Veteran Game Designer Canceling Ports After Atari Legal Challenge

Illustration for article titled Veteran Game Designer Canceling Ports After Atari Legal Challenge

If you were looking forward to playing Jeff Minter's Tempest-inspired TxK on a platform besides Vita, keep waiting. For now, Minter is relenting to Atari's demands.

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Minter revealed yesterday that Atari had been hassling him about TxK, claiming the Tempest 2000 designer was infringing on Atari's copyrights with TxK. When the news spread, the two went back-and-forth through various public statements. It didn't paint a pretty picture, and suggested Minter and Atari weren't merely a few emails away from coming up with a deal.

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While it's possible things could change, Minter told me today he's backing off any future ports. Previously, Minter had been planning versions of TxK for PC, PlayStation 4, Android, and VR.

"I don't think there's much left to be done, given that I cannot release the ports," he said over email. "TxK on the Vita has run its course and only a trickle comes in per month, not really worth changing the status quo there really."

Minter said TxK on Vita only earns him a few dollars every month right now.

"There's no money left from its earnings for 'Atari' to try to take; that got used up during the time it took to make the ports," he said. "In fact we are now running on money borrowed against the release of one of the ports that we will have somehow to pay back out of any future project's earnings."

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It's possible Atari could come after the one version of TxK that's out there, and bring TxK down from PlayStation Network. While Minter doesn't expect that to happen, he didn't rule it out.

"Common sense doesn't seem to have played much of a part in their actions thus far," he said.

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Since issuing an initial public statement, Atari has not responded to my requests for comment.

For now, Minter has to look beyond TxK. Unless things change, the project is now dead.

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"Atari through their actions have damaged us quite enough already, far more than they claim we damaged them," he said. "I expect them to leave us the hell alone now."

You can reach the author of this post at patrick.klepek@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.

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DISCUSSION

Greg the Mad

Does that actually have legal bases?

Those two games are quite similar, I give them that, but they are completely different games that share no code at all. Are you telling me that I could just create some random game, and I can later cockblock any game that is remotely similar?! Even if those games come out a decade later, where I already get no money from the original anymore?!

I'm sorry, but that's a clear case where the copyright holder is at the wrong, no matter how the actual legal situation is. The copyright law has to change! All of them.

Atari is quite an asshole for claiming that right. Are they actually still a gaming company, or just a bunch of copyright-trolls?