2020 is a year full of games with questionable titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, but Ubisoft's "Immortals Fenyx Rising" takes the cake for the worst game title of the year. It stitches together three random words, lacks any sensical punctuation, intentionally misspells of Phoenix as Fenyx (admittedly, it is the protagonist's name), and generally just doesn't make sense grammatically.
Since the game formerly known as Gods & Monsters was re-revealed at Ubisoft Forward last week, new information has emerged as to why the name was changed. It involves not only a change in direction for Immortals Fenyx Rising but legal troubles with Monster Energy as well.
The game itself looks entertaining, as it takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and incorporates elements of Greek mythology so players can wield awesome powers and fight fantastical monsters — hence the gods and monsters. Still, even Inverse's positive impressions of the game feel a bit marred by the game's questionable title change from Gods & Monsters to Immortals Fenyx Rising. It seems like a fun game to play, but why is it called this?
The developers have been asked this very question in several interviews. "The change of name was entirely because of the vision of the game," Associate Game Director Julien Galloudec claimed in an interview published September 10 by Video Games Chronicle. He also explained that the game changed quite a bit after it was delayed from February to December.
"The game changed a lot, to the point where we felt we needed a new name to be better aligned with that updated vision, so that’s where we decided to change to Immortals Fenyx Rising," he said. Ubisoft believes this new name works because Immortals touches on "the timeless aspect of the Greek mythology" while Fenyx Rising indicates that this new character is going on an exciting adventure. (Why isn't it called "Immortals: Fenyx Rising" then?)
Behind the scenes, however, there does actually appear to be a legal reason behind the change as well.TechRaptor reports that Monster Energy filed opposition documents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office claiming that the name infringed upon their own Monsters copyright.
Even though Ubisoft initially fought this dispute, they seem to have instead decided to rename the game from Gods & Monsters to something else to avoid any legal disputes. While it makes for an unfortunate title change, the decision likely saved Ubisoft a lot of time and money that it would've taken to get the rights to the somewhat generic title of Gods & Monsters. It remains to be seen whether or not Monster Energy will come after Love and Monsters, a film whose trailer was just released on Tuesday. No monster is safe.
The Inverse Analysis — The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle of both of these reports. While Ubisoft might have already been considering a name change to signify the shifting vision for the project, the pushback from Monster Energy and the vagueness of a title like Gods & Monsters must have made a name change the most appealing and easiest option.
Still, why did Ubisoft have to decide on Immortals Fenyx Rising? It's very clunky to say and write. It would be better if it were shortened to just Immortals or just Fenyx Rising on their own. Even a colon after "Immortals" would make more sense. The name almost definitely won't change again, but now we at least have some insight into how Gods & Monsters ended up getting such a questionable title change.
Immortals Fenyx Rising will be released for all major platforms on December 3, 2020.