J.S. Joust developers Die Gute Fabrik have posted a statement about the recent cloning controversey that in which they've recently been embroiled.
That statement can be read in full over at the Die Gute Fabrik blog, where they make clear both that they have never given anyone permission to clone one of their games, nor have they requested that any games be pulled from sale. (The clone in question, Papa Quash, was pulled from the app store by its publisher ustwo.)
From the Die Gute Fabrik statement:
As for our opinion on whether specific games are "clones" of J.S. Joust — we believe that it's more productive to focus on making the best games possible, and giving them the unique "feel" that only we can provide. That said, we do hope the community will continue to push back against cloning as a general development practice. We encourage everyone to help build awareness about these issues. Even a minimalistic game like J.S. Joust has a lot of thought and hard work behind it! The game's design rests upon many hard-earned lessons working on motion control games over the years.
J.S. Joust creator Doug Wilson emailed Kotaku to add a couple specific clarifications about Papa Quash specifically. (That's Wilson in the image up top, by the way, biting his tongue while focusing on a game of Joust.) From that email:
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.