The Store is Closed, a surreal horror game about being stuck inside an infinite furniture shop populated by bloodthirsty monsters, has been hit with legal action from IKEA due to its similarity to the Swedish store.
Developer Zippy was inspired by a story from the SCP Foundation titled SCP-3008, describing a strange energy that is concentrated inside a “large retail unit previously owned by and branded as IKEA.” Those who enter the store have no inclination to believe anything is out of the ordinary until they try to leave, then they can’t. Oh, and there are humanoid “employees” that stalk the corridors and kill the accidental trespassers who are still inside the shop after it’s closed.
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While SCP-3008 refers to IKEA, Zippy’s The Store is Closed does not. The store in its title is called “STYR,” the Swedish word for “control,” and as Kotaku points out, the building itself and the blue and yellow branding is only seen once on the menu screen for the game. All of the furniture is sourced from generic furniture asset packs, continued Zippy.
It’s still too close for comfort for the Swedish store and lawyers from Fross Zelnick have asked the developer to remove all plausible references to IKEA within 10 days of receiving their letter.
“Your game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical striped shirts identical to those worn by IKEA personnel, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage. All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an IKEA store,” read the request. “Further, numerous comments by readers of these stories make an association with IKEA stores.”
As such, the lawyers have said that The Store is Closed is in violation of “unauthorized use of the IKEA indicia” and “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.”
“I was going to spend the last week of my Kickstarter preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” continued the developer in an interview with Kotaku, and that Kickstarter had raised over $49,000 for the game’s development. “But now I’ve got to desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued.”