Candy Crush developer King did not steal a Pac-Man style game from independent developer Stolen Goose in 2009, a representative for the studio told Polygon. However, "for the avoidance of doubt," King has taken down the game in question, Pac-Avoid, which Stolen Goose says is a deliberate copy of its own game, Scamperghost.
"King does not clone other peoples' games," a King representative said. "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," the spokesperson added. "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."
King's statement comes after Stolen Goose developer Matthew Cox last week accused King of copying Scamperghost in 2009. At the time, Cox met with King to discuss a possible licensing arragement, but before the deal was closed (and, importantly, before contracts were signed, he says), website MaxGames.com made a better offer. After this meeting, Cox claimed King "retaliated" against the two-man Stolen Goose by making a "direct clone" of Scamperghost and releasing the game, Pac-Avoid, so quickly that it nearly beat Scamperghost to market.
This isn't the only bit of controversy King has found itself involved with recently. Last week, it was revealed that King filed a notice of opposition against Stoic Studios' The Banner Saga, claiming that The Banner Saga is "confusingly and deceptively similar" to Candy Crush Saga. The company says it filed the notice as a means to fend off copycats and is not trying to stop The Banner Saga. Stoic Studios has vowed to fight.