Jeff Minter furious about “Atari” blocking TxK

Legendary dev Jeff Minter furious about "Atari" blocking TxK

Legendary developer Jeff Minter, who made his name with neon-infused video games Tempest 2000 and Attack of the Mutant Camels, has taken to Twitter to express his fury over Atari’s attempt to block the home console release of his latest game TxK.

The game, which originally launched on PSN for PlayStation Vita last year and soon gathered both critical and player acclaim, was due to be released on home consoles this year. But those plans are now on indefinite hold after the newly-resurrected Atari has moved to block its release via a series of legal threats – despite the developer’s pivotal role in the Tempest franchise.

Minter, who is known for being somewhat eccentric (and for his love of llamas), said that he felt blessed to have been able to work for the publisher during their heyday, but that he was “beyond disgusted” that the newly-resurrected publisher had moved to block attempts to release his Tempest-inspired game, TxK on home consoles, despite the developer’s long history with the series. To this day, Tempest 2000 – which Minter is most famous for – is regarded by many as one of the definitive games of Atari’s history. That the publisher is now threatening Minter after he brought them such success hasn’t exactly gone down well with the notoriously outspoken developer.

The bearded indie legend has spent the last day venting his fury on social media network Twitter, and both fans and developers have expressed their support for him.

Minter didn’t stop with his initial tweet, however. The last day has seen him continuing to vent his fury at Atari, who he has labelled as “bullies”, accused them of relegating his role in the popularity of Tempest to “a bit part”, and discussed some of the alleged accusations and demands made by Atari’s lawyers.

 Atari responded to the situation by saying they are “surprised and dismayed” at TxK‘s similarities to Tempest, asserting their ownership of a game which Minter himself helped to popularize. That statement, as expected, didn’t go down well either:

“Atari values and protects its intellectual property and expects others to respect its copyrights and trademarks,” a spokeperson for Atari said about the situation in a statement. “When Llamasoft launched TxK in early 2014, Atari was surprised and dismayed by the very close similarities between TxK and the Tempest franchise. Atari was not alone in noticing the incredible likeness between the titles. Several major gaming outlets also remarked at the similarity of features and overall appearance of TxK to Tempest; one stated of TxK, ‘This is essentially Tempest.’ There is no lawsuit. Atari has been in continuous contact with the developer since the game launched in hopes that the matter would be resolved.”

Opinion: That Atari can be so short-sighted about Minter’s contribution to the Tempest franchise is a source of deep concern, and also shows that the publisher isn’t concerned with ensuring that developers are recognized for their contributions.

This situation also shows that the modern Atari – which bears little relation to the original publisher – is more concerned with making money and being a copyright troll than it is with actually contributing to the game industry.

If Atari really wants to cement a place in the modern game industry, it needs to put up or shut up. Threatening developers with legal demands – especially those who contributed to the publisher’s success – and developing half-assed “sequels” to beloved franchises simply won’t cut the mustard.

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan

Founder, Editor in Chief
When Dale isn't crying over his keyboard about his never-ending workload, he's playing games - lots of them. Dale has a particular love for RPGs, Roguelikes and Metroidvanias.
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