Recent digital release How To Survive is not a rip-off of indie title Roam, publisher 505 Games has stated.
Roam’s lead creator Ryan Sharr took to Kickstarter yesterday to accuse the company of stealing ideas from his top-down zombie shooter.
“I am not foolish. There are tons of zombie games out on the market and a lot borrow ideas from each other,” Sharr stated before going on to publish an email he received from 505 in January showing potential interest in publishing Roam. “Until I saw the original email that 505 had sent I thought this could just be another coincidence. It is not a coincidence.
“This particular theft is blatant and 505 Games took advantage of the situation knowing full well what they were doing. It is rare that a company will contact an indie developer to offer a publishing deal and when it’s refused hire another company to deliberately rip off the game idea and design to the core.
“Due to the nature of Kickstarter I had to post all of Roam’s design ideas online to get funded. I threw everything I had into this. I put everything on the line for this project and took a huge risk. I moved across the country for this game. My partner is at risk. It isn’t fair that 505 Games thinks they can do this. They shouldn’t get to reap the rewards off of my risk.”
505, however, completely rejects any accusations that it copied the game. In fact, a video of How To Survive was posted way back in January 2012 – a year before the approach was made for Roam.
“We're disappointed to hear of this comment by the developer of Roam,” a 505 spokesperson told Develop. “How To Survive has been in development for over two years [under the] codename ‘Monster Island.
“We deeply regret such statements that question Eko Software’s work and feel we need to protect their honest labour to minimise the negative effects irresponsible comments are having on the game.”
UPDATE: Sharr has now withdrawn his accusations and apologised to 505 Games.
“So, after this thing has blown up so big it’s been brought to my attention that on a French website How to Survive had existed under a different name, Monster Island. A title being developed in France. 505 games picked up Monster Island and renamed it to How to Survive,” he wrote.
“I scoured the net to find the development history behind How to Survive and I couldn’t find anything of it besides it being announced by 505 out of the blue in May, months after our Kickstarter campaign had ended. I don't speak French, but I did try my best to do my homework before posting a statement.
“I don’t think anyone else would have reacted any differently about something they are so passionate about given the circumstances. I apologize to 505 and Ekosoft for causing a scene. I've put so much of my life the last year and a half into making this game so it was frustrating to think someone could have just swept in a taken it, but that wasn’t the case.
“This incident is personally the craziest coincidence I have ever experienced. It was my mistake by making the Kickstarter post not private, and it was my mistake to post something like this on the internet not thinking about the impact of viral media. Hopefully everyone can move on from this.”