Speaking to Polygon, Stoic's Alex Thomas said: "They've blocked our trademark and extended the deadline for the opposition twice so that we are unable to have the rights to the name. Essentially, we are not allowed to own the name 'The Banner Saga' for our game about a viking epic, because King.com says they have claimed rights to the noun 'saga,' which means 'a viking epic,' forever more in the realm of games."
King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, recently started using a trademark ruling to challenge games they considered to be taking advantage of the popularity of their brand.
In the wake of a sizeable backlash in response to their proactive stance regarding their newly confirmed trademark, King responded yesterday explaining that the company "has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content."
However, their dispute remains, and when we reached out to Stoic this is what they had to say: "Two years ago, the three of us at Stoic set out to make an epic viking game: The Banner Saga. We did, and people loved it, so we're making another one."
"We won't make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don't appreciate anyone telling us we can't. King.com claims they're not attempting to prevent us from using The Banner Saga, and yet their legal opposition to our trademark filing remains. We're humbled by the outpouring of support and honored to have others stand with us for the right to their own Saga. We just want to make great games," concludes the statement.
It is easy to see King's argument, that they "need to take all appropriate steps to protect [their] IP, both now and in the future", but the fact remains that this trademark challenge feels harsh given the Candy Crush Saga and the rest of King's catalogue of titles are, for the most part, casual mobile/social games. The Banner Saga is definitely not aiming at the same target audience and is extremely unlikely to create much in the way of brand confusion as their Notice of Opposition states.
Hopefully this situation can be resolved quickly, because if Stoic's sequel is delayed because of legal wrangling with a company producing games in an entirely different space, that'll be a real shame.