Ballistic Interactive is a two-person independent development studio based in Australia. The duo teamed up in 2015 and collaborated on several prototypes until they arrived at a concept they felt they could run with. Their first game is described as an “investigative action RPG that pits you against the horrors of the afterlife”. It was originally unearthed in 2016 as Hellhunter, though it has been renamed to HellSign due to a trademark conflict with Rebellion Entertainment, the team behind Sniper Elite and Alien vs Predator.
Ballistic Entertainment recently discovered that Rebellion trademarked the phrase “hell hunter” in January 2017. Pete Skyking of Ballistic Interactive shared info on why it has taken so long for the team to discover this trademark’s existence. “We looked into trademarks early in development. But as we were on a small indie budget, and found that many successful indie games didn’t have a trademark on launch, we decided to take the risk and instead put the money toward making a better game. Unfortunately, when we finally did decide to trademark, we found that ‘hell hunter’ had been trademarked by Rebellion. We took legal advice and were told this would be a problem“.
Despite this minor conflict, Skyking had no animosity toward Rebellion. In fact, he even praised the studio after reaching out to their CEO, Jason Kingly. Skyking said, “Given the sticky situation, Jason was awesome. He not only personally replied to us, but handled it like a boss! He was open to working something out and helping us through the situation – but unfortunately, at the end of the day, as indies operating out of our savings our only two options were to change our name, or cut content. Needless to say, we had to change the name“.
With that situation settled, Ballistic is determined to finish and release HellSign on Steam this year. Skyking took a moment to thank the community by saying “Most of all, we want to thank our community for the constant support and kind words. You are the reason we are still moving forward towards making the best game we can – and we can’t wait for you to enjoy it!“