Candy Crush Saga developer King was accused of cloning indie game Scamperghost after a negotiations between its creator Matthew Cox and the company broke down. Matt Porter, developer of the resulting gamer Pac-Avoid, has now stepped forward to confirm the cloning action, and has called King both "deceitful and hypocritical."
You can read up on the similarities between Scamperghost and Pac-Avoid through the link. Essentially, once Cox turned down King's deal, the company decided to quickly create its own version to beat Cox to market. The firm hired Epic Shadow developer Matt Porter to create Pac-Avoid to spec, and subsequently shifted blame on him once the cloning accusations surfaced.
Now, Porter has addressed the issue in a new blog post recalling dealings with King rep Lars Jornow from 2009.
"One day," Porter wrote, "Lars messaged us and asked us if we wanted a small job. 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, 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 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. Lars requested that we build the game quickly and explained that it would optimal if we could beat the original game to market. Between needing the money, and Lars painting the developer’s of Scamper Ghost as the bad guys, we took the job."
Porter added that Pac-Avoid was made from scratch and that the name 'Pac-Avoid' was designated by King. Porter and his team felt it infringed too closely on Pac-Man, but it stuck regardless. As a result, Porter requested that his team Epic Shadow be left off the game's credits post-release, as the project felt 'sketchy.'
"Once the game was released," he continued, "there was obviously a lot of outrage from the Scamper Ghost team, as their game had obviously been ripped off. They did a bit of detective work, and quickly found out that I was one of the developers of Pac Avoid. I didn’t deny my involvement in the project, and we exchanged a number of emails concerning the matter.
"In the end, the Scamper Ghost team had ample evidence that we were indeed contracted to clone the game, and that we were mislead to believe they had made some very unethical business decisions to pull away from King and go with Max games. They were still pissed at the entire situation, but the overall conclusion was that we were forgiven, and King was to blame."
As a result of the resulting backlash and controversy surrounding The Banner Saga, King has now removed Pac-Avoid from its website. Porter was initially blamed by King for the issue, and has called the company out.
"I find it pathetic that a company such as King would throw the blame around in this situation while hypocritically attacking others," he stressed. "Trademarking common words such as 'Candy' is just ridiculous. Bullying indie developers is even worse. The company is sitting on billions of dollars and everyone already knows about Candy Crush; I don’t think they need to worry about getting ripped off, especially not by the people they’re targeting.
"Based on their response to the recent allegations, I now know that the company is both deceitful and hypocritical. I was contracted to make Pac Avoid, a direct clone of Scamper Ghost, and I did just that – why King would try to lie about the obvious proven truth is beyond me. I understand that they have a lot to lose by admitting to something from so long ago, but the truth is clear, and they’re just digging a deeper whole by lying about it."
What do you make of Porter's blog and King's recent actions? Let us know below.