Take-Two Interactive, publisher of Red Dead Redemption 2, is embroiled in a legal battle against the real Pinkertons.
The security company Pinkerton has an issue with the in-game characters Andrew Milton and Edgar Ross, two Pinkerton agents who are also antagonists in the Rockstar Games title.
As The Verge reports, Pinkerton is demanding royalties or a single lump-sum payment from Take-Two over the use of its name. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to the latter over the two aforementioned characters.
The firm apparently appreciated the game developer's "clear affection" for Pinkerton, but according to it, the studio was taking advantage of the "goodwill" related to the Pinkerton trademark. In other words, it's saying that Red Dead Redemption 2 gives the impression that it's made by Pinkerton or at least it's involved with it.
The Pinkertons now go by the name of Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, which is under Securitas AB, a security company based in Sweden.
In Take-Two's Defense
In response, Take-Two is suing Pinkerton, seeking to have the use of the characters declared under fair use. It also argues that its use of the name is part of its attention to the game's historical accuracy.
The Verge also mentions that other references of Pinkerton are widespread in modern media, such as the TV series Deadwood, the 1980 movie The Long Riders, and BioShock Infinite. Not to mention that the band Weezer has an album named Pinkerton too, whom the company also sued and lost to.
Pinkerton is also accused of trying to capitalize on the massive success of Red Dead Redemption 2, which has sold more than 17 million copies.
In other related news, Red Dead Online, the online multiplayer component of Red Dead Redemption 2, is getting a battle royale mode called Gun Rush. It's similar to the gameplay style seen in games such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.