If you're a European Xbox owner, like me, you might be wondering why Trenched, a game from the always brilliant Double Fine, isn't out yet when it is everywhere else. Microsoft is usually really really good when it comes to releasing games online, with the vast majority coming out worldwide at the same time. So why on earth is the whole of Europe unable to buy trenched?
Eurogamer reports that the issue is to do with a Portuguese board game maker. One Rui Alipio Monteiro is the owner of the name “Trench” for both board and computer games. This leaves Double Fine and Microsoft in a lot of trouble should they try to release the game anywhere inside Europe. This isn't helped by the fact that both Trenched and Trench are based around WWI.
Eurogamer went out for a comment from the Portuguese board game maker who confirmed the trademark but had “nothing else to declare” and then referred them to the Trench website for any further information. Microsoft did not comment.
This leaves Microsoft and Double Fine with two options: Try to settle and license the name which might end up costing a heap of money for them, or they could release the game under a different name. Both options will be very time consuming, settling legal action is never fast, but going in and changing the name might be the better option, even though it may mess up marketing for the game.
It all seems like this was one massive cock up by someone that should have seen this coming, especially a company like Microsoft. These days, most publishers have huge legal departments for weeding out issues such as this, it's really bad that it should happen to such a big company. It's also pretty bad that it should happen to a game that many people, including myself, were really looking forward to. I'm sure we'll see it in the future, but I am worried that it'll be a case of months rather than days.