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 Pac-Avoid  dev gives his side of the King cloning story
Pac-Avoid dev gives his side of the King cloning story
January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose

January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing

Following the news that casual game company King has shut down one of its older titles in the wake of cloning allegations, the developer behind the King game has come forward to give his side of the story.

Developer Matthew Cox (a.k.a. Junkyard Sam) said last week that King deliberately copied his game Scamperghost after he and his development partner turned down a deal to license the game to King, with King later creating a similar game called Pac-Avoid.

Now Matt Porter, the Epic Shadow dev who created Pac-Avoid for King, has written a blog post in which he expands on his original claims that King lied to him, and told him that Cox had backed out of a deal.

"Lars [Jornow, King representative] messaged us and asked us if we wanted a small job," explains Porter. "He then told us that he was working with another developer to secure a sponsorship for the game Scamper Ghost and that the developer had backed out of the deal."

"King wasn’t too pleased with that," he continues, "and so Lars requested that we clone the game for them. I had a good working relationship with King then and was quite upset that someone would break the FGL [FlashGameLicense] terms and conditions. I initially thought the job was a little immoral, and a bit sketchy, but we had worked with King before, talked regularly, and Lars made these other developers seem like some really unprofessional jerks."

Porter alleges that King asked for the game to be built as quickly as possible, adding that "it would optimal if we could beat the original game to market." The dev notes that he built Pac-Avoid from scratch, and did not steal any assets from Scamperghost.

Porter is now angry that King appears to be blaming him for the cloning job. King told Gamasutra in a statement last week, "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 – is being taken down."

"I'm quite irked that King has the nerve to blatantly lie and shift the blame to me," he says, later adding "Based on their response to the recent allegations, I now know that the company is both deceitful and hypocritical."

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Matt Porter
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"It would be optimal" - I've fixed this mistake on my site ,it would be awesome if you could update the quote here!

Thanks for covering my side of the story, much appreciated. I'm eager to see if King will in any way respond to the continued pressure on this story, though I'm sure silence will be their course of action.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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From the linked blog post

"Once the game was released, there was obviously a lot of outrage from the Scamper Ghost team, as their game had obviously been ripped off. "

There is the answer to the people who say "If the developers of Scamper Ghost felt cheated, why are they waiting until now to say something about it?" As is often the case, it's not that someone is just now saying something; it is that the rest of us are just now *hearing* it.

Jesse Tucker
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I would assume if you were a very small developer who makes a few thousand from creating a game for a publisher like King, you'd be very reluctant to raise any sort of stink about business practices out of fear of being blacklisted.

Robert Green
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I love the bizarre twist at the end that they claim not to infringe on others IP, and to remove any doubt about this, they're taking the app down, thus removing our ability to compare the two and decide for ourselves whether or not they appear to have done so.