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J.S. Joust clone removed from App Store, dev 'never gave permission'

UK developer Ustwo has agreed to pull its J.S. Joust copycat app from the iTunes App Store after taking heat earlier this week. [UPDATE: Joust dev details his correspondence with Sam Pepper.]

May 23, 2012

2 Min Read

Author: by Tom Curtis, Mike Rose

[UPDATE: Douglas Wilson of Die Gute Fabrik has contacted Gamasutra, saying, "Sam Pepper did email me back in January. However, I never gave him "permission" to develop Papa Quash." "In his emails, he told me about his general plans to make a motion control game, which he indicated was different from J.S. Joust. He never provided a well-formulated game/design, and as such, there simply was nothing to "approve." I did tell him that, as long as he was making a different game, I didn't foresee any issues. I also encouraged him to explore the landscape of motion control game design in general." "Further, I never requested Ustwo to pull the game. I spoke with Steve Bittan from Ustwo last night, and I made it clear that the determination was theirs (and potentially Sam Pepper's) to make as to whether the game is "different" enough (separate from legal obligations regarding copyrights, trademarks, patents, and other intellectual property rights). I don't harbor any animosity towards Ustwo or Sam Pepper." Wilson has also made a blog post on the Die Gute Fabrik website regarding the cloning allegations, and where development is up to with J.S. Joust.] After taking heat earlier this week for cloning Die Gute Fabrik's PlayStation-move based Johann Sebastian Joust, UK developer Ustwo has agreed to pull its copycat app from the iTunes App Store. Ustwo's game, Papa Quash, used a similar design as the indie darling Johann Sebastian Joust, but traded that game's PlayStation Move controllers for iOS devices. Audiences quickly noted the similarities and called the studio out for allegedly stealing Die Gute Fabrik's design. According to mobile app blog The Appside, Ustwo has since spoken to Die Gute Fabrik's Douglas Wilson, and has agreed to remove the app altogether. "We are pulling the app ASAP," Ustwo's Steve Bittan said. When the controversy over Papa Quash emerged earlier this week, Bittan told Gamasutra that the game's design was largely the work of Sam Pepper, a former Big Brother UK contestant who commissioned the game from Ustwo. "We made the app for Sam Pepper. It's his app. Not ours," said Bittan at the time. "It's not an Ustwo app. It's a Sam Pepper app." Bittan said that Pepper had contacted Die Gute Fabrik for permission to make the game. Pepper allegedly told Ustwo he got the go-ahead, and the studio then began work on the game. The Johann Sebastian Joust creators, however, denied giving such permission, noting on Twitter, "Just to be clear, we have never and would never approve, give permission, or encourage anyone to clone of any of our games." As of this writing, Papa Quash is not available on the U.S. App Store.

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