is it copy right infridgement if you want to build a city building game that is based on a popular television show

i have an idea that I cant really be specific about at the moment. I want to purchase and download city building toolkit but am worried that if I make the game I want that I could possibly be sued for copy rights or trademark issues. if anyone has any info or help that they could give me I would greatly appreciate the feedback,thanks

In short, Yes. It is copyright infringement.
You have a couple options:

  1. Make a spiritual successor. Something that uses the same themes but not the extract characters, locales, etc.
  2. Make it as a fan game. Which means NOT trying to profit from it. You might still get a cease and desist. But if it’s good enough, you might also get noticed in the industry. If it’s REALLY good and the company infringed upon likes it. They may allow you to construe the project.
  3. Seek to gain the license beforehand. Make a pitch and reach out to the people from said property’s company. Might cost you. Might be free.

yes but you can simply rename it and or make slight alterations to it, like adding an extra window or change the color

I am NOT an IP lawyer, and one may tell you more details, but let me explain what I have learned from working in the gaming field for a while…

Characters - Possible copyright infringement. However, common character names, John Smith, Tim Jones etc… is not. So, you can do alterations, and as long as the overall is not similar to the original, you can probably get away with it. For example, you can use Harry Slopper, but if you add Hermanie, you kind of cross a line.

Story line - Definite Copyright infringement. Once the story is laid out, to duplicate it is infringement. HOWEVER, there are exceptions. For example, if the story is based on an already public domain story, it is NOT infringement. A good example is Thor. Thor as a superhero infringes on Marvel / Disney, Thor as a God does not. In general though, if it is from a Television show, expect it to be protected. (Once Upon a Time is the only show where there is a potential for the fair use exception that I can think of, since some of the fairy-tales, although kind of owned by Disney, are also public domain.

Buildings - Maybe. If the Building is unique to the show, i.e. Death Star from Star Wars, then yes. If they are generic buildings, then no. If they are named specifically then yes. For example, you can not use Gold’s Pawn Shop from Once Upon a Time as the name of a similar building in your game. You can have a building named Gold’s Pawn Shop, but if it looks close to the one in the show, it is a no-no. Famous buildings are a maybe. This area depends on if the building is old enough to be replicated and if the replication is being taken advantage of. For example, if you create a real flight simulator to fly around New York, it is fine. If you create the New York Metropolitan Museum as the layout for you game, you are in muddy waters…

I hope all this helps. And to answer your original question, Most likely, YES. so either seek permission, or avoid it. Altering it slightly will still get you in trouble. Think about how Lucas tried to sue Larson because Cylons looked too much like Darth Vader… Can you afford to defend the lawsuit, even if you are right?