Friday the 13: The Game has been killed one more time: Fan-made 'Resurrection' project derailed by lawyers over 'cavalier disregard of copyright law'

Friday the 13th art
(Image credit: Gun Media)

A plan to bring the not-quite-dead asymmetrical survival joint Friday the 13th: The Game back to life has been abandoned just days after it was announced thanks to a cease-and-desist letter accusing the project of "cavalier disregard of copyright law."

The axe first fell on Friday the 13th: The Game way back in 2018 thanks to a legal dispute over ownership of the property that halted development of the game. It was a slow crawl into a dark hiding place from there, with the metaphorical monster close behind: The project was permanently halted shortly after the legal problems began, dedicated servers were killed in 2020, and it was removed from sale at the end of 2023 when the license to the property expired, although the game itself was set to continue to run until "at least" December 31, 2024.

It was a shame, because despite some jank and server issues we quite liked Friday the 13th, saying in our 75% review that "it's twice the price of Dead by Daylight, but with richer comedic potential and more to do in any given match." (Comedy, after all, is a big part of these things—look at the success of Content Warning for proof of that.)

Anyway, sad situation but that's how it goes with these things. But on April 1, Friday the 13th: The Game – Resurrected announced its presence on Twitter, with a release date reveal promised for April 15 and a snazzy bit of key art.

Via Bloody Disgusting, the mod makers promised that everything in the base game would be included in Resurrected along with content that didn't make it to the official release, further content would be added through post-launch updates, and—this is where it gets really dicey—"You won’t need base game to enjoy our mod. The download will be available in our discord server!"

(Image credit: Friday the 13th: The Game - Resurrection)

The timing was perhaps suspect: April 1 is a big day for fooling around, after all. But the announcement looked serious, and in any case I'm not sure what the joke would be. But just one week later, the whole thing ran into a wall in the form of a cease-and-desist letter sent on behalf of copyright holder Horror Inc., and it's definitely not joking.

"There can be no dispute that you know your conduct is unauthorized and unlawful," the letter states. "Indeed, in your Discord, numerous users have pointed out that proceeding to distribute this game without a license would obviously be copyright infringement. Those warnings are correct, and your cavalier disregard of copyright law exposes you to liability for willful infringement. Among Horror's other remedies, Horror will be entitled to seek statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement."

The mod team was told that if they want to dodge that particular bullet, they need to pull the plug on the whole thing, and—understandably—so they did: In a message posted on Twitter, the developers said "the project is most likely over," and that they are now working on removing all infringing content.

"It's a shame that someone wants to fight against a fan made project with no profit made," the Resurrected team wrote. "It wasn't our intention to "hurt the brand" as Horror Inc claims we did ... Not only is the project is over, but so is franchise itself as it seems that Horror Inc. just wants to leave this incredible series behind them and let it be forgotten."

The evident unhappiness with the outcome is understandable, but it's also completely unsurprising. The infringement in this case was clear, and effectively offering the full game for free is an almost egregious disregard of IP rights. In this case especially, there was no real doubt that action would be swift and decisive: A legal dispute over who owns the property is what killed Friday the 13: The Game in the first place, after all.

Speaking to PC Gamer, a rep for mod team said the project had been in development for about a year prior to the planned release date announcement, with seven people working on it, and that efforts to gain approval to release the mod were rebuffed.

"We did ask if there was a chance to get the rights to continue on the project, but they basically just told us no," the rep said. "We are probably moving on from Friday the 13th and will continue on with some other projects we have in planning." The team is also looking into working with Bloody Pitchfork Games on "more incredible projects."

Since the receipt of the letter, the Resurrected Twitter account has been deleted (although another, called GameResurrected, is still up) and the website is now a blank page with the message, "the site is currently down." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.