Update: After being engulfed in an Elden Ring animation imitation scandal, three-person team Archangel Studios has released a statement explaining how Bleak Faith: Forsaken ended up with identical assets to FromSoftware's hit open world RPG. Effectively, it explained that 10 per cent of the game's development was outsourced to Epic Marketplace assets, and it bought the packs in good faith. Since escalating the issue to Epic Games, it received the following response:
Pursuant to the Marketplace Distribution Agreement, each Marketplace seller represents and warrants to Epic that they have appropriate rights to upload their content. As with any store that hosts third-party content, however, Epic is not in a position to independently verify such rights, and Epic makes no such guarantee to purchasers of the content.
The assets have since been removed from Epic Marketplace, and Archangel Studios is committed to replacing them all in the game. The team explained in a statement:
[The response from Epic] is not satisfactory for us and so we have taken the decision to replace the assets purchased from the store over the next several days. Some changes we included in the recent patches, and more are coming in the next few days. Certainly this has been a huge lesson for us and hopefully other indie creators out there too that assets on these storefronts seemingly cannot be purchased in good faith.
Original Article: Plenty of games lift ideas and concepts from FromSoftware's revolutionary gameplay formula, popularised by Dark Souls back in 2011. This is so common, in fact, that an entire cottage genre of "Soulslike" games now exists. Bleak Faith: Forsaken, a Soulslike game released on 10th March, has allegedly taken things one step further, with its developer being accused of "stealing" animations directly from Elden Ring.
Dark Souls modding tools developer Meowmaritus called the title out on Twitter, showing off some pretty damning evidence and, unfortunately, mistitling the game in the process.
In response, a developer from Bleak Faith developer Archangel Studios released a statement on Discord defending the inclusion of the assets, explaining that they were purchased as part of a pack obtained from the Epic Games Store.
The dev, under the username 'überfaith42', wrote, "we’re always been transparent about using the Epic Marketplace for animations that are good and fit our theme. The rest I made – we just needed more variety, and I’m not an animator by trade, I had to learn for this game.”
A link to the Epic Games Store asset pack, which the developer claimed the animations came from, was provided, but only links to a 'not found ' page now.
Archangel now claims that the studio is working on alternative animations for the game, and überfaith42 followed up their Discord post with another, which states that "I want to stress this decision comes currently purely out of an artistic lens, as an artist I take pride in all the manual work and unique things I’ve built over the course of these many years. I wanted the game to stand out and bring its own flare in as many ways as possible. I definitely wasn’t aware any of the animations were really similar to anything else, I just thought we were doing business with a legitimate entity and that their work fits our vision of the combat. If it turns out that this seller is illegitimate, we will have all been victims of nefarious behaviour.”
What do you think of this whole situation? Is it 'stealing' to use assets acquired via a legally purchased asset pack? Do you believe the asset pack was indeed purchased legally? Let us know in the comments section below.
He wasn't aware? Hmmm I can't see this guy not looking at other games for inspiration or even playing those games as he seems like a fan of the genre.
I doubt he would have intentionally stolen animation from such a well known IP. I’m sure the fault lies with the one who ripped and uploaded the animation for profit, and with the store holder for being unable to check provenance (admittedly that would be hard without a huge database and impressive AI).
After reviewing the thread it appears that the three-person dev team had taken some time-saving shortcuts and brought assets and animations from the EGS market place believing Epic carried out due diligence over the use of Copyrighted products. So they believed it was all good to use without any legal ramifications. However Epic responded that they do not review "rights" of use. They effectively had their fingers burnt but will be making changes to the process going forward. This is now a non event for me.
Epic strikes again, then?
How many different animations can you have for a sword swing anyway?
This is pure comedy at its finest.😄😀.haha.the sword animation you stole it.and they like no we didn't. Wtf.haha.word up son
Bleak Faith lol. Forsaken!!
The guy flat out admitted he isn’t an animator and tried getting help from the epic store. We all know they vet no one either as this has happened before
Non story, the dude trusted too much and he’s fixing it oh well.
@thefourfoldroot1 I feel like FromSoft's animations are too unique to not notice.
Their games are some of the few that get animations so right, I don't think they should change.
TL,DR - epic sucks. Epically😎
Any developer buying assets from epic or Unity stores needs to be very aware how full of pirated assets those stores are.
If you are caught selling a game that uses those assets, and are sued, the “I just bought them from x store” defense won’t save you. You will lose such a lawsuit.
Don’t buy assets from vendors that don’t have a long vetoed history unless you only plan to use them as placeholders for quick prototyping and replace them all during development, and even that I would advice against because it’s easy to “forget” or let some slip through.
I like how gaming sites are all high and mighty about killing crunch culture, but when a studio uses some purchased assets or AI generated images they get labelled as thieves by the very same publications.
The guy is probably going to change them now so 🤷
As a Soulsborne fanatic I'm still looking forward to it. These grimdark Soulslike action rpgs are the best things to happen to gaming for me personally in years lol
Ironic, considering From themselves were criticized for using assets and animations from their own previous games in ER.
@bimboliquido They really should sue themselves
Going to give them the benefit of the doubt here. It's a lot of work for a small studio, let's give them a chance. I was very impressed with Thymesia, fantastic game for an indie.
@Perturbator You are really reaching with that comment
I feel for the games developers, this will give them a lot of additional work they hadn’t planned or budgeted for all because Epic don’t get their store.
The Epic response was the usual dispassionate BS you expect from a giant entity
Is there a way they could now just buy assets from FROM (nice and cheaply) instead? A bigger company supporting an indie without Epic as the pirate middleman, be good PR for FROM if they were seen to be helping out
@Nepp67 He's right though
@bimboliquido that’s the first thing I thought too. More like from DS than ER….
@TechaNinja I don’t think so man. Three dudes working out of a basement isn’t exactly what sites have in mind when writing about crunch culture.
The source “being accused of "stealing" animations directly from Elden Ring.” Only people with subjective confirmation bias would read that as ‘thieves’ …
You know what they say: All publicity is good publicity 😉😉😉
Nice Epic. Nice.
Must be Apples fault.
@bimboliquido oh noes. Not self-plagiarism.
Let’s be honest this is Epic’s issue.
At the moment their statement basically read;
we may be running a bootleg marketplace, however it’s legal so deal with it.
Unfair for developers, lesson learnt hopefully! Don’t use an untrustworthy place, especially if this is Epic’s stance.
If Epic is allowing sellers to sell resource packs for bundling in games, and not vetting those, they need large clear copyright warnings in the buying process - and whoever sold the resource pack ought to be liable for damages from the original copyright holder AND their customers.
Realistically, that middle-man is probably long gone with whatever profits they were able to realize, and another half-dozen fake identities trying to sell the same stolen stuff to another mark. When a developer tries to buy a resource pack, it could be a long time before they discover it's not legit (invalid copyright), which makes it hard for everyone - they likely can't get their money back from the seller or the marketplace, the content is probably hard to replace, and the original creator could be out potential sales and/or creative control of their own creation.
Theft sucks, and scammers preying on game developers are no better than scammers trying to part grandma from her life savings.
So the store can't check it but they expect small developers to do so? It's really strange that you can sell stolen stuff and not be held accountable.
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