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An indie developer making a horror game set in an “infinite furniture store” has been sent a cease-and-desist letter by Ikea’s lawyers.
Ziggy, a one-man studio consisting of developer Jacob Shaw, has been told by Ikea that the shop in The Store is Closed is too similar to the Swedish firm’s real-life furniture stores.
According to the letter, which has been read and verified by Kotaku, Shaw was given 10 days to “change the game and remove all indicia associated with the famous Ikea stores”.
The game currently has a Kickstarter campaign, which has raised £53,000 – more than its £10,000 goal – with three days remaining.
The letter provided Shaw with a list of what it considers aspects that infringe on Ikea’s branding.
“Your game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical stiped shirts identical to those worn by Ikea personnel, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like Ikea furniture, and product signage that looks like Ikea signage,” it reads.
“All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an Ikea store.”
In an interview with Kotaku, Shaw disputed claims that the furniture in the game “looks like Ikea furniture”.
“I bought generic furniture asset packs to make this game,” he claimed. “I don’t know what that means.”
The lawyers’ letter tells Shaw: “You can of course easily make a video game set in a furniture store that does not look like, or suggest, an IKEA store.” It adds: “You can easily make changes to your game to avoid these problems, especially since you do not plan to release the game until 2024.”
However, it also gives Shaw just “ten working days of the date of this letter” to make all its proposed changes.
Shaw said he was seeking legal advice but will likely have to give up, due to potential legal costs.
“I was going to spend the last week of my Kickstarter preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” he explained, “but now I’ve got to desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued.”