Pirate’s Gold, a company stole our game!!

A surreal Sunday morning…

This morning, I was taken aback by a message from a former development partner revealing that our unreleased game, Pirate’s Gold, appeared on the Nintendo Switch store! I was stunned. How could this happen? The game’s title graphic, its 2D grid-based puzzle gameplay—everything mirrors our work too closely to be mere happenstance. While “Pirate’s Gold” might be a somewhat common name, the specific combination of the name, game style, and even level designs being replicated is too much to chalk up to coincidence.

I had previously showcased this artwork on my portfolio website, marking the year-long effort Dean and I had dedicated to the project, even though we never launched it due to technical setbacks. It seems someone stumbled upon my artwork online, found inspiration in it, and then proceeded to release their version on both the Switch and Steam. The gameplay was a little different, I can only assume they saw the art, and then filled in their interpretation of it. It’s just so surreal to see it.

Discovering this unleashed a whirlwind of emotions. Admittedly, I had reservations about the artwork back then since it was initially intended for a smaller, windowed interface and had to be re-tooled for being full frame, leading to inconsistencies in the art quality. Though we shelved the project, part of me now wishes we had stuck to our guns and fully refined it, and then put it out. Dean and I explored other prototypes afterwards, yet nothing came to fruition.

Working with Dean was a lot of fun. Despite never meeting in person, our frequent communications via text, calls, and Facebook I feel forged a kind of kindship between us. He plans to consult with a friend who is an attorney to see what our options might be, though I’m uncertain what, if any, steps we should take. It’s been ages since I even thought about this project, and to have it resurface in such a violating manner was the last thing I expected to confront today. Nonetheless, reconnecting with Dean after so long was a silver lining in this bizarre situation…Stay tuned.