An artist and UI designer by the name of Matthew Cox claims Candy Crush developer King paid another developer in 2009 to clone his game wholesale after contract discussions fell through.
According to a blog post written by Cox, he backed out of contract negotiations with King after another publisher, Max Games, gave him a better offer for the 2009 game Scamperghost. King then reportedly hired another developer, EpicShadow, to clone Cox's game, calling it Pac-Avoid and almost beating Cox to release.
Cox brought these allegations to light now because of the news this week that King has trademarked the word "candy" and is going after other developers who use "candy" in the names of their games.
"It's ironic that King.com is concerned about intellectual property when they so blatantly copied our game in late 2009," Cox writes.
"Scamperghost isn't the most original game in the world. It's obviously inspired by Pac-Man but we at least took it in an original direction by making it a mouse avoider with no walls. King.com, however, showed no respect for other people's intellectual property when they made a direct, blatant clone of Scamperghost. Now they've trademarked 'Candy' and are using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?"
Cox also published what he claims are emails between himself and King executive Lars Jörnow, as well as an exchange between himself and Matt Porter of EpicShadow, supposedly showing that King hired EpicShadow expressly to copy Scamperghost.
I've reached out to King for a comment and will update this article if I hear back.