Iron Maiden, the British heavy metal band known for hits such as Run To The Hills and The Number Of The Beast, is suing video game publisher and developer 3D Realms. The dispute revolves around 3D Realms' upcoming shooter Ion Maiden, which is currently in early access for Steam.
3D Realms has a history back into the 1980s, when it went under the name of Apogee Software, but truly became a major name in the gaming industry with 1996's Duke Nukem 3D. Although the company struggled to ever reach the same heights as the FPS classic, the company - now under new ownership - has attempted to make a comeback in recent years. The next game in its roster is Ion Maiden, a retro-style shooter and prequel to 2016's top-down shooter Bombshell.
However, the game's name and contents have not gone over well with Iron Maiden. As reported by Kotaku, a lawsuit filed by Iron Maiden's holding company with the Central District of California Court suggests that 3D Realms' "misappropriation and use of a virtually identical imitation of the Iron Maiden trademark creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers." The suit alleges that customers who see Ion Maiden are likely to believe that the band is "somehow affiliated" with the product. Iron Maiden is looking for an eye-watering $2 million in damages, and either the game's website handed over or taken down.
The suit doubled down with some curious examples of Iron Maiden fans being confused by Ion Maiden. Included in these examples are online users "commenting that they were misled into believing that the Ion Maiden game was an Iron Maiden game," reading an article on Ion Maiden and "waiting for an explained connection to Iron Maiden," and perhaps most chillingly "expressing genuine excitement for an Iron Maiden video game." Given that Iron Maiden released their own free-to-play mobile game back in 2016, this is perhaps more of a damning indictment of existing examples of Iron Maiden as a gaming property.
In response, 3D Realms has put out a brief comment on Twitter. The company stated that the suit is full of "frivolous claims anyone who has played Ion Maiden would find more over the top than Shelly’s 'Loverboy', her signature 18-round triple-barreled revolver." The publisher then stated that it will review options alongside co-publisher 1C Entertainment and developer Voidpoint and "make any necessary decisions at the appropriate time."
3D Realms is no stranger to legal disputes. The company has had a lengthy battle with Gearbox over the rights to Duke Nukem, first over unpaid royalties over the initial sale and then defending itself over the development of a title called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction in 2014. However, it remains to be seen whether the publisher has been playing with madness this time.