Having redefined the fantasy role-playing game with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red is now hard at work on its promising sci-fi RPG, Cyberpunk 2077. The company’s decision to trademark the term “cyberpunk,” however, has caused some unrest among fans, and now the studio has responded.
Cyberpunk 2077 takes inspiration from the pen-and-paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020, which in turn was inspired by literature like William Gibson’s Neuromancer and the Mirrorshades anthology by Bruce Sterling. These books are part of a sci-fi subgenre that’s become known as cyberpunk, and some enthusiasts feel that CD Projekt Red’s decision to trademark the term is reductive.
“The reason for our registration is to protect us from any unlawful actions of our competitors,” said a representative for the studio, according to a report from GameSpot. “A trademark is not a copyright or patent — these are totally different rights and should not be confused.”
CD Projekt Red has pledged that it won’t defend its right to the Cyberpunk name “aggressively.” The company maintains that it will play fair with other content creators to ensure that the cyberpunk genre as a whole can live on, even if Cyberpunk 2077 ends up as the basis for an ongoing franchise.
The studio even gave a couple of examples of fictional video game titles that it wouldn’t consider to be a breach of its trademark. Neither John Smith: Adventures Set in a Cyberpunk Dystopian Society and 20 Short Video Games Set in Cyberpunk Worlds would be pursued as an infringement.
It’s easy to see why the studio would want to prevent copycats from releasing games that imply a relation to Cyberpunk 2077 without its consent — and it’s good to know that this shouldn’t cause problems for the wider genre of cyberpunk fiction.
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