Game developer King issued a statement to Polygon today denying that the studio cloned another developer's game back in 2009. As a further measure, it took down the game in question, Pac-Avoid.
"King does not clone other peoples' games," a King spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon. "King believes that IP — both our own IP and that of others — is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers.
"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 — has been taken down."
The statement comes in response to developer Matthew Cox recently accusing the company of deliberately copying his game Scamperghost in 2009. Cox told Polygon he wanted to raise the issue again in light of King applying for the trademark for 'candy' to stop others from capitalizing on the success of Candy Crush Saga. He said the company is committing double standards in doing so because he believes it tried to capitalize on the success of Pac-Man when it released Pac-Avoid.
Speaking to Polygon, Cox said despite Pac-Avoid being made by a third party developer, "King contracted Matt Porter, the 'third party,' to make the game. He made it at their request to their specifications... So King is responsible. I'm fairly certain 99.9% of people (everyone except King) would agree Pac-Avoid is a 'clone' of Scamperghost."
Cox added that the clone itself doesn't matter any more. Rather, he wanted to highlight it as "an example of a hypocritical moment in King's history where they did the exact thing they are attacking other developers for now."