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3D Realms released Ion Maiden last year. It gained a lot of attention at the time for using the Build Engine that powered 1990s classics such as Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior, meaning pixelated graphics and retro animations were the order of the day. Keeping with the retro theme, the Founders Edition included a ‘floppy disk’ that was actually a disguised USB drive containing a copy of the game.
In a lawsuit filed in the Central District of California court on May 28, Iron Maiden Holdings says the game is guilty of “incredibly blatant” infringement.
“Defendant’s misappropriation and use of a virtually identical imitation of the Iron Maiden trademark creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers. Customers who view Defendant’s video game and merchandise are likely to believe that Iron Maiden is somehow affiliated with Defendant,” reads the suit.
In addition to allegedly copying the band’s “steelcut” logo, it’s also claimed the game’s protagonist, Shelly Harrison, who originally debuted in 2016’s Bombshell, takes her name from band bassist Steve Harris.
The suit goes on to claim the skull bomb icon found in the game is based on Iron Maiden’s famous skeleton mascot, Eddie, and that Ion Maiden copies the “look and feel” of the band’s own 2016 smartphone game, Legacy of The Beast, which is described as an “epic turn-based fantasy RPG,” on Google Play.
Along with the $2 million in damages, Iron Maiden Holdings wants 3D Realms to stop using the Ion Maiden name and for the game’s ionmaiden.com website to be handed over or taken down.
Iron Maiden’s most popular tracks came during the 1980s with the likes of Number of the Beast, The Trooper, and 2 Minutes to Midnight. Whether the holding company consulted the group before launching the lawsuit is unclear. As a fan of the band who’s seen them live on several occasions, I hope not.
3D Realms called the claims “frivolous” on its official Twitter account, adding that itself, co-publishers 1C Entertainment, and developer Voidpoint will review their options once they receive official notice of the lawsuit and will make any necessary decisions at the appropriate time.
“Regardless, everyone continues to work diligently on Ion Maiden to deliver the best possible experience later this year,” the company wrote.