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IKEA threatens to sue an indie developer over a horror survival game set in a furniture store

IKEA threatens to sue an indie developer over a horror survival game set in a furniture store

The horror game is set in a store that bears a resemblance to IKEA

An indie game developer is facing a lawsuit by Swedish homeware brand IKEA over their horror survival game that is set in a furniture shop.

IKEA has taken umbrage with the creator of This Store is Closed, Jacob Shaw, because of alleged similarities between the game and its stores.

The short story is set in a store that appears similar to IKEA on the outside, but inside there is a zombie maze from which there is no escape.

However, Shaw - who is from the UK - has insisted that the game is inspired by a piece of fiction and not IKEA, which set up its first UK store back in 1987, Notebookcheck reports.

But despite his denial of the similarity, the trailer for the game opens by showing the outside of a store, named STYR, and it features IKEA's famous dark blue and yellow branding.

While the inside of the store seems generic, another similarity between the game and IKEA comes in the form of its monster employees, who are dressed in outfits that are not a world away from those of IKEA employees.

Shaw received a letter from IKEA's lawyers that noted there is a 'a grey path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage'.

The monsters in the game have been compared to IKEA employees.
YouTube/Ziggy Game Dev

According to NME, Shaw has been told that his "unauthorised use of the IKEA indicia constitutes unfair competition and false advertising under Sections 43(a) of the U.S. Trademark Act, 15 U.S. C § 1125(a), and state unfair competition and false advertising laws."

The developer has now responded to the request from the furniture store and has said that he will amend the game, which is available to pre-order on Kickstarter, to reduce the similarities.

The inspiration for the game is a horror short story, SCP-3008, which also has a number of similarities to IKEA.

However, while it has freely existed for people to read online for years, it has never been subject to a lawsuit because it is not a monetizable product, unlike the game.

IKEA told Kotaku that while they were flattered that the game had inspired creativity, they did not want the company's branding associated with the product.

They said in a statement: "While we think it's flattering that others are inspired by the IKEA brand, we must be diligent to ensure that the IKEA trademarks and trade dress are not misapplied.

Jacob Shaw has said he will amend the game following IKEA's request.

"Various elements of the video game currently correspond in appearance with the IKEA brand features.

"We've reached out to the creator of the video and asked them to make changes to those elements to ensure that this is no longer the case. They expressed that they understand our request and agreed to make those changes.

"This should all be well in time for the expected 2024 launch of the game."

UNILAD has reached out to Jacob Shaw for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Jacob Shaw/Kickstarter

Topics: News, Technology