Llamasoft founder and developer Jeff Minter released TxK, a cracking shmup, for PS Vita last year. It did well, and Minter was planning on bringing it to other platforms including PC. Lamentably, Atari and its lawyers are having none of that, and are accusing Minter of violating the copyright on Atari-published Tempest 2000.
Atari claims that TxK has many similarities with Tempest 2000, including music and game mechanics. Minter says that the publisher has accused him of cashing in on Atari’s reputation, which would have made more sense a few decades ago when it wasn’t churning out remakes.
Here’s the thing, though: Minter is the creator of Tempest 2000.
Minter has listed some of the accusations from Atari (Pastebin link, cheers PC Gamer), which he obviously disagrees with. They include things like the fact that the ship can “jump” and that there’s an AI droid, two things that are pretty par for the course in sci-fi spaceship games.
While Minter calls Atari’s claims “abject bollocks”, the cost of fighting Atari prohibits him from doing so.
“Even just going back and forth a few times with letters responding to their threats ended up running up a couple of grand in legal bills, and there is simply no way on God’s earth I can afford any kind of a legal battle,” he explained.