I can honestly tell you that Gods & Monsters never once made me think about Monster Energy drink, but the drinks company apparently thought otherwise. It’s come to light that Monster actually filed a legal opposition to Ubisoft’s Gods & Monsters trademark.
A couple of weeks ago, Ubi revealed they’d renamed the game to Immortals Fenyx Rising, citing creative reasons for the switch. That doesn’t seem to be the whole story, however, because the name change came shortly after this legal challenge was filed.
In the opposition documents from April (spotted by TechRaptor), Monster pointed out how heavily their branding is involved in the games industry. Their logo is plastered on gaming clothes and seen sponsoring esports events – not to mention the energy drinks themselves are actually in video games like Death Stranding – and they claim that Ubisoft’s similar name could cause confusion.
A month later, Ubisoft responded to this denying Monster’s claims, noting that the word “monster” is already used in loads of other trademarked names. Though we can’t say whether this is the reason they ultimately changed the name, the fact that they did shows Ubisoft weren’t super-attached to it.
When our Alice Bee played Immortals and had a chat, Ubisoft told her they’d ditched ‘Gods & Monsters’ because the game grew enough that it needed a new name “to be aligned to that updated vision”. She observed the game “does feel a bit like AC Odyssey shagged Zelda and Ubi got custody of the baby. But I spose that isn’t at all likely to get okayed as a title.” So, now we have an upcoming Ubi game with a name which sounds like it’s straight out of the noughties.
Lawyer Richard Hoeg goes into the Monster dispute in depth in the video below. It’s a helpful explanation of the trademark laws this fiasco is wrapped up in, and he provides some of his own opinions on why Ubisoft didn’t challenge the opposition more. He speculates they likely could have won, but it’d take time and money.