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Zynga tries its hand at Pokemon, Rage of Bahamut
Zynga tries its hand at  Pokemon, Rage of Bahamut
September 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose

September 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    17 comments
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



Newsbrief: Social games giant Zynga has earned itself quite the reputation as a copycat development over the years, and its latest release for smartphones isn't doing anything to quell that notoriety.

Montopia is a Japanese monster battle, now translated into English, that plays like a cross between Pokemon and recent card collecting games like the popular Rage of Bahamut.

Players collect monsters and items, fuse the monsters together to build as powerful a team as possible, then put the creatures into battle with other players. While the visuals, creature types and certain gameplay elements may echo elements from Pokemon, the action itself is far more comparable with Rage of Bahamut, as battles play out automatically.

Zynga got itself into trouble recently over copycat claims, as Electronic Arts filed a copyright infringement suit against the company following the launch of its The Ville Facebook game.


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Comments


Eric McVinney
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You know, it was a matter of time before this would happen and it did. And I'm not surprised at all by this move. Zynga will be mainly known as "That company that is devoid of creativity and cesspool of stagnate progression."

Amanda Lee Matthews
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Collecting/gathering monsters and battling with them was not original when Pokemon first did it. Pokemon was just the first to become majorly popular worldwide.

Tom Baird
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As soon as a game is described as 'a cross between' I don't think it's legitimate to start crying copycat. It's no longer a brainless clone, and is a merging of multiple influences, like every other creative work out there.

Zynga is bad for copying, but in this case I feel they are being wrongly accused.

Eric McVinney
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When you hear the word "Montopia," what game comes to mind? Most likely "Pokemon" because of the "mon" part :| Nit picking? Probably, but rightfully so. And because Pokemon was the first to become popular world wide has nothing to do with it being cloned, it's the fact that it's ZYNGA that we're dealing and being known for such stunts in the past.

In any case, if the gameplay and mechanics differ greatly from Pokemon and RoB, then there isn't going to be that much of an issue.

Tom Baird
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You don't think maybe it has to do with the fact that both involve MONsters? Should we accuse MONsanto of copying Pokemon's name too? What about MONster Hunter? MONster Rancher? Maybe Pokemon was trying to rip off POKEr, only with MONsters.

Zynga has a nasty past with cloning, but this is already described as a combination of 2 different games. Do we call out Terreria for mixing Minecraft and Ghosts and Goblins? The fact that it has more than a singular influence makes it not a clone by definition. The more you call wolf on every little thing, the less anyone will care when it turns out to be the case.

Eric McVinney
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Nice going overboard there, Tom. I pretty much get the point, but I'll stick with my side, thank you. And looks like you didn't read the rest of my post, as well. Not surprising.

Tom Baird
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You are accusing Zynga of sharing a syllable with one of it's influences. Maybe their lawyers should have done a full syllable check on related games? It's not even using the same word, it's not a homonym, it doesn't rhyme, it doesn't sound remotely similar, just three letters, that are in a different place in the word. The accusation is ridiculous, and only being forwarded as an attempt to slam a company that is not well-liked, and to make it sound like they are doing some bad, when you have no clue. My comparisons were taking the exact same comparison you made, and applying it to others in the same fashion. Regardless of history, don't go accusing people of things unless you have even the most remote shred that they did something wrong. I read the rest of your post, but think you are holding them to a ridiculous standard.

How on earth could you manage to clone two different games at the same time? The creative process itself is looking at different ideas and concepts and trying to see how they can fit together in as-of-yet undiscovered ways. As soon as more than one inspiring game is mentioned, it cannot possibly be a clone. It's more like a child (2 parents and all).

You say Gameplay and Mechanics would need to differ greatly from both Pokemon and RoB, but there are plenty of Card games like RoB, and as mentioned above Pokemon wasn't the first monster collecting game. Why does Zynga need to be held to a standard that isn't even applied to it's own inspirations?

Eric McVinney
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Yep, pretty much holding them to a ridiculous standard based on their slightly ridiculous past. I'll change my mind when I see more of what they have to offer, though. If they're truly going for something "original" then good for them. Should be more of that, in fact.

Ramin Shokrizade
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I think that anything that Zynga puts out that is less than a 90% clone is a huge step forward for this company. Maybe we should give them some Kudos and encourage them to aim for less than 70% next time.

Mark Sivak
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The real question is why is this a new brief and not an opinion piece? It is clearly biased from the title and first sentence.

Rick Teaves
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This isn't even an opinion piece - its just another half-assed gamasutra article designed to inflame trolls and promote shares.

Gamasutra seems to dislike Zynga an awful lot - but they sure do need them as troll bait.

Dave Troyer
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@Mark - I agree with you. This does seem more opinion than news brief, but it is good to bring to light some interesting things that could potentially grow into more. I mean, Zynga does have a tarnished reputation for copying IP's and has been in and out of court quite a bit lately so it's no surprise to see more attention being paid to their new products and who or what they could be influenced by.

Either way, I find it interesting.

@Rick - I don't always agree with everything I read here on Gamasutra, but do we really need to be so hostile? Yeah, there may be some bias, but Zynga's practices, be they legal or not, has raised eyebrows and law-suits in the industry, bringing more attention to their (Zynga) actions.

Mark Sivak
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@Dave - I am not saying that the release of this game isn't an interesting topic worthy of posting to Gamasutra and discussion. I am saying that Gamasutra diminishes itself by editorializing the news.

Zynga may have a reputation for misdeeds but look at the title of this article, it accuses Zynga of Earning that reputation without any evidence from this game. Hell this is a game release news brief and the name of the game doesn't appear in the title of the article or the first sentence.

Mike Rose you should be ashamed.

Brian Tsukerman
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In truth, I'm happy this is being made simply because it's the type of game that really would benefit from a mobile/social/casual setting. Furthermore, though there is clearly still room for more ethical creativity from Zynga, this appears to be more an example of adaptation than it is of cloning.

Clearly, Pokemon isn't about to be licensed for anything without a Nintendo logo on it, so regardless of what percentage of it can be considered duplicated, this is a game being made for a market that currently has few if any games of the type. Sure, I may already see a palette-swapped Charmander in the banner up top, but depending on how they develop the game's mythos and systems, it could be an entirely legitimate entry in the monster collecting genre.

Even so, I'll be keeping an eye out. Zynga earned it's bad publicity for obvious reasons, and as such must be scrutinized in order to ensure that these selfsame tactics are no longer employed to their benefit.

Bruno Patatas
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1. Montopia (developed by Zynga Japan), has been available in Japan since February! Well done Gamasutra, in bringing us "news".

2. If you played the game, you would see that Montopia has nothing to do in terms of gameplay with Pokemon.

3. Pokemon was NOT the first monster hunting/battling/collecting game.

I want to continue loving you Gamasutra, but in this case, shame on you! It's a bad sign when i'm starting to go more frequently to Kotaku to read real game news...

Cordero W
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I can't stop laughing.

Anthony Giallourakis
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Like in the soft drink business, there are only so many categories and flavors, so sooner or later, a large developer/publisher like Zynga is going to create a game that looks a lot like what is already out there. In the soft drink industry, copying a flavor for instance happens all the time. The reality is this, unless the new brand is substantially better, just copying another flavor isn't enough. The same holds true with video games.

If Montopia is substantially better, in game play, graphics, story line, etc. then let them bring it on. That would be an amazing feat and Zynga would deserve to make some coin from its hard work. If on the other hand, this is just a lame knock off, players will know that, and the game will be rejected as such.

Poker anyone?


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