Sometimes it's easy to tell where a game gets its title. The Witcher is based on a series of books known as 'The Witcher Saga.' Meanwhile, 'Halo' is both the name of the series and one of the most important objects in said series. But not every game name is so clear cut. So Mike Rose, founder of publisher No More Robots, asked devs to share their stories on how they came up with their respective titles.
Game devs: How did you name your game? Was it difficult to decide, or did it just come to you? I'd love to hear game naming storiesOctober 4, 2017
Some devs put a lot of thought and heart into their games. Mikael Forslind said that his project, Alwa's Awakening, was named for his grandmother (Alva) and the alliteration made it easy to say and remember:
For @AlwasAwakening I named it after my grandma (Alva) and awakening being tied into the story. It was also easy to say and remember.October 5, 2017
But plenty of others simply stuck with a working title, either for simplicity's sake, because people remembered it best, or (as was the case with Project Zomboid), the public started getting hyped before an official name had been decided.
When we got the original Reddit exposure - we were all, "whoops, we forgot to decide on a name. Er... I guess it's this now" :DOctober 4, 2017
Rock Band was a placeholder name that stuck.October 4, 2017
One Eye Open was our placeholder. @inurashii insisted on more eyeball imagery when I wanted it to be permanent.October 5, 2017
Lots of other devs simply wanted to clear the hurdle of legality. Civilization: Beyond Earth lead designer Will Miller said it was a simple matter of getting the green light from 2K's legal team. Overcooked was originally going to be called 'Too Many Cooks,' but... well, if you don't already know the Adult Swim comedy sketch by the same name, take some time today and watch.
Come up with a bunch, then pick the one that clears Legal.October 5, 2017
Working title was "Too Many Cooks" but adult swim kind of torpedoed that one :-)October 4, 2017
It turns out not even Disney money can buy you the rights to the name 'Just Add Water.'
“Where’s My Water?” was “Just Add Water” forever during dev but couldn’t get the trademark. Team had a hard time choosing the new name.October 5, 2017
Personally, my favorite stories are about Axiom Verge and Canabalt. Axiom Verge creator Tom Happ said that his game's name is basically the result of random chance thanks to the use of a random name generator, while Canabalt originated with a young child's mispronunciation of the word 'catapult.'
Random name generator fed with words I like, picked my favorite results.October 5, 2017
Canabalt was what our 6 yr old nephew called catapults in Fat Princess: he was doing a lot of cannon balls at the pool too.October 4, 2017
There are plenty more interesting answers in the Twitter thread - go take a peek and see if your favorite is listed!