As pressure continues to mount against King.com, the publisher and hopeful trademark owner of Candy, Crush, and Saga has removed the Pac-Avoid game after developers behind Scamperghost alleged that King stole their game.
Polygon heard from King.com on the subject:
King does not clone other peoples' games. King believes that IP—both our own IP and that of others—is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers.
Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else's IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game—which was coded by a third party developer 5 years ago—has been taken down.
Searching trademark filings and the marketplace sounds about right. King.com would have had to search the marketplace to find Scamperghost in the first place. They would have also had to search trademark filings to find out how much of Pac-Man they could rip off for their game's title.
[Original]: While King.com continues to lay claim to words as wholesome and God-given as "candy" another developer says that the creators of Candy Crush Saga stole their game concept several years ago even after making an offer to buy the game.
Junkyard Sam and Nick Bray created Scamperghost and entered into negotiations with King.com in 2009. When negotiations ended after the developers got a better deal elsewhere, King.com made a direct clone of the game called Pac-Avoid.
The two games feature similar menus, gameplay, controls, and even a similar high-score screen. You can see a sample screenshot above. Junkyard Sam has several other comparison screens on his website.
Junkyard Sam states that he and his partner were in direct talks with Lars Jörnow of King.com to license Scamperghost but that the company eventually "retaliated against us (two young indie devs) by quickly making a direct clone of our game and almost released it before us!"
We only got [our version] out sooner because a friend close with the company contacted us privately to warn us in advance.
When IndieGamer.com forum members took up the cause, Lars once again contacted the creators of Scamperghost saying
The flash world is filled of similar-looking games, and there are probably hundreds of avoider-games with similar menus, a box with enemies, and coins – and we though Scamper Ghost was awesome. We're sorry our deal didn't turn out with you guys… we were left without an avoider game that we had already planned on.
Jörnow informed Sam and Bray that they found a different game to sponsor, but when the developers behind the original game tracked down the creator of the King.com ripoff, they found that King.com had found another developer expressly to clone Scamperghost.
An e-mail from a developer at Epic Shadow states that King.com informed them of a broken contract for Scamperghost. Junkyard Sam says that no contract was ever signed, but he also admits that the title in question isn't entirely original.
"It's obviously inspired by Pac-Man," Sam writes. "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."