Earlier this month, Google had started the closed beta for its augmented reality game - Ingress. According to Indie Statik, not all is well in the location-based multiplayer game's future, as Google has been accused of stealing the idea from a smaller game developed by an indie studio.
The idea for the game is extremely similar to Shadow Cities, in which two sides fight each other through their phones. Both games give you the ability to find threats and work with whoever is nearby that may be on your side.
According to Jenni Saarinen, who currently works as a 3D artist at EA Maxis but also supplied the assets and graphics for Shadow Cities, "I am so mad right now." She continues, “Google has really outrageously plagiarized GA’s groundbreaking location game, changed faction names around and released it with a huge marketing budget. The entire mechanic is stolen from SC. The visual style is stolen from SC. Even the trailer is copied directly from SC’s. They had to go and rip off a small startup who worked their asses off with a tiny budget and a dream wanting to build something new and fresh.”
Google has been accused of stealing the idea from Shadow Cities
The games even have similar story structure. Here is the story of Ingress according to its description: "A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us." Players will play as either the Enlightened or the Resistance. The Enlightened want to embrace the power that can be obtained from the energy. The Resistance, on the other hand, aim to defend and protect what's left of our humanity.
Shadow Cities on the other hand has you play a mage in one of two warring factions. You must gather power and co-operate with nearby allies to complete weekly campaigns, which in turn decide which faction is the winner for the week.
Ingress seems to be going for a dystopian cyberpunk theme with an ancient war between hidden factions thrown in for good measure. The game will have you join one of the two factions - the Resistance or the Enlightened - and go to various landmarks to complete objectives. The game also seems to be completely online with a social aspect, much like a massively multiplayer online game. The game allows you to track the progress of other players from around the world and communicate with them using an Intelligence app. According to the description of the game, players will need to work together to complete objectives. Cooperation across neighbourhoods, cities, and countries is required to achieve victory.
While Ingress is only available on Android in its closed beta, Google may release the game on other platforms, thus getting a true massively multiplayer augmented reality game. Shadow Cities, on the other hand, is only available on iOS devices.