Llamasoft’s shooter TxK will not be released on formats other than Vita due to Atari filing a copyright claim, according to TxK creator Jeff Minter.
“All the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day,” Minter said on Twitter. “No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank ‘Atari’.”
According to a blog post from Minter, which was moved to Pastebin following increased traffic to his site, the issue with Atari has been “going on behind the scenes” for a while.
“I’d kept it on the down low all this time because I had hoped we could maybe work something out, maybe Atari would commission an officially licensed version from us; we made it clear we’d be willing to negotiate about that sort of thing,” he said.
“However they never gave an inch and just continued with threats and bullying. Specifically they had their lawyers present a number of legal accusations about a variety of things; we consulted a lawyer who told us that if we wanted to fight against it then it’d be expensive because we’d need to address separately each of the things they were accusing me of.
“The accusations were addressed not only to Llamasoft as a company but also directed at me personally.”
Atari has accused Minter of stealing the source code for Tempest 2000 which Minter coded. He says he no longer has access to the code, and wouldn’t have used it for TxK anyway. The company also claims he stole the soundtrack to Tempest, even though the score is an original piece.
The firm was also upset the ship in TxK could “jump”, according to Minter.
“[It’s] all abject bollocks, but set up legally so as to be expensive for anyone to contest,” he said. “Even just going back and forth a few times with letters responding to their threats ended up running up a couple of grand in legal bills, and there is simply no way on God’s earth I can afford any kind of a legal battle.”
“They are still trying to insist that I remove from sale Vita TxK (even though it’s plainly at the end of its run now and only brings in a trickle these days) and sign papers basically saying I can never make a Tempest style game ever again. So no chance of releasing the ports.”
Minter has also accused Atari of changing the name of the Tempest 2000 PlayStation port to Tempest X in order to skip on royalty payments to Minter as it uses the same source code and soundtrack.
You can read up on more of Minter’s side through the Pastebin link.
Atari has since responded to Minter’s claims with the following statement (via Eurogamer):
“Atari values and protects its intellectual property and expects others to respect its copyrights and trademarks. When Llamasoft launched TxK in early 2014, Atari was surprised and dismayed by the very close similarities between TxK and the Tempest franchise.
“Atari was not alone in noticing the incredible likeness between the titles. Several major gaming outlets also remarked at the similarity of features and overall appearance of TxK to Tempest; one stated of TxK, ‘This is essentially Tempest.’
“There is no lawsuit. Atari has been in continuous contact with the developer since the game launched in hopes that the matter would be resolved.”