Grimoire FPS studio responds to Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar trademark dispute


Grimoire, a multiplayer FPS with MOBA elements based on spellcasting rather than guns, turned up on Kickstarter earlier this week, and it's well on the way to achieving its modest goal of $42,000. But the project hit a bump in the road a couple days ago when Cleve Blakemore, the man behind the infamous Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar, turned up in the comments section and started threatening trademark trouble.

Blakemore has been working on his game since 1997 and actually ran its first beta test in 1998: If you'd had a baby the same day you played the beta, she would now be pestering you for the keys to the car. Despite being relatively well known as vaporware, I only became aware of its existence in the spring of 2013, when Blakemore launched an Indiegogo campaign seeking $250,000 in funding. The campaign guaranteed that, without or without the funding, Heralds of the Winged Exemplar would launch in May of that year; the campaign raised about $10,500, and the game was not released.

OmniConnection's Grimoire—no subtitle—is somewhat more tangible: There's a Steam Greenlight campaign, a single-player demo is available, and of course it's on Kickstarter . But so is Blakemore, and he's not happy: Two days ago, he posted a message in the comments giving the studio 48 hours to cancel the Kickstarter and the Greenlight campaigns, and threatening dire consequences for failing to do so. Similar warnings were issued at the 24 hour mark, the eight hour mark and the four hour mark.

OmniConnection hasn't responded publicly to Blakemore's threats, but it did issue a statement revealing that it filed a trademark application for "Grimoire" earlier this year. "Now our game, Grimoire, is being challenged by someone making a game called Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar. Cleve Blakemore, the man behind the other Grimoire, has no interest in playing nice—let alone handling this issue in a civil manner. If Mr. Blakemore had approached us by extending an olive branch, we would be happy to walk the path of least resistance. However, his bullying has resolved us to stay the course," the studio said. "The word we've seen most often in researching this other 'Grimoire' is the term 'vaporware'—and there is every indication that the shoe fits. It seems that Mr. Blakemore's game has been 'just around the corner' for more than a decade."

Blakemore's 48-hour deadline expired earlier today and so far there's been no word of further action. He does, however, have another Indiegogo campaign planned, which according to the Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar page on Golden Era Games will be the "last chance to all players to acquire a printed manual, hint book or map." OmniConnection's Grimoire Kickstarter, meanwhile, has currently raised around $12,500, with 28 days to go.

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.