Stoicism is that dubious ideal which promotes suffering without complaint, no matter how tough the hardship or deep the cost. But despite their name, Banner Saga developers Stoic aren’t willing to sit in silence while a trademark dispute initiated by Candy Crush creators King threatens to scupper plans for a sequel to their tactical RPG.
“Two years ago, the three of us at Stoic set out to make an epic viking game: The Banner Saga,” said the studio. “We did, and people loved it, so we're making another one. We won't make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don't appreciate anyone telling us we can't.”
They've got a good point according to our Banner Saga review, and we want a sequel.
Candy Crush Saga developer King filed a Notice of Opposition to prevent a Banner Saga trademark application just after Christmas - which alleged that The Banner Saga’s title presented a “likelihood of confusion in the marketplace”, given the prior existence of King’s several trademarked ‘...Saga’ games.
Stoic’s Alex Thomas this week told Polygon that plans for a Banner Saga sequel were uncertain while King’s position remained unchanged.
“They've blocked our trademark and extended the deadline for the opposition twice so that we are unable to have the rights to the name,” he said.
“King.com claims they're not attempting to prevent us from using The Banner Saga, and yet their legal opposition to our trademark filing remains. We're humbled by the outpouring of support and honored to have others stand with us for the right to their own Saga. We just want to make great games.”
Earlier this week, King suggested that their legal action against Stoic was made to secure the puzzle game publisher’s position against “real copycats” in the future.
“We do not have any concerns that The Banner Saga is trying to build on our brand or our content,” a King rep told Kotaku. “However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.
“If we had not opposed Banner Saga’s trademark application, it would be much easier for real copycats to argue that their use of ‘saga’ was legitimate.”
It sounds bonkers. But US law requires trademark owners to proactively defend their rights against possible infringements, or risk losing them - and so King feel justified in taking this course of action. Once both parties involved have made it clear that this isn’t a case of cloning or deception, though, the situation seems somewhat farcical and, well - unjust.
Our glowing Banner Saga review suggested plenty of scope for improvement on an accomplished formula that eventually became repetitive. Are any of you lot holding out for a Banner Saga sequel?