ChaosForge’s new turn-based sci-fi roguelike, Jupiter Hell, has been doing pretty well for itself over on Kickstarter. Maybe, even a little too well as it has drawn the attention of ZeniMax Media. The company has slapped developer Kornel Kisielewicz with an order to remove all references to Doom on ChaosForge websites.

It’s not an unreasonable request. ZeniMax is the trademark holder for many notable IP’s, including Doom, The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout. But, with less than 2 weeks remaining on the Jupiter Hell crowdfunding campaign, the timing is less than ideal for Kisielewicz and his team.

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Kisielewicz and Derek Yu had created a roguelike version of Doom, which they called DoomRL. Heavily inspired by Doom, the game was a fast and furious roguelike that actually gained a bit of a following. Naturally, when ChaosForge decided to launch their crowdfunding campaign for their new project, Jupiter Hell, they wanted to leverage this following. This could be what finally drew ZeniMax’s attention to the years old project.

Kisielewicz posted a screencap of the notice he received from ZeniMax over on his Twitter account. Fans ralleyed to his support, but he admits there is little he can do, but comply with the company’s demands. “We’ll fight, but chances are slim. DoomRL is illegal,” Kisielewicz tweeted a supporter.

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Mentions of DoomRL have already been removed/changed over on the Jupiter Hell Kickstarter page. The project is now referred to as, “the spiritual successor to D**mRL.” And credited to the creator of “D**m, the Roguelike.” Meanwhile the offending website remains chock full of trademark infringements as ChaosForge determines their next move.

For The Love Of Games

It’s always a little disappointing to see free fan projects get shut down. Legally, ZeniMax is in the right, as they do hold the trademark, but it still feels like they are punching down. Punishing devs who want to pay homage to the IP’s they love before using that experience to create their own games. Didn’t anyone at ZeniMax ever need to build a portfolio?

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Regardless, Jupiter Hell will need more than fan-project name recognition to reach it’s $75,653 funding goal. ChaosForge supporters should consider pitching in to get Jupiter Hell fully funded before the December 13th deadline. It’s always nice to see the little guys manage to kick ass in the face of adversity.

Thanks to @BadScribbler for the tip. 

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller

Editor-in-Chief at Cliqist: Indie Gaming
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.
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