Following its successful trademarking of the word "candy", Candy Crush Saga maker King has been accused of deliberately copying the game Scamperghost by Stolen Goose's Matthew Cox in a write up published yesterday. As part of the allegations, Cox published emails that seemingly confirm the claims.
The trademarking of the term "candy" seems to be the driving reason behind the new allegations, with the exposé of sorts stating at the beginning, "It's ironic that King.com is concerned about intellectual property when they so blatantly copied our game Scamperghost with their game "Pac-Avoid" in late 2009. In fact, using "Pac" from Namco's Pac-Man is exactly the same thing they're trying to stop people from doing with their "Candy" trademark!"
Cox then proceeded to offer up comparison screenshots between King's Pac-Avoid and Stolen Goose's Scamperghost, which you can see below. He goes on to offer up "proof" of the allegations in the form of emails from King's Lars Jornow, and an email from Pac-Avoid's developer, which says it was asked to quickly clone the game.
According to Cox, talks with King to license Scamperghost fell through before any contracts were signed when a bigger offer came from MaxGames.com. Cox says negotiations were ended and all went their separate ways. Some time later, a "friend close with the company" reportedly contacted Cox and his fellow indie developer to warn them King had cloned the game and was pushing to release it before Scamperghost.
In an effort to get to the bottom of it, the developer for King's version of the game was then contacted and responded with the email below:
from: Porter firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 9:25 PM
subject: Pac Avoid / Scamper Ghost
First off, sorry that we (Andrew and I of EpicShadow) cloned your game for Lars of King.com. 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 maintains that no contracts were ever signed, and unless King can show otherwise, it looks like the matter will remain unsolved. The write-up concludes with a jab at the company's recent trademarking exploits: "[King is] using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?"