Update: The developer of Last Year has offered an update on the situation, saying “The owners of Friday The 13th feel one of Last Year’s Killer designs looks too similar to Jason so they submitted an IP infringement to Kickstarter to take our page down… I’m changing the mask of that particular character and re-uploading it so we can get it resolved and move forward!”
Jason Voorhees won’t be returning from his decades long vacation from video games for another nine months and he’s already claimed his first victim. Last week, the Kickstarter page for the indie slasher game Last Year was taken down and replaced with a claim of a copyright violation submitted by the rights holders of the Friday the 13th film franchise.
For the unfamiliar, Last Year is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game that raised a massive amount of money — over $114,000 — on the popular crowdfunding website last year. In it, a team of player-controlled teens is hunted by a masked murderer who is controlled by another player.
The problem with that description is it could also be used to describe the recently announced Friday the 13th game.
There’s plenty room for two asymmetrical horror games about masked psychos hunting down teens, but one look at the concept art for Last Year and it’s immediately clear they’re using F13 as a source of inspiration. The bad guy that’s featured in the art (see above) that was used to raise all that money on Kickstarter could easily be mistaken for Jason.
Crystal Lake Entertainment is fully within their right to protect their franchise, just as the rights holders of the Halloween movie franchise were within theirs when they had Pig Farmer Productions rename their Halloween game to Babysitter Bloodbath.
In this case, there’s a not-insignificant amount of money involved, so I’d be surprised if it’s resolved through a simple name change. I’ve reached out to the developer of Last Year to see if they can shed some light on the situation. Stay tuned.