First I was all like, “Whoa, wait a minute! King.com has trademarked the word ‘candy’ and has decided to go on a witch hunt to deprive copycat developers of their right to use sweet sugary goodness in their video games. Somebody fetch me my pitchfork!”
Then I was all like, “Ok, I can maybe see both sides of the argument since the company obviously needs to protect its intellectual property. Even though these smaller games are obviously not getting in the way of Candy Crush Saga booming into one of the most successful free-to-play games in the world, they are still capitalizing on King.com’s lucky break.”
And then King.com was all like, in an official statement,
“We have trademarked the word ‘CANDY’ in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion. We don’t enforce against all uses of CANDY – some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so.”
So then, I was all like, “Ok, I’ll give you guys a free pass since you might be willing to be reasonable with this.”
But then King.com was all like, “Back in yo face! I am shutting this mother down and taking The Banner Saga with me because just the word ‘candy’ is not enough. I want the word ‘saga’ as well. You dared give a mouse a cookie, my friend.”
Editor’s note: No, seriously, King.com is going after The Banner Saga because of the word “saga.”
And then I was like, “Whoa, ok. If The Banner Saga is not safe from these potentially moral corrupting lunatics, then just about nobody is. Here are a handful of video games that need to watch out because they have just as much legal culpability as Stoic Games does. I mean, you don’t just kickstart a video game that uses the same title as another game that hasn’t been released yet, and expect to get away with it, right?”
(Yes, The Banner Saga‘s Kickstarter opened in March of 2012. Candy Crush Saga launched in April of 2012. You decide.)
Because King.com already has laid claim to “candy” and “saga,” why not complete the unholy trifecta and just go for the kill, securing the third and final word of its title?
Crush was a fun little puzzle platforming game released by SEGA for the PSP back in May 2007. It stars a young man named Danny who suffers from insomnia and has to navigate his way through 3D puzzles by rotating them around a central axis to make them appear to look like a 2D field. Think a lot like FEZ but minus the required indie game pretension, and you’ll have a good idea of what this sweet gem has to offer.
Unfortunately for the title, though, it also appears in Candy Crush Saga, which is enough to land it on King.com’s radar. Why does Danny suffer from insomnia? Well, obviously he was up all night eating too much candy, and that confusion of King.com’s intellectual property could potentially see it pulled from the Nintendo 3DS eShop and PSN. What a shame, because its a nice little game too.
Why would King.com be going after The Banner Saga? I’ll tell you why… vikings. Vikings have everything to do with what King.com’s entire philosophy is built upon, including invading the rights and privates lives of innocent people by causing needless havoc in the world. The word “saga” clearly could be seen as confusing with the tie in of the fable Nordic warriors, all the more reason for Silicon Knights and Microsoft to be up in arms awaiting a horned helmet invasion.
Too Human might not have any “vikings” per say, but the heavy inspiration from the Norse Mythology is certainly close enough. Baldur hacks and slashes his way through countless enemies, and the game’s mindless combat style of aiming an analog stick in a single direction to score hits is just about as damaging to the brain as a mindless round or two of Candy Crush Saga.
A little confusion between the properties is bound to exist for those who experience both for an extended amount of time
Plus, what video game company hasn’t sued Too Human at this point? Easy target with little chance of fighting back. Who could resist?
Talk about blatant stealing. What was Square thinking when it titled this Final Fantasy spin-off with a word that would eventually one day be used in Candy Crush Saga ? That capital “G “isn’t fooling anybody, Square! I mean, obviously Square can see exactly 25 years into the future. Was it planning to reap the benefits of King.com’s lucky success by throwing a 25 year bash just when it decided to go after the “candy” and “saga” trademark? Can’t be a coincidence, right?
Square Enix producer Atikoshi Kawazu has the entire fanbase up and ready for another entry in Square’s third-longest running series, but sorry to rain on the parade of fans who have waited over a decade for another quality title. It’s just not in the cards anymore. Fantasy setting, RPG mechanics. I hope it just doesn’t have any vikings in it, or King.com might actually have a case here. Wait, what?
Where do the similarities with King.com lie? Well, what sets SaGa apart from most other JRPG franchises is how it tosses aside conventional wisdom and turns to chance and random guessing on how characters are to advance. Take a sword swinger into battle, and he still might just end up becoming a decent magic user thanks to the chaotic stat growth.
Hmm… tossing aside conventional wisdom and advancing in the world by making random guesses (accusations) in a chaotic (legal) system? Sounds like someone we know.
Despite appearing on over six consoles to date and sporting at least a dozen entries and a long fabled history, it’s easy to see why some might very well confuse Candy Crush Saga with SaGa. Hope Square Enix has some good lawyers, or it might have to re-title two and a half decades of history. All it has to prove is that it can’t look into the future, and Final Fantasy XIII might just be the evidence which gets it off the hook. I think a judge will buy it.
Satire aside, this one does have a genuine issue it should be on the lookout for. Soul Saga is near and dear to our hearts as one of the first Kickstarter games to really capture our excitement (because I was a bit of a late bloomer on the scene.) We interviewed Disastercake’s Mike Gale shortly after the success of his campaign, and we got a genuine impression that the man is absolutely humbled to be working on his dream game.
Just like Stoic Games, the creators of The Banner Saga.
Both games come from humble beginnings and are being developed by small companies of less than a handful of people. Both have passionate guys who managed the American dream by breaking away from AAA studios to pursue their passion. Both were huge crowd-funding success stories and had massive fanbases before the games were even released.
Just like Stoic Games, we fear that the guys at Disastercake might have to answer to King.com in the coming months, and with Soul Saga‘s slightly cheerier aesthetic than The Banner Saga, who knows what a judge or legal team might side with nowadays.
You see, Disastercake secured enough funding to make a single game, not fight a legal battle. You don’t need a legal precedent to go after genuinely talented people creating the best product they possibly can. You just need patience and a lot of money to wring the other guy out. Stoic Games’ The Banner Saga is big enough for King.com to make a point to everyone else out there, “protecting its IP” and declaring the word “saga” off limits, but not big enough to fight back.
SEGA, Microsoft, and Square Enix have nothing to worry about because to go after the big boys in the industry, you need both legal precedent and some serious brass, something that King.com has neither of.
Please be sure to check out Stoic Games’ The Banner Saga because, if anything else, at least it could score some positive press out of this mess by looking like a bullying victim. Shouldn’t need it though because the game is drop dead fantastic on its own merit.
Our own Joey Davidson did a Let’s Play of The Banner Saga a little while ago.