Candy Crush developer King cloned an indie game after a publication deal fell through, according to one of its developers.
According to a blog post from team member Matthew Cox, who provided extracts from emails to back up his claims, King was in negotiations with Stolen Goose to publish Scamperghost, but Stolen Goose received a better offer from another company.
King then released Pac-Avoid, a very similar game, almost before Scamperghost could come to market. Cox alleges the game is “a direct clone”, and showed an email from Pac-Avoid developer EpicShadow claiming that King contacted the studio asking it to copy Stolen Goose’s game, and alleging Stolen Goose broke a contract.
Scamperghost, Cox admits, isn’t entirely original – it’s basically Pac-man but with no walls, a twist on the genre Stolen Goose claims to have invented.
This isn’t the first time allegations of this sort have arisen; Roam creator Ryan Sharr accused 505 Games of ripping his game off with How to Survive after a publishing deal between the two didn’t work out, but later retracted his allegations after learning How to Survive pre-existed his own title.
King is in hot water with gamers at the moment. Its claim on the word “candy” is being viewed as trademark trolling, and has successfully resulted in the removal of rival apps. More damningly, its attempts on the word “saga” seem to be throwing obstavles in the path of Stoic, which says it can’t make a sequel to The Banner Saga while King persists in its claims. King’s multiple protestations of innocence have therefore not met with much sympathy.