The Doom Roguelike is a free retelling of the classic shooter but as a top-down roguelike. It's bizarre, brilliant, and Bethesda wants it gone.
On December 1st, Zenimax's lawyers, representing Bethesda, sent a cease and desist letter to the developer, asking that they take down the game and stop infringing on the publisher's Doom IP:
So... Zenimax have just written to me demanding I take down the DoomRL site... :-/ pic.twitter.com/tXAwdq59Zz
— Kornel Kisielewicz (@epyoncf) December 2, 2016
Zenimax is completely within their rights to do so, and this is far from the first time that a publisher's lawyers have called for a take down of a game that makes use of its IP. However, the developer of the Doom Roguelike has responded, not by taking it down, but by making the game open source, letting fans download the game and all the code and assets associated. Conceivably, this could lead to a whole spree of Doom Roguelike spinoffs.
According to DoomRL's developer Kornel Kisielewicz, he always planned on releasing the game as open source anyway, but the letter from Bethesda's lawyers compelled him to do it a lot sooner than he expected:
I planned to release the source code of DoomRL as a "thank you" after a successful Jupiter Hell Kichatarter, but ZeniMax forced my hand.
— Kornel Kisielewicz (@epyoncf) December 6, 2016
This isn't an entirely altruistic act by the Kisielwicz, as he is using the news of the open source release to direct people towards his Kickstarter for Jupiter Hell, which is a similar style of game without the same copyright infringing qualities.