Dutch developer Vlambeer has told Pocket Gamer that it intends to fight SkyFar - an iOS dogfighting game that looks extremely similar to the Ridiculous Fishing developers's upcoming Vita game, Luftrausers.
"We simply can't deal with the stress of another cloned game," explains Rami Ismail, Vlambeer's business and development.
"We've gotten in touch with Apple and Google to see if there is a way for for the issue to be resolved without us getting involved in yet another clone war."
The Clone Wars
As we said before, all of Vlambeer's major releases have been copied before release. Angry Mob's Muffin Knight bore an uncanny resemblance to Vlambeer's Super Crate Box, and Gamenauts ripped off Ridiculous Fishing with Ninja Fishing.
"We obviously endured a bit of a scare when news arrived of Luftrausers being cloned and released ahead of our own release schedule by another developer," Ismail explains.
"This time, however, it's not ;just' the idea of the game that has been cloned, but also the visual style. This gives us much more room to fight the whole thing, and we fully intend to."
As IP lawyer Alex Tutty explained in our massive 2011 feature on clones, a game's visual appearance are automatically protected by copyright upon release, and would be seen by a court as an artistic work, like a painting or photo.
So, in essence, it's easier to fight the plagiarism of a game's look than its design or mechanics.
SkyFar's developer got in touch with Ismail and said - in broken English - that the gameplay indicated in the screenshots and YouTube videos "is not there in game. We just done those screnshots [sic] for public attraction".
But that's not true. Pocket Gamer purchased the game, and it is indeed a silhouette dogfighting game (with a gruesome dubstep soundtrack).
Ismail says, "we're more than happy to see games inspired by our works and we encourage anyone to practice game design and development by recreating personal favourites - but the clones of both Ridiculous Fishing and Luftrausers take 'inspiration' a step too far and into the marketplace."
"Ultimately, we refuse to accept this as a part of our industry. We believe that showing our games to our fans early is a better way of developing Vlambeer games than keeping secrets and just dropping the final result on people when it's done."
Ismail reiterates that Luftrausers is almost certainly not coming to mobile - "we just can't find a way to make it work as well as it should on touchscreen devices" - but handheld gamers will get to play it on PS Vita (as well as PC, Mac, Linux, and Playstation 3).
The game is on schedule to be released later this spring
Thanking fans, friends, and the press for support, Ismail said, "we hope this will be the last time we have to deal with this, but we're encouraged to know that if it's not, we won't be alone."