Update: The original version of this story implied the public apology was court-ordered, which Ember Entertainment president Ryan Geithman noted is not the case. The story has been updated accordingly.
Seattle-based Ember Entertainment has made a public apology for duplicating elements of Machine Zone's Game of War: Fire Age in its own game Empire Z (pictured) in order to settle a $100 million copyright lawsuit filed against it last year by Machine Zone.
"Ember used some elements of Game of War: Fire Age in the original version of Empire Z, for which Ember apologizes," reads the joint public statement Ember and Machine Zone issued this week. "Ember has taken steps to remove these elements from the current and any future versions of Empire Z."
Further terms of the settlement were kept confidential, but the end of this case is notable in light of the fact that it's been going on since April of last year and Ember made its apology after trying to counter-claim that Machine Zone couldn't sue for copyright infringement since it had itself ripped off elements of Game of War from other games. Both the original complaint and the counter-claim have been dismissed with prejudice.
"'Empire Z’ is not a copy of Machine Zone’s game and you don’t need to be a lawyer to see that,” Ember chief Ryan Geithman told Law360 last year. “It is very surprising to us that Machine Zone would make these allegations, particularly since, as many have recognized, their game is so blatantly derivative of and borrowed its elements from so many games that preceded it.”
In brief, Machine Zone alleged that Empire Z is a re-skin of Game of War set in a modern setting (with zombies added in for good measure) that rips off everything from its UI design to its gameplay mechanics and player progression systems.
This isn't the first time Machine Zone has made a public show of settling things with a competitor -- in September of last year it and Kabam issued a joint statement that they'd amicably resolved a trade secret lawsuit.