Earlier this week, Prey for the Gods developer No Matter Studios announced that it was changing its name to 'Praey for the Gods' because of a trademark dispute from Bethesda. This happened just before Bethesda released Prey, and because the publisher is a big company and No Matter is a small developer, some fans reacted negatively towards this news.
While some requested Bethesda to explain themselves in Facebook posts and comment sections, Slipgate Studios level designer Daniel Mortensen asked Bethesda's VP of marketing Pete Hines "How the heck can [he] even defend this?!" directly on Twitter.
"We really didn't have much of a choice," Hines responded. "If we don't oppose the mark, we risk losing our Prey trademark. We don't really have a choice."
Mortensen said he respected the honest answer, and when he said it "still" wasn't a great situation, Hines agreed. However, some took issue with Hines' reply, accusing Bethesda of going "overboard."
"I think you probably assume [No Matter Studios] are just now hearing from us and this is the only thing we've tried. None of that is true," Hines said to one user. When others pointed out Bethesda's history in this, noting the incident with Minecraft developer Mojang's use of "Scrolls" in 2012, Hines said, "Mojang's trademark filing was rejected, and they basically licensed the right to use Scrolls from us."
"Scrolls would have superseded our Elder Scrolls trademark. Which is why we opposed it and trademark office rejected it," he added.
As Mortensen and Hines pointed out, this isn't a great situation. It's unfortunate that a developer can't use a common word in its game's name without legal matters arising. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't speak with much knowledge on the matter, but at least some good came out of the two companies' agreement.
No Matter can continue to use the original logo for Praey for the Gods, which features a woman kneeling in prayer instead of the letter "E" in Prey. Additionally, the team can continue to develop the game, which is good news for everyone. There's no release date yet, but we'll keep you updated as more information is revealed. For now, you can check out a recent video (below), which features pre-alpha footage of the protagonist climbing a big ol' bird. The scale of the scene is impressive.