​Rockstar Games Sued By Real-Life Pinkertons Over 'Red Dead Redemption 2'

According to a report, Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations has sparked a legal battle with both Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive, over wild west RPG Red Dead Redemption 2.

The security and risk management solutions firm - yep, that's how its website describes today's service - says that the game unfairly represents Pinkertons. They're the law enforcement guys in bowler hats whose job it is to hate your guts, and the company claims Rockstar is using the Pinkerton badge without permission.

A cease and desist letter, found by The Blast, explains that "In the 1870s the agency worked with law enforcement to apprehend famous criminals across the country." But Pinkerton Consulting believes that in Red Dead 2 they're "used as villains, hunting down the game's protagonists."

Pinkertons in 'Red Dead Redemption 2'. Credit: Rockstar Games
Pinkertons in 'Red Dead Redemption 2'. Credit: Rockstar Games

The letter notes how the Pinkerton group is now seemingly associated with the game, despite it never giving Rockstar an official go-ahead. It also says that Red Dead 2 is "likely to blur the distinctive character and tarnish the reputation of Pinkerton's famous trademarks."

So what's it going to cost Rockstar, if Pinkerton wins its suit? The firm doesn't necessarily want the game off shelves, but is "willing to discuss a lump sum figure" to settle. To which, quite simply, Rockstar is saying no.

The studio has already visited the federal court with an injunction, explaining that the in-game representation of the Pinkerton name is protected by the First Amendment.

According to Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a "historically accurate video game set in the Wild West in the late 1800s," and "historical references are woven into the fabric of the game at every level."

It continues: "The game's reference to the historical Pinkerton National Detective Agency and its agents is but one of a myriad of ways that Red Dead 2 accurately portrays the historical Nineteenth Century American Landscape." Pinkertons feature in ten of the game's 106 main missions.

Rockstar has "long been a staple in works of historical fiction about the Wild West," says the developer's response, "and even made mention of such works as HBO's Deadwood and the film The Long Riders, as well as Elton John's Ballad of a Well-Known Gun."

What do you think about this news? Do Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations have any grounds for complaint? Is Rockstar in the wrong? Who'll win the legal battle? Let us know.

Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Matthew McGladdery

Matthew McGladdery graduated with a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Salford University, where he worked at Revolution 96.2, Global Radio, and Fleetwood F.C. When he left university, he took on the role of co-editor for the Salfordian and worked as freelancer for the likes of BBC Sport. He continues to work in sport but loves talking all things Xbox, PS4, and PC just as much.

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