The Swedish furniture store IKEA has sent indie game developer Jacob Shaw a cease and desist letter for his title, “The Store Is Closed.” Shaw, who goes by the studio name Ziggy, is currently trying to fund the project on Kickstarter.
“The Store Is Closed” is billed as a survival horror game where the player is trapped inside a furniture store, that may or may not be based on IKEA. You must use everything at your disposal to hide from and battle against the mutant staff who love to attack at night. But the staff is nothing compared to “The Managers” you will encounter deeper into the building. Players can encounter this chain store from hell solo or with friends. It also seems to have an SCP tie-in under creative commons licensing.
But the trouble comes in with the overall appearance of the store you are trapped in. While there is no direct reference to IKEA, the retailer feels the game’s location is infringing on their trademark. The fictional furniture store in the game is STYR, which is a Scandinavian name, similar to the Swedish meatball peddlers.
The letter also includes references to the blue and yellow signage, the grey path on the floor, and some furniture. STYR’s mutant employees also sport yellow vertical striped shirts, similar to those worn by IKEA staffers. And while not directly referenced in the letter, we’d like to point out that the game’s trailer harps on the store being infinite. Having seemingly infinite and complicated-to-navigate stores is a common pop culture joke at IKEA’s expense.
“All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an Ikea store,” the C&D alleges. But Shaw claims he simply bought “a generic furniture asset pack” that can be used in any video game. Which is somewhat believable considering a lot of furniture looks like IKEA furniture. We’d also like to note their instructions look nothing like IKEA’s.
“You can of course easily make a video game set in a furniture store that does not look like, or suggest, an IKEA store,” the letter notes. “You can easily make changes to your game to avoid these problems, especially since you do not plan to release the game until 2024.”
“I was going to spend the last week of my Kickstarter preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” Shaw told Kotaku. “But now I’ve got to desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued.” While still only a trailer “The Store Is Closed” is still up on both Steam and Kickstarter. So we hope that means Shaw believes he can complete the changes in the given time frame.