Two days ago, the creator of Minecraft and headmaster of developer Mojang known as Notch, challenged Bethesda to a game of Quake 3 to settle a legal dispute over the name of his company’s next game. Yes, this actually happened and as you could imagine, everyone was excited at the possibility of watching a livestream of such a hilariously ludicrous, yet exciting event.
This all began two weeks ago when Notch (real name: Markus Persson) received a legal letter in the mail from Bethesda’s lawyers, claiming that his indie studio’s next game, titled Scrolls, infringes on the trademark of Bethesda’s flagship franchise, The Elder Scrolls. Since gamers generally refer to Elder Scrolls titles by their subtitle (i.e. Morrowing, Oblivion & Skyrim) and since “Scrolls” is just a noun, some critique the legal claim as being “bogus,” including Notch himself. His solution to challenge them to a round of Quake 3 over the name however, may not have been so bright in hindsight.
Wired had a brief chance to speak with Notch about the matter and the fun challenge, but Notch responded explaining that choosing Quake 3 as the alternative legal battlefield, may not have been so wise, considering the competition (Bethesda owns the brand now and has employees who are elite Quake players).
“If it came to a Quake III tournament, I have a feeling we just might have to change the name… In retrospect, Quake III might have been a poor choice.”
The fact that there’s been no official comment out of Bethesda on the matter, looks poorly on them in the eyes of eager gamers as for months now, Notch has professed his love of The Elder Scrolls series and excitement over Skyrim, especially since he decided to launch the full version of Minecraft on the same day as it this November 11th.
Notch continues, stating that this challenge is a great way for them to turn that negative buzz around and if they win, they win the legal dispute anyway and Scrolls would see a name change – why not? Well, legal matters are never as simple as that unfortunately and Notch is fully willing to take the battle to court.
“If we’re going to court, I will fight this for as long as it takes. It’s a bogus claim, and [Bethesda has] several one-word-named games that share a noun with other games that precede [its] games.”
Yesterday, during Microsoft Canada’s X’11 showcase event in Toronto, I spent some time with a representative from Bethesda demoing Skyrim and asked about the matter, to which he laughingly replied that they couldn’t comment. He did say however, that he can safely reveal that the team at Bethesda are all big fans of Minecraft so like Notch said, the developers there are all good people, this is just a case of lawyers playing their game.
Bethesda should respond soon though and even if they don’t accept such a challenge – one they’d likely win – this would still be a great event if they did it for charity. We at Game Rant would watch in enjoyment either way.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Creeper art from MegaMinecraftFreaks.