The store is closed (Opens in a new tab) is a survival game in development with a fun premise: you’re trapped inside an “infinite furniture store”, mutant workers are trying to kill you, and the only way to stay alive is to explore the corridors and use the furniture. craft weapons and fortifications. You’re not alone in that description at Ikea, the famous Swedish purveyor of build-your-own furniture and meatballs: In fact, founder Jacob Shaw referred to it as an “infinite Ikea game” on Reddit. (Opens in a new tab)like some of the sites and streamers reporting on the project.
Unfortunately for Shaw, the project was brought to the attention of the real Ikea, whose legal representatives have sent him a letter demanding that he change his game, and threatening to sue if he doesn’t.
“Our client has learned that you are developing a video game called The Store is Closed, which uses imagery associated with the famous Ikea stores without our client’s permission,” Shaw said in the letter shared with PC Gamer.
“Your game uses a blue and yellow sign in the store with a Scandinavian name, a building that looks like a blue box, yellow shirts with vertical stripes worn by Ikea employees, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like Ikea furniture, and product signage, Ikea signage. All of the above immediately suggest that the game takes place in an Ikea store.”
The letter also notes that multiple press reports about the project “make an explicit connection to Ikea,” as do many of the comments made by readers. And you can certainly understand why: there’s no mistaking the Ikea-inspired touches seen in the announcement trailer, the yellow Styr sign on the blue building or the ‘Swedish meat’ poster on the cafe wall.
The good news for Shaw is that Ikea’s lawyers aren’t asking to stop the project, just to change it so it doesn’t look like, “or suggest,” an Ikea store. “You can easily make changes to your game to avoid these issues, especially since you don’t plan to release the game until 2024,” the letter says.
The bad news is that it’s not entirely clear how to do that. Some aspects of the project, like the blue and yellow colors, seem to be inspired by Ikea, but it doesn’t know what to do with “furniture that looks like Ikea furniture”, for example.
“I bought generic packages of furniture assets to make this game,” Shaw told Kotaku (Opens in a new tab). “I don’t know what that means.”
Speaking to PC Gamer, Shaw said he will comply with the demands because he “prefers not to get sued,” but confirmed his uncertainty about exactly what Ikea will satisfy: “Their requests are a little vague. It looks like Ikea furniture, which is not particularly accurate.”
For now his solution is to “get rid of basically anything blue or yellow and add weird reds everywhere.” “By removing all the Scandinavian furniture, changing all the posters, probably remove the path [from the floor].”
As for the furniture, he said that some of the items in the furniture packages he bought have Scandinavian names, so he will start removing them.
Shaw shared a couple of images showing a quick look at the potential new look:
But even if it is able to change the game to Ikea’s liking, the legal threat has left it with other concerns. “It makes me very nervous to change the color scheme to something else,” he said. “What if Target sues me for using red?”
Despite this surprise legal headache, Shaw is moving forward with development on The Store is Closed, even as his plan for the final week of his ongoing (and wildly successful) Kickstarter campaign. (Opens in a new tab) has changed: instead of a new game update in preparation for alpha testing, he is working on a visual overhaul. And it shouldn’t make “a big difference” to the overall development schedule, he said: “Just more stress.”