Candy Crush Saga Publisher Allegedly Copied Indie Game

Candy Crush Saga Publisher Allegedly Copied Indie Game

Indie developer Stolen Goose says King.com paid another developer to copy their game.

King.com is currently in the news for attempting to trademark "Candy" and trying to oppose Stoic Studio's trademark application for "The Banner Saga". The company is not getting on anyone's good side currently, but now a small developer is alleging that King.com directly copied their indie mobile game.

On his personal site, indie developer Matthew Cox - one part of indie studio Stolen Goose - has called out King for getting another small developer to copy his game, Scamperghost. The alleged Scamperghost clone is called Pac-Avoid, published by King. Both games are obviously callbacks/homages/ripoffs of Namco Bandai's Pac-Man brand, but we'll leave that fact on the side burner for right now. How much of a clone is Pac-Avoid? See for yourself.

According to Cox, his team was in talks with King.com vice president of mobile Lars Jornow to bring Scamperghost to King's RoyalGames.com online platform. Competing portal MaxGames.com made a better offer, so negotiations with King were terminated and both parties went their separate ways. King then had another developer, EpicShadow, create Pac-Avoid. In an email, Jornow told Stolen Goose that King had decided to sponsor a similar game.

"We're sorry our deal didn't turn out with you guys - you made out with more money and we were left without an avoider game that we had already planned on. We needed an avoider game and sponsored a similar game," wrote Jornow in the email.

When Stolen Goose emailed EpicShadow for clarification, the latter developer said that they were asked by King to directly clone the game. EpicShadow's Matt Porter told VentureBeat that King paid them $3,000 to clone the game. He also believes that Stolen Goose did something unethical that led to King's (also unethical) actions.

"First off, sorry that we cloned your game for Lars of King.com," wrote EpicShadow in their email. "I know there's a ton of rumor as to what happened, so here's the exact details, you believing them is your decision. Lars approached us one day explaining that you (Stolen Goose) had signed a contract, had been working with him on finishing the deal, and then got a better deal and backed out. As tempting as more cash would be, if contract was signed, douche move. I don't know if that actually happened, so feel free to clear it up. He asked us to clone the game very quickly, and even wanted to beat the release of the original game."

Cox says no such contract was signed, meaning King allegedly lied to get EpicShadow onboard with the cloning process.

"Scamperghost isn't the most original game in the world. It's obviously inspired by Pac-Man but we at least took it in an original direction by making it a mouse avoider with no walls," added Cox. "King.com, however, showed no respect for other people's intellectual property when they made a direct, blatant clone of Scamperghost. Now they've trademarked "Candy" and are using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?"

King.com has yet to comment on the allegations.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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