Some interesting news today in the world of game developers, clones, and legal matters. Stolen Couch Games released a puzzle game back in December 2012 called Ichi which has actually done pretty well for itself. The game was made in partnership between Stolen Couch Games and Jay van Hutten, of which the founding members of Stolen Couch Games and Van Hutten were attending the Utrecht School of the Arts together. This is where the eventual creation of Ichi happened.
Van Hutten ended up creating a proof-of-concept for a game which he had named Ichi, showing it to Stole Couch CEO Eric Diepeveen. Together, Van Hutten and Stolen Couch Games partnered up to mesh the game out, making it into a multi-platform IP and adding numerous new gameplay features, a level editor, as well as re-made all the graphics and rewrote the engine. After all that work, Ichi was released onto a couple of mobile platforms including Android. There were plans to bring the game to other platforms as well such as the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.
Today, Van Hutten has released a game called Pazuru onto the Nintendo 3DS. As it turns out, it is a pretty identical clone to the Ichi game it seems. Stolen Couch Games is saying that Van Hutten went behind their back and decided to release the Pazuru game onto the Nintendo 3DS himself in order to keep 100% of the profits. During the past three years Stolen Couch Games had been working on and releasing updates for Ichi and apparently, during that time, Van Hutten was making his clone for the 3DS.
Ichi and Pazuru comparison
When you enter a partnership you don’t go around your partner’s back and release a clone just so you can take all the profits. We wanted to release Ichi on Nintendo 3DS and WiiU, we even had discussions about it with Nintendo. But van Hutten didn’t want to do it, and now we know why. He wanted to cut us out so that he could take all the profits. – Selma Oors, CEO of Stolen Couch
Needless to say this entire things sounds like a pretty sticky situation. Interestingly enough, Stolen Couch has decided to terminate the sale of Ichi in the near future. The company has other games out, such as Castaway Paradise, which they have revenue coming in from.
We recently released Castaway Paradise, a sandbox simulator game inspired by Animal Crossing. We don’t need the revenue Ichi is generating anymore. By continuing the sale of Ichi we’re only financing its clone. We don’t see any reason to do so. – Selma Oors, CEO of Stolen Couch
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. There are a lot of games that get released that end up becoming super popular for whatever reason, and then numerous clones happen before, or around, the time the actual real game launches. You can check out Stolen Couch Games official statement / press release on the matter over on their blog. We will post any updates when we see them.
Website Referenced: Stolen Couch Games Blog