associated with another game franchise. Then the ridiculousness of what they are doing can be done to them.

    Præy for the Gods

    I dont like what Beth/Zen have done... but in a way I think it worked out well for the little company here? That new title kicks ass!

    MC Hammer will no doubt be shaking in his voluminous pants.

    I'm no lawyer but you can't trademark a single common word.
    These guys should stand their ground although I realise that's not always viable when big companies with bigger wallets threaten you. Bethesda/Zenimax are pricks.

      I believe you're getting confused between trademark and copyright. You can pretty much trademark anything.

        You can't "pretty much trademark anything". Your trademark must not be generic. The word "prey" is generic.

          CD Projekt Red just trademarked "Cyberpunk" a generic term to describe a genre of book/film/game and won. You can Trademark generic terms so long as your case is compelling enough.

            Actually i belive they got the trademark for Cyberpunk+ numbers so anyone is free to make Bob's Cyberpunk game, but you cant make Cyberpunk 1999 etc

              You can search US trademarks at http://tess2.uspto.gov/. You'll find that CD Projekt Red has trade marks on "Cyberpunk 2077" and "Cyberpunk" by itself. They could use that trademark in exactly the same way Bethesda is using their Prey trademark.

              The current owners of the company probably won't, but the fact that it is possible is reason enough to call out companies that try to acquire problematic trademarks.

          "Scrolls" was generic too, but it didn't stop then then either.

            Thays because they like to focus on companies who don't want to or cannot fight the claim.

          Schweppes has a trademark on the "schhh" bottle opening sound they have in all their ads. I believe Cadbury defended their trademark on the colour Purple too.

          There can be a certain genericness, but it's often limited to a certain industry, which is why Apple had issues expanding into the music business.

          A trademark just has to be associated with a certain brand and product and a violation is anything that reasonably causes confusion.

          I do think the "needs to be defended" gets bandied about far too spuriously. In addition trademark law doesn't work very well for titles and theoretically isn't designed to, but if you make a Halo and it becomes a franchise you want that trademark ready to prevent copies using that really your generic name :-P

    OK skipping Prey now. I was hyped for it but I'm not rewarding this shitty behaviour with my money.

    I think I heard about a related game: Bethesda Scrolls: Prey of the Litigator

    ...they took both Prey for the Gods and Præy for the Gods, but Bethesda opposed both, on the grounds that they were too similar to their upcoming Prey.Fuck. Off.

    I bought a scroll with my coffee the other day and some random suit punched me in the face.

    Correlation?

    I'm not condoning Bethesda's behaviour, but I like how the conversation has fixated on 'Bethesda are assholes' and not 'how ridiculous is it that Bethesda feel they need to do this to avoid setting precedent for future trademark claims'

    I mean, sure. 'Prey for the gods' isn't that similar to 'Prey'... but if they let this through, maybe the next one is 'Prey Gods', and that gets let through because the first one did. The next one is 'PreyG', and suddenly Bethesda have lost control of their copyright because they didn't nip it in the bud. Sure, it's shitty behaviour, but to me it seems the system that requires them to be such dicks is more of an issue than their behaviour itself.

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