Video game developer and publisher 3D Realms has changed the name of its first-person shooter Ion Maiden to Ion Fury. This name change follows a lawsuit from the classic heavy metal band Iron Maiden for copyright infringement.
Iron Maiden accused 3D Realms for what they described as “incredibly blatant” copyright infringement. As such, 3D Realms has changed the name to avoid legal issues. The domain name for the game ionmaiden.com, now directs to ionfury.com. However, the lawsuit is listed as pending and may still be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The band is looking for than just a name change, including millions in damages, the destruction of products that have the Ion Maiden logo on them, and cancellation of the original website domain altogether.
The basis of the lawsuit was not only the similarities in the names, but the fact that the Ion Maiden logo is the same type of angular steel-cut typeface that the band uses. The band also says that the Ion Maiden protagonist Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison was obviously based on Iron Maiden bassist and songwriter Steve Harris.
3D Realms says that they agreed to the name change before the lawsuit was even decided in order to give fans what they want rather than focus on a drawn-out legal battle. They also believe that the game drew fans based on the gameplay and community but not the title. Iron Maiden has said nothing about whether the name change is enough to make them drop their lawsuit, or if they will continue pursuing their other demands. If the band does win the lawsuit, it is not clear how this will affect the game’s release in August.
This is not 3D Realm’s first lawsuit over intellectual property. The only reason the protagonist of Ion Fury exists is a 2014 lawsuit by Gearbox Software. 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment announced their intent to develop an isometric action role-playing game called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. Although 3D Realms, formerly Apogee Software, created the original Duke Nukem games, they sold the rights to the character to Gearbox in 2010, a sale they later told others never occurred. After the lawsuit, Duke Nukem was reworked into the copyright-infringement-free character Shelly Harrison, who is now unfortunately embroiled in a lawsuit of her own.
Ion Fury is currently slated to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on August 15th, 2019.