A trademark claim from Take-Two Interactive has forced Hazelight Studios to relinquish its ownership of the name It Takes Two.
It Takes Two was the hit co-op adventure game about a pair of divorcing parents that released earlier this year and is currently up for multiple nominations at this year’s The Game Awards. The trademark claim was filed shortly before the game was released and is just one of a number of actions that are part of a larger trademark offensive from Take-Two Interactive.
In a statement to Eurogamer, a spokesperson for Hazelight said they “cannot comment on ongoing disputes” but are “hopeful it will be resolved.” However, a new notice of abandonment sent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office confirms that Hazelight has abandoned formal registration of the game’s name, indicating there are no immediate plans to further dispute Take-Two’s claim.
US Patent Office records show Take-Two has filed to contest numerous names with connections to the words “rockstar”, “social club”, “mafia”, “civilization” and more. These include a Beijing brand named “Starrocks,” a clothing brand Max Fayne, and numerous restaurants, parlours and other small businesses and niche brands using the word “rockstar” in their name.
That the publisher behind the Mafia series, the Civilization games and the Borderlands franchise has chosen the path of legal aggression isn’t entirely surprising though. Take-Two has secured infamy for going after fan-made Grand Theft Auto mods and other projects of preservation and reverse engineering that have to do with the iconic open world franchise.
Mike Futter, a business analyst at F-Squared who is known to weigh his expertise in on issues related to videogames commented on the issue on Twitter. He said that Hazelight doesn’t have to change the name of the game. “They could change it if they want to protect the name, but honestly, it’s probably not worth it to them to do that,” Futter said.
It Takes Two is available on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S but is also available on Xbox Game Pass.