Yesterday the internet exploded over the latest controversy concerning "cloning" and the App Store. Developer Ustwo released Papa Quash, a game with a really "out there" concept, which we explain in our article yesterday, but unfortunately one that had already gained a ton of notoriety when it was the basis behind indie developer Die Gute Fabrik's PC title Johann Sebastian Joust.

The uniqueness of the gameplay concept is likely the biggest reason that Papa Quash drew so much ire, but there's a lot more to it than that. Ustwo had previously made statements deriding the act of cloning, and in the case of Papa Quash the story went that former Big Brother UK cast member Sam Pepper had actually commissioned Ustwo to help create the project. After being informed by Ustwo that the concept of Papa Quash was the same as J.S. Joust, Sam Pepper allegedly reached out to Die Gute Fabrik for their blessing in creating the game, which Ustwo was assured he received.

Today Ustwo's head of marketing Steve Bittan made a bold decision in the matter, reaching out to The Appside to state that "We are pulling [Papa Quash] ASAP" in light of the apparent fact that Sam Pepper didn't really have permission from Die Gute Fabrik to copy the gameplay after all. Whether this whole ordeal really was just a big misunderstanding or if this is severe damage control in light of the huge negative backlash to Papa Quash remains to be seen, and we're still waiting for official responses from both Sam Pepper as well as Die Gute Fabrik.

As of this moment Papa Quash is indeed removed from the App Store, and if any new information comes to light regarding this situation we'll be sure to let you know.

[Via Stuart Dredge, The Appside. Image via AppAdvice]

  • rodgerodger

    So 'some guy' comes to Ustwo asking them to make this game. Tells them don't worry I got permission, and Ustwo just takes his word for it? Idiots! I would never use a license or copy a game without direct permission. And Ustwo wonder's why they aren't more successful...

    • kingmarr1

      You probably don't know half of what really happened so you shouldn't trash them. Maybe it was an honest misunderstanding, at least wait for the response before you flame them.

    • Kafu

      Gameplay cannot be legally protected, so there is no need to license anything. It's only a PR problem.

  • Aimsworth

    No, the creator of this game should have the legalities of creating a clone sorted out before releasing it. They would be losing money in pulling it, but at least it shows they dont want to appear arrogant and release a clone. Many similar games exist, I would have thought a gesture based Iphone game by definition could not have had some evolution or difference from the original PC title, but there you go.

    Similar games arent a problem. The devs of Papa Quash should take some time, redo some of the game so it takes inspiration from the original PC game but isnt a icon to icon recreation.

  • http://twitter.com/touchgameplay TouchGamePlay

    Sorry but this hole "We believed that he had own the Permission" smells from the Front till the End like a huge UsLie™ :(

    I can`t and I won't believe that all it does take is just a Brick like Sam Pepper to show off how the Business is done at Ustwo™ What the Hell did went wrong at Ustwo™ at that Day?! Trust is one Thing but this hole thing. Gosh...

    Let`s Face it:

    Some Brick thought that he can earn some Money the easy Way and it didn`t worked out at the End.

    I still hope that this will End in front of the Court to make sure we don`t see similar Cases ever again.

    • John Millard

      You can't copyright or patent gameplay in and of itself. There's no legal recourse for anyone in this case.

  • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

    So, I still want this game. Could somebody make it please? Make it different enough and better, or strike a deal or something. :) The original devs are WAY too slow at expanding this to the mobile market. :P (Says the some-time dev who has been working on an unreleased game for 4+ years.)

    • http://www.handsometrustworthy.com/ Armaan Khan

      Maybe Die Gute Fabrik can take inspiration from PapaQuash for how to do an iPhone version of JB Joust. That would be poetic.

    • http://twitter.com/aaronBak Aaron Baker

      I totally agree. I want to play this game.

      Also, I think that Ustwo deserves more credit. It takes a ton of work to take an idea and make it into a shipping product. A great idea isn't worth anything until it ships. And, the fact is that an iPhone version of this game is a better idea than a PS move version.

  • TheCurrentGamer

    I am so confused by this whole situation.

  • Gatada

    Always nice to see the industry managing without patents..

    Although in this case, it meant I lost the game after I was forced to reset my iPhone and restore the iCloud backup after an unrelated mistake. Very annoying.

  • Shizapp Interactive

    No offense but cloners shouldn't prosper... If I were ustwo I wouldn't have even taken the job or would have offered other solutions.. Seems like they were trying to do what so many others do trying to cash in on someone elses creativity and they got caught and now they are placing blame when they had rhe moral choice of developing it or not... In light of other recent ustwo press I'm growing more and more tired of their antics.

  • http://twitter.com/anon_a_miss any-mouse

    Ustwo shouldn't bother pulling it, there reputation is already ruined anyway.
    I can't believe these fags were all like " we would never make a freemium game, and we hate cloners"
    Then they freemium a paid game, and release a blatant clone.

    Theyre morally like zynga, but atleast zynga makes huge profits.

  • moo yu

    Die Gute Fabrik's official response is in: http://gutefabrik.com/blog/?p=1718

  • King Kalazmo

    I can't help feel as if everyone's jumping on the bandwagon a bit, it's hardly comparable to Zynga's blatant cloning of Tiny Tower.

    Ustwo are one of the more transparent studios out there, and have made some great work. The game mechanics are uncomfortably similar but I can't believe they would have copied the game out of spite. I don't think we should be too quick to trash them.

    • Shizapp Interactive

      I don't think any cloner does it out of spite... Maybe out of lack of integrity and taking advantage of the lack of laws to prevent it and the ability to make money by piggy-backing an idea off of another successful one. I think those are the motives.

  • http://www.farseergames.com JeffWeber

    Queue Joust-Ville from Zynga in 3...2...1.......

  • http://twitter.com/LavaLevel Eric Kinkead

    So I have to by a PS3 and that weird controller to play now?  I really don't understand.  I am way to old for all of this.

  • Richard Foster

    I honestly don't see the problem. They took an existing game mechanic and made it better and brought it to market. That's what almost EVERY SINGLE game on the App Store is: an iteration, variation, evolution of an existing mechanic. Should SpryFox pull Triple Town because it's a match-three? How many endless runners are there? Or physics based catapult games? Should every platform game since Donkey Kong be pulled? This story is way overblown...

  • http://twitter.com/try2bcool69 Jay G

    I got news for ya'...Johann Sebastian Joust was never destined to become anything at all, and I'll tell you why.  

    Peripherals.  

    Who, in their right mind was ever going to buy a bunch of PSMove controllers, (something that hardly anyone already has, or WiiMotes, which would probably be more readily available, seeing as there are so many collecting dust), and lug around a laptop, and a web cam (or whatever is needed to detect the motion controls), just to have fun for a couple of hours until the laptop runs out of juice?  Not many people.

    Now, Ustwo, on the other hand, took the gameplay concept (which others have stated, is not copyright-able) and put out a game that can be installed on millions of devices that have ALREADY BEEN BOUGHT AND REQUIRE NO OTHER HARDWARE.  Brilliant.

    Saying that this game is a clone is like saying you can't make an endless runner because you are cloning the fact that someone already came up with the concept of 'running' and ' jumping' in real life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.farraro Eric Farraro

    The whole situation is silly.  90% of people posting on this thread clearly don't understand copyright law.  The word 'clone' is thrown around WAY to frequently these days.

    While I didn't play either game, to say Papa Quash was a clone is just silly.  Many successful games on iPhone (Angry Birds and Cannabalt come to mind) are absolutely clones of Flash games that have existed for years.  Furthermore, reimagining the original concept for iPhone does require a lot of creativity, in order to make it fit the platform. It's not as simple as 'porting' the original game.

    I hadn't even heard of JS Joust until this, but the concept does seem fun (if a bit dangerous for your phone).  UsTwo is doing us a service by bringing this game to the platform.

    Go after the guys that rip the binary and re-release it to the App Store, or steal the assets.  UsTwo reimagining a concept game for the iOS platform is perfectly legitimate, and it's a shame they've been forced to pull the game.

    • Shizapp Interactive

      So because cloning is not illegal does that make it right? So in that thought being an adulterer is ok because it is not illegal and many people do it? Thats foolish. You are right, there is a very fine line between originality and cloning but this whole 'copyright' argument is rubbish. You think these people are angry because they 'unlawfully' copied them? No it is about morals and ethics and THAT you can't argue without being a completly ignorant fool.

  • newjorg

    So, to reiterate, a company called Die Gute Fabrik made a game called Johann Sebastian Joust and accuses ustwo of copying it?

    What about the "good factory" taking Johann Sebastian Bach's music and even his name, and using and abusing the great composer in their "game"?

    Oh, but he's been long dead and copyright laws don't apply right? Silly old me to suggest that Die Gute Fabrik isn't original...

    Pathetic.