Yesterday, 3-man developer No Matter Studios announced that following a trademark dispute with Bethesda, the developer was forced to change the name of its upcoming game Prey for the Gods to Praey for the Gods.
At the time, No Matter Studios wrote the following in its latest newsletter about the change:
“We could’ve fought this and we did think about it for quite a while. Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive,” the studio explained. “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.
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. We were applying for both Prey for the Gods, and Præy for the Gods trademarks shortly after as we realized the extent of what we were making. Unfortunately, Zenimax chose to oppose our mark, as they felt both were too similar to their mark “Prey”. While we disagree with their opposition we were able to come to an agreement.
It was something that kept me up many nights, and no doubt shifted our focus from our game frequently. Worrying about the outcome if we went to trial, if we’d lose our fans or walk away from the mark and still potentially get sued for millions on trademark infringement. This is really something no starting company should have to deal with let alone a tiny team of 3. So the fact that we came out the other end intact still developing the game was a win. One that will no doubt shape our company moving forward.”
At the time that this news swept over the internet last night, Bethesda had yet to provide an official comment. Today, that changed: as a Bethesda representative provided the following statement to IGN regarding the name change:
“We really didn’t have much of a choice. If we don’t oppose the mark, we risk losing our Prey trademark and that isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately, that’s how trademark law works.”
The Bethesda representative continues, saying that it reached out to No Mattter Studios as early as November 2015 regarding the name, before the game’s Kickstarter began, and “multiple times” since then.
Praey for the Gods is in development for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. It is currently without a release date. Meanwhile, Prey (the trademark in dispute) from Bethesda and Arkane Studios Austin is set to release tomorrow on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.