In what may be a case of nonsensical decision making, bad PR, or both, the lawyers behind Bethesda sent a letter to Minecraft creator Markus Persson claiming that his company’s next game, Scrolls, “infringes on their trademark and everyone will confuse it with Skyrim.”
We’re certainly not confused and don’t expect any gamers to be either since no one refers to Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim as “The Elder Scrolls #” but that’s the predicament Notch found himself in days before his wedding. Returning from his weekend tying the knot with a happy mindset, Notch just proposed the ultimate solution to this legal matter: a fight to the death! Well, a digital death.
Posting on his blog moments ago, Notch challenges Bethesda to a game of Quake 3 to resolve the stupidity dispute over Scrolls.
“The only negative thing going on at this moment is the Scrolls trademark lawsuit nonsense, and I think I came up with the perfect solution:
Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Tyrion chose a trial by battle in the Aerie? Well, let’s do that instead!
I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, your select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins.
If we win, you drop the lawsuit.
If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with.
Regardless of the outcome, we could still have a small text somewhere saying our game is not related to your game series in any way, if you wish.”
This is a genius (and entertaining) move by Notch since the growing fanbase behind Minecraft will be on his side and very vocal about it online. And now every chance media gets with Bethesda, they will be asked to comment and respond to this challenge. A challenge, we hope, sets a new legal precedent for years to come!
In all seriousness, the noun “Scrolls” shouldn’t be a bone of contention with Bethesda or their parent company ZeniMax and sending a letter like that to an internet celebrity is a poor tactic and unnecessary. Bethesda won’t gain or “win” in the end and everyone who wants Skyrim – that includes the entire staff at Game Rant – will get Skyrim without being confused by Scrolls.
We’re team Mojang on this one, so please send us T-shirts.
Minecraft exits beta status on November 11, 2011, the same day The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.