Source: Prolific Web-trawler Superannuation.
What we heard: With the Duke Nukem license in legal limbo, it appears that 3D Realms and its parent company, Apogee Software, have decided to sell off another of its intellectual properties, Prey. According to a US Trademark and Patent Office filing, on June 22 the Texan developer transferred the Prey trademark to the Radar Group, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based intellectual property company. In March 2008, Radar announced it had partnered with Human Head Studios and an unnamed studio to develop Prey 2 (pictured bottom), one of six projects listed on its official Web site.
The Radar Group was cofounded by Scott Miller, its current chief creative officer. A 34-year game-industry veteran, Miller also founded Apogee--later rebranded as 3D Realms--and cocreated three of its top IPs: Duke Nukem, Max Payne, and the original Prey. That game was first announced in 1996, then canceled, only to be resurrected and released on the Xbox 360 and PC in 2006.
Among Miller's other feats are negotiating the 2001 sale of the Max Payne IP to Take-Two for $48 million and helping id Software cocreate the Wolfenstein IP in the 1990s. Miller's salesmanship and connections apparently came in handy on July 15 of this year, when the USPTO filing shows that the Radar Group handed over the Prey trademark to ZeniMax Media. In late June, ZeniMax stunned the game industry by buying the long-independent id in a deal for which it raised $105 million.
Finally, last week, ZeniMax filed a flurry of trademarks to use the Prey name in PC games, console games, downloadable content, online games, television shows, comic books, strategy guides, and novels. In addition to the trademarks unearthed by Superannuation, GameSpot found that ZeniMax also holds the Prey trademark when it comes to T-shirts, hats, and other apparel.
The official story: ZeniMax and 3D Realms reps had not returned requests for comment.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus, since Five USPTO filings prove that ZeniMax now owns the Prey IP. Now several questions remain: Will Human Head continue to develop Prey 2? Who is its mystery partner? When will ZeniMax release the game? And how much did it pay?