Monster Energy, the energy drink company that puts artificially-flavored gloop in cans next to gaming setups worldwide, is pushing an indie studio to change the name of its game. Glowstick Entertainment’s 2020 horror title, Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals is apparently “confusingly similar to their energy drink,” Glowstick CEO Vincent Livings said in a Twitter thread.
“Yep, that’s really their claim,” he continued.
Monster, which is partially owned by Coca-Cola and has a market cap of $55.8 billion as of writing, is a known “trademark bully.” Over the years, it has sued a small Ohio restaurant for using “monster” in its signage, a Georgia welder for using an “M” similar to its logo, and once entered a legal battle over the name of a man’s aquarium hobby forum, MonsterFishKeepers. In 2020, Ubisoft changed the name of its game Gods & Monsters to Immortals: Fenyx Rising following Monster’s claim that the title would be too easily confused with its brand.
All of that is finishing salt for Monster—it has pretzeled itself in many obscure legal battles with obscure little guys, and it will likely happily continue to do so. But Livings is projecting Mortals & Monsters and won’t go down easy.
According to another thread, Monster “demands that, in exchange for allowing us to use the name ‘Monsters & Mortals,’ we agree to never name any other game any variation of the word ‘Monster,’” Livings said.
“It also forces us to agree to never use a green & white logo on a black background for any game we ever make,” he continued. “So they own the colors green & white too, apparently.”
Livings plans to push back on Monster in court, and is advocating for a boycott in the meantime.
“Dishonest companies like Monster Energy depend on doing their bullying in secret, while presenting a clean image to their base (athletes & gamers),” he said. “Showing their true face publicly is the only real way to stop them.”
Monster did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment in time for publication.
Update 4/05/2023, 3:10 p.m. ET: Glowstick Entertainment CEO Vince Livings commented to Kotaku:
We are currently in the process of filing a Motion for Summary Judgment to try to stop Monster Energy’s legal team from dragging the process out longer and draining our financial resources. The motion only has a 50-50 chance of success and can still be appealed, but it saves us a lot of time if it succeeds.