Indie game Prey for the Gods has been forced to change its name due to a conflict with Bethesda and Arkane Studios sci-fi game Prey. Prey for the Gods developer No Matter Studios explains why it didn’t want to “fight” for the right to use the name.
Described as ‘Shadow of the Colossus with a female protagonist‘ by some, Prey for the Gods is aiming to release on PC and consoles later this year.
Prey for the Gods Becomes Praey for the Gods
In the latest development update for the game, No Matter Studios says that its game will now be called Praey for the Gods from this day forward. The developer explains that after announcing the game in 2015 it applied for both the Prey for the Gods and Præy for the Gods trademarks after it “realized the extent of what we were making,” but Bethesda parent company ZeniMax opposed the former trademark filing.
ZeniMax argued that Prey for the Gods was “too similar” a name to Prey, its sci-fi game with a Asian protagonist, and although No Matter Studios disagreed with this assessment, the two companies were able to come to an agreement. No Matter is just a team of three developers and it says that it feared that it could “lose our fans or walk away from the mark and still potentially get sued for millions on trademark infringement” if the matter went to trial.
No Matter Studios seems quite positive about how this has all played out, saying that “the fact that we came out the other end intact still developing the game was a win.” The developer is also ‘thankful’ that it gets to continue using the Praey for the Gods logo, which features a woman praying.
But some gamers are furious and accuse Bethesda and ZeniMax for being too strict when it comes to trademarks. Few people were likely to confuse Praey for the Gods (an open-world game with colossal enemies and a spiritual theme) and Prey (a sci-fi horror game that’s set in space) and say that there was no need for No Matter to stop using the game.
And despite trademark law suggesting that trademark holders push back against similar filings that could infringe, some argue that this is only relevant in the case of trademarked terms becoming generic terms. For example, if Prey became a widely used term for a type of game, ZeniMax may need to step in and stop people from using it as such.
This may or may not be a valid argument – we aren’t trademark lawyers – but either way it’s unlikely to make a difference now. The debacle is disappointing for No Matter Studios but on the bright side it doesn’t seem to have impacted development on the game whatsoever.
Praey for the Gods is aiming for a December 2017 release on Windows PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One.