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Bethesda Parent ZeniMax Forces Indie Game Name Change


Bethesda Parent ZeniMax Forces Indie Game Name Change

Any attempt to trademark a game name with "Prey" in the title will trigger a response from ZeniMax's lawyers.

The largest and most successful games publishers/developers enjoy the advantage of being able to afford a team of lawyers. If another company attempts to do something they don't like, the lawyers go to work. And that's exactly what Bethesda parent company ZeniMax just did to a three-person indie studio attempting to develop the game formerly known as Prey for the Gods.

ZeniMax didn't have a problem with the game No Matter Studios is developing. It's a Kickstarter-funded project that's very reminiscent of PlayStation 2 game Shadow of the Colossus. Gamers liked the idea enough to pledge $500,000 towards its development, which is going well if the latest newsletter is to be believed. However, the game's name is no longer Prey for the Gods. It's Praey for the Gods.

No Matter took the step of attempting to trademark the name of the game like any responsible company would. In fact, they originally intended to call the game Praey for the Gods, but changed the first word to Prey knowing it would be much easier for people to find and remember. So both names were submitted for trademarking, but Prey for the Gods came back as disputed by, you guessed it, ZeniMax.

The reason is a simple one. ZeniMax/Bethesda own the Prey IP and are about to release a new Prey game, so they are very sensitive to anything that may confuse the market. That includes using the word Prey in any game name. Ridiculous? Yes. Surprising? No.

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prey for the gods praey for the gods

No Matter admits they could have fought the trademark dispute, but "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."

I think they made the right decision as ZeniMax probably wouldn't back down. The company took a similar line back in 2011 when developer Mojang (Minecraft) was creating the game Scrolls. Bethesda is best known for its Elder Scrolls games.

So if you were looking forward to playing Prey for the Gods, you'll have to adjust to looking forward to playing Praey for the Gods. Beyond that, nothing else has changed.

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