Independent one-man studio Ziggy, helmed by developer Jacob Shaw, has been slapped with a cease-and-desist order by furniture store IKEA over his upcoming game, The Store Is Closed. IKEA claims the haunted store featured in the horror adventure bears strong similarities with real-life IKEA locations, and must be changed within the next 10 days to comply with the order.
According to the letter, viewed by Kotaku, Shaw has been ordered to change the game and ‘remove all indicia [distinguishing marks] associated with the famous IKEA stores.’ This means Shaw can no longer use the blue-and-yellow colour scheme for his in-game store, STYR, and must change staff uniforms, signs planted in-game, and a range of other essential features.
‘Your game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical striped shirts identical to those worn by IKEA personnel, a grey path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage,’ the letter reportedly goes on to specify.
‘All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an IKEA store.’
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The company is demanding changes are made immediately, with Shaw now forced to abandon plans to prepare an update for alpha testers on Kickstarter, and instead focus on ‘desperately’ revamping the look and feel of his game to comply with IKEA’s orders. The short time frame for completion of this task feels fairly unreasonable – but Shaw has reportedly agreed to the strict conditions in correspondence with IKEA.
The company has stated that can Shaw can ‘easily make changes to avoid these problems’ as the game isn’t planned to launch until 2024.
While Shaw sought legal advice to help deal with the matter, he told Kotaku he’d likely have to give up and comply, due to the costs associated with a legal challenge – not to mention the time it would waste with his current deadline.
The Store Is Closed, which recently launched on Kickstarter and has since gained AU $97,924 in revenue, is an independently developed game with minimal backing. A legal threat from a company like IKEA threatens Shaw’s financial stability, leaving him no choice in the matter.
Going forward, The Store Is Closed, will likely look very different. An influx of support on Kickstarter since Kotaku reported the cease-and-desist will hopefully aid Shaw in developing a new version of the upcoming title.