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Register, Others Call Plagiarism in "Limbo of the Lost" Game

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the hey-man-poetic-license dept.

Graphics 400

Fallen Andy writes "'The Register' has an article describing 'Limbo of the Lost' (developed by Majestic and sold in the U.S by Tri Synergy) which seems to have 'borrowed' copiously graphics assets from other games. Over at the GamesRadar forum there is a thread with some screenshots. Finally, this game has its own Wikipedia entry. Warning to all — move the soft drink away from the keyboard and monitor before you look at those screenshots. Blatant this is, very blatant indeed."

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400 comments

Oblivion (0, Redundant)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844619)

Looks just like Oblivion...

Re:Oblivion (1, Redundant)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844649)

Looks just like Oblivion
Except much shittier... Oh... and YES, I quoted myself!

Re:Oblivion (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844685)

Looks just like Oblivion
Except much shittier... Oh... and YES, I quoted myself!
Least I'm not alone. I thought the 'shittier' one had to be Oblivion since it came before Limbo. Was somewhat surprised when I looked at the captions. Not even the effort to make it prettier?

Re:Oblivion (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845209)

FWIW, "Limbo of the Lost" is a 1990s-era point-and-click adventure game with static backdrops, and those backdrops just happen to be screenshots of other games.

Even if they hadn't plagiarized other games, I can't see anyone buying the piece of crap. Everything about it - plot, graphics, audio, game engine - reeks of amateurism.

Re:Oblivion (5, Funny)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844715)

I'm guessing the company that made this game will be sued into oblivion

Re:Oblivion (4, Funny)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845387)

But it's already got Oblivion in it... that's going to be a nasty feedback loop.

I don't see what the big deal is (5, Funny)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844645)

The original creators of that stuff didn't lose anything, its all bits man.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (1, Funny)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844681)

They might loose someone's game purchasing dollars since we can get most of the game experience from just playing LotL.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844721)

One cannot lose what one does not already own.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845009)

Except one's breath.

Hey, as long as you were getting philosphical...

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23844795)

But, based on my understanding of several recent different but similar situations involving movies and music, we can all safely assume that those people would not have bought the game to begin with.

We can also take comfort in knowing that the companies from whom the graphics were lifted probably keep the lion's share of the profit from game sales and the graphic artists make almost nothing, by comparison.

Also, if the guy at 'Limbo of the Lost' bought the game it is his to do with what he wishes because he didn't agree to any stupid 'don't lift graphics' clause and shrinkwrap licenses have never been proven in court anyway so no one has any legal standing to complain about anything. This includes if he wants to make a mashup of the game's graphics and his own cool gaming idea and call it 'Limbo of the Lost'.

And furthermore copyright law has been subverted by corporate interests and is just a shadow of what the found fathers wanted it to be. Copyright is OUR rights not theirs it makes sure WE get the copyrightable content but it has been changed around to give CORPORATIONS all the control. Do I want DRM on my hard drive so I can play a game but keep me from taking screenshots? No! I'll never install Vista. If this was available in WINE I would play it but it isn't. I don't even run NDISWRAPPER!

So, in conclusion, no. I don't think anyone has stolen anything. Information wants to be free.

As in I don't pay anything for it.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (5, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844985)

And furthermore copyright law has been subverted by corporate interests and is just a shadow of what the found fathers wanted it to be. Copyright is OUR rights not theirs it makes sure WE get the copyrightable content but it has been changed around to give CORPORATIONS all the control.

Guess what? The CORPORATIONS that own this stuff are composed of people and owned by people. You can become one of those people for about $50 a share. A corporation is the modern expression of the Right of Free Assembly, and is used to administer cooperative division-of-labor and ownership of property.

Would you prefer that property can only be owned whole, by single individuals? Do you realize that it would be impossible to undertake any large, capital-intensive project in that environment?

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (4, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845089)

That wasn't thunder you just heard, that was something breaking the sound barrier as it went over your head.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845173)

Corporations are a way to profit from criminal activities without the risk of being held responsible. You invest your money, and the board and CEOs know what to do, wink wink, whatever it takes to make a buck, and you never even have to know about all the suffering you caused with your investment.

It isn't just a few bad apples, the barrel of corporate culture is almost pure rot, with very little apple at all.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (5, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845339)

so all corporations are teh evil incarnate eh?

Am I an evil corporate scumbag because I own a limited liability company? Am I magically less evil if I make the same games as a sole proprietor? Or is all commerce evil and only working for free in a hippy commune an acceptable way to live?

These guys were scum who took other peoples hard work and tried to profit from it. They should be sued to death. If you tolerate this, then that means you would prefer all modern games to just be re-mixes of the 8 bit textures from games of twenty years ago. After all, why the hell put any effort into creating original stuff when you can just rip off people who can do better work than you.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845083)

Agree and disagree, you see ultra cheap books and games on sale at the dollar rack that lift content from others all the time. I don't really care, but try to sell me a full prices game which is expected to contain original artwork and I'm going to feel ripped off. Yes, part of what I am buying in the game is the original artwork, not just the game experience itself. Be straight forth that this is a cheap game using knockoff artwork and I wouldn't care.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845127)

-1 Posting while drunk

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845431)

turn your sarcasm detectors to 11, boys, we've got ourselves a tricky one.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845445)

*whoosh*

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (4, Interesting)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844683)

I know you were going for humor, but even people who download music, etc. aren't taking credit for creating said music.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845215)

Are these people taking credit for creating it? Maybe they're just 'in a similar world' or something. Maybe the only thing they're taking credit for is the puzzles or whatever in the game... not the artwork. They're just 'borrowing' it.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (5, Insightful)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844687)

The problem with your analogy is that they are making a profit on it (well, they won't now). The people who use the argument you are talking about for copying music/games/etc don't turn around and make mixed CDs, package them, and sell them as their own work (except puff daddy).

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844815)

So THAT'S where all my bits went! I've been looking for them.

Re:I don't see what the big deal is (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23844849)

The original creators of that stuff didn't lose anything, it's all bits man.

... and I call redundancy on that title. (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844655)

To add insult to injury.

Re:... and I call redundancy on that title. (2, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845023)

Insult to injury to parody, which is flattery. Or isn't ?

From Wikipedia (3, Informative)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844707)

On June 11, 2008 GamePlasma, a gaming news site, posted an article showing certain places in Limbo of the Lost were identical to the game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.[7] After the revelation, others looking into the game discovered environments and features that appeared to be taken from the games The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Unreal Tournament 2004, Unreal Tournament 2003, Diablo II, Thief: The Dark Project, Thief: Deadly Shadows, a CryENGINE2 Tech Demo, Silent Hill 4: The Room[citation needed], Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Painkiller, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, Hexen and World of Warcraft.[8][9] Other scenes appear to be taken from live action films: one from the 1997 film Spawn, another from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and several more from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. [10][11] and level design from enclave[citation needed]. The game also contains footage from Sea Dogs[12][13]
Wow... at least they have decent taste in games.

Screenshots (5, Informative)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844713)

It's all screenshots from Oblivion, Thief 3, Unreal Tournament series, Diablo, and other games. Limbo Of The Lost doesn't render those things in 3D but uses it as background image for the adventure game. Really lame that the developers of that game thought they were going to get away with it. I wonder what was going on there, they couldn't find a graphics artist to draw the backgrounds so they just photoshopped screenshots from other games together. Still a bit of a shame for the (if there were any) good points of the game, that are now gone down together with the whole game due to this plagiarism.

If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844797)

Three or more, it's research.

Re:If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844875)

If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism

Three or more, it's research.

Legitimate research differs from your implication in that sources are given credit through citations.

Re:If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844995)

Does anybody have this game? Maybe they have a "References" screen!

Re:If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism (1)

qualidafial (967876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845135)

If you steal from one or two it's plagiarism

Three or more, it's research.

Legitimate research differs from your implication in that sources are given credit through citations.
Whhhhhhoooooooooooosh!

Re:Screenshots (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845079)

Hey, maybe they were just placeholders until they got around to hiring artists, and then forgot. Happens all the time, man!

Re:Screenshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845319)

Limbo Of The Lost doesn't render those things in 3D but uses it as background image for the adventure game.

Anyone played this? Looks like he's going up the stairs of that HelmzDeep castle ripped from Angelh@rt.

While we're at it, how many of these rips are from commercial games and how many from fan-expansions like that one? Not that it's less slimy, but moreso, since guys like Angelh@rt won't have an in-house legal department, and there probably won't be any money left in Majestic to sue for after the big studios are done with them.

And does anyone know just Who and Where Majestic Studios is now? Their current wiki entry is strictly historic. Let's fix that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_Studios [wikipedia.org]

Sad (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844735)

You have a game idea you've put (some) hard work into since the Atari days. You finally get it released.... And since you cheated, all people will ever remember is that you're crooks and your game is a fraud.

I feel sorry for the people who worked hard on the game and had no idea someone was doing this.

Re:Sad (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844831)

Bah, there's no way the devs didn't know this was going on... they had to test their own stuff some time, so unless the assets got changed right at ship time, I suspect they were fully aware.

Re:Sad (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844979)

If they're all retro gamers, they may never have played any of these games. I only played two or three of them myself. If I hadn't played Oblivion (and played the game before reading about this on Slashdot), I might not have noticed.

Re:Sad (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845163)

I was just playing Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, last night. I decided to go for it and attack Pisha instead of going on her lucrative quests.

Needless to say, the results were... ahem... interesting. After loading my saved game I decided to wait before trying it again.

It's currently available on Steam for anyone who missed it the first time, $20 well spent. (I forget what I paid for it... but it's given me years of entertainment, that's for sure.)

Re:Sad (1)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845433)

Wouldn't you wonder why there are all the little graphics of a map, compass, weapon and health bars are? I can see not immediately knowing that these graphics are stolen, but wouldn't these make you at least question your "artists"?

Re:Sad (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845049)

There are no 'Devs'. This was done by 3 con-men who apparently met a pub. If you dig though some of the links and other forums about this mess you can get more of the pathetic details.

They used an out-of-the-box-create-your-own-2.5D-adventure software and just imported in screenshots from other games. I don't think any of them know a lick about coding whatsoever.

It's amazing that these guys got published when some real independent shops with real talent can't get anything going.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845001)

> You have a game idea you've put (some) hard work into since the Atari days.

Hard work? Maybe with photoshop. The game is a point and click affair over static images from other sources without even an attempt to make them coherent or up to date.

Bet you anything their sound assets are all ripped off too.

The hard work was in pulling off this scam. Majestic is getting what it deserves.

Oblivion (3, Funny)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844759)

Looks just like Oblivion

Except much shittier... Oh... and YES, I quoted myself!

I just lost the game (0, Offtopic)

pacroon (846604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844765)

I just lost the game :(

Wow, that is impressive (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844769)

I mean... did they somehow convert/import the assets, or did someone just sit there trying intentionally to make something exact.

I do wonder if these are a few 'rare' points in the game, or a larger overall theme. Maybe some intern/rookie screwed up and copied too much when the boss said, "Make something like this"

Re:Wow, that is impressive (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844859)

My understanding is that the game takes place on static backgrounds. Basicly they loaded thief, took a screenshot of the game when looking in the library, and used the entire screenshot as the background for the adventure game screen. They didn't directly rip the levels and textures to have the same 3d world. This is just what I've heard in other discussions, I haven't actually seen any videos, jsut screenshots, so I can't really tell if the world is static art.

Re:Wow, that is impressive (1)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844897)

The backgrounds in Limbo of the Lost are all static images. They took screenshots from the games and pasted them into their own.

Re:Wow, that is impressive (0)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844959)

This is very obviously an import script. There is no reason you'd waste time trying to create an exact replica of something when a close approximation will do just as well. If you discount the rendering engine's abilities (theirs is obviously lousy), you'll notice that the textures are exactly the same and the locations are laid out identically.

I suspect the case here is this: you have a bunch of guys with coding talent enough to make some rendering engine work (most likely one they 'borrowed'), but no talent/money/desire to get artists to create levels. They figured they could avoid the work by just importing levels directly from other sources and make a game on the cheap.

Re:Wow, that is impressive (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845383)

Well others have pointed out the originals used 3D models. Limbo uses the images as backgrounds. If you look at the screenshots, the originals have much more depth and texture. For some things like the copying of Diablo II's inventory screen, there was no original 3D model so a good Photoshop job would be sufficient.

It isn't "borrowing"... (4, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844801)

...it is sampling, just like in the music industry.

For example, listen to the opening sequence of Queen's Under Pressure featuring David Bowie. Then, after having your stomach pumped as a precaution, the opening bits of Vanilla Ice's Ice, Ice Baby.

For the Google impaired, here is a YouTube link [youtube.com] doing a comparison.

Just equate Limbo of the Lost with Ice, Ice Baby and you will understand. Of course, that would mean Majestic Studios is really Vanilla Ice...

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (4, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844955)

I dunno... It would require listening to Vanilla Ice... Is it okay if I just take your word for it?

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (5, Informative)

AllIGotWasThisNick (1309495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845039)

For example...
You are aware that Vanilla Ice reached an out-of-court settlement [wikipedia.org] with the copyright holders of "Under Pressure" for using the material?

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (-1, Offtopic)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845495)

Whoosh!

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (3, Informative)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845067)

Not quite the same, and your example is bad

First off.. Vanilla Ice did not sample. He changed the 8th note, so therefore it was "original".. This was not listed as "sampling"

Now, for someone who does sample, a lot, P Ditty (Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, Whatever).

He does sample a lot. But, he pays the copyright holder for the rights to sample that music.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845447)

Van Winkle's success also brought legal and personal problems. "Ice Ice Baby" sampled the 1982 Queen and David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure" without permission, acknowledging credit, or paying royalties. There was no public court case over the issue, but the copyright holders of "Under Pressure" considered a lawsuit and settled out of court with Van Winkle for an undisclosed sum. Van Winkle recalled in 2008, "What happened is I was trying not to get sued and it didn't work. So yeah, they're the same songs, in case you were wondering."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_Ice#Mainstream_success_and_failure_.281990-1991.29 [wikipedia.org]

Satirically speaking... (3, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845073)

But, based on my understanding of several recent different but similar situations involving movies and music, we can all safely assume that those people would not have bought the game to begin with.

We can also take comfort in knowing that the companies from whom the graphics were lifted probably keep the lion's share of the profit from game sales and the graphic artists make almost nothing, by comparison.

Also, if the guy at 'Limbo of the Lost' bought the game it is his to do with what he wishes because he didn't agree to any stupid 'don't lift graphics' clause and shrinkwrap licenses have never been proven in court anyway so no one has any legal standing to complain about anything. This includes if he wants to make a mashup of the game's graphics and his own cool gaming idea and call it 'Limbo of the Lost'.

And furthermore copyright law has been subverted by corporate interests and is just a shadow of what the found fathers wanted it to be. Copyright is OUR rights not theirs it makes sure WE get the copyrightable content but it has been changed around to give CORPORATIONS all the control. Do I want DRM on my hard drive so I can play a game but keep me from taking screenshots? No! I'll never install Vista. If this was available in WINE I would play it but it isn't. I don't even run NDISWRAPPER!

So, in conclusion, no. I don't think anyone has stolen anything. Information wants to be free.

As in I don't pay anything for it.

(P.S. -- I'm adding some skulls to this comment)

Re:Satirically speaking... (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845429)

So, in conclusion, no. I don't think anyone has stolen anything. Information wants to be free.

Please post all your personal information, including bank accounts and credit card numbers. Also, if it isn't too much trouble, could you set up a webcam in your home so we can watch what you're doing? Information just wants to be free, man.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845093)


  Sampling in the music industry is also illegal if you do not ask/pay first. MC Hammer got caught on this when he "borrowed" from the song Super Freak and had to pay the bill.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845121)

Of course, that would mean Majestic Studios is really Vanilla Ice...
*brain explodes*

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845125)

The "ting" in the middle makes it completely different. 2 totally separate songs.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (3, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845205)


I dont believe that is a sample. Samples are when you take the actual audio of one song and take a bit of it and use it in your song. In the case of Ice, Ice Baby the riff was ripped off and re recorded.

This is important because the labels own the recordings of the songs but the artists own the songs themselves. You have to pay the artist if you re-record their song, you don't have to pay the artist if you sample a recording.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1, Interesting)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845207)

...it is sampling, just like in the music industry.
I would have to second this opinion. Given that the Backgrounds are evidentally static screenies, then I don't see a lot of difference between this, music mix CDs and/or video mashup.

Heck, I use the background images from Bejeweled as wallpaper. Does that make me an IP infringer? If I give the wallpaper to the guy in the next office am I then a pirate?

This is simple Fair use IMHO, although they should give credit to the sources.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1)

HexRei (515117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845493)

There is a legal difference between taking a screenshot for wallpaper for personal use and making an entire game out of nothing but screenshots of other people's games and then selling said game.

As for the analogy between this and a mashup, I see your point, although usually if you are a DJ who wants to sell his mashup on a scale larger than small-time local you can expect lawsuits if you don't license the tracks first. There are court rulings about how much of a track can be legally sampled.

It's not like this game developer made this game and then just passed it out for free to a few of his friends, or showed it on a projector at a local performance hall. He intended to market it as an original work on an international scale without giving credit to the authors.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (2, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845221)

I always find it amusing that someone who steals samples from another song to put into his own song then gets some big black bloke to talk gibberish over it as loudly as possible, presumably to try to hide the fact that it's been stolen.

Re:It isn't "borrowing"... (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845419)

From the wiki entry for Under Pressure:

Rapper Vanilla Ice sampled this song without permission for his biggest hit, the commercially successful "Ice Ice Baby". His response to criticism relied upon the addition of one note not present in the original.

Sampling as I understand it requries permission of the rights holders and/or a significant change of the original material.

As far as I can tell, Majestic has done neither. They have taken bits and pieces (and bytes and chunks) from other games, thrown it together with original art of their own, and hoped nobody would notice. In the short run, they have saved themselves work hours probably into the hundreds, which they, by the way, should have used to make their game look less like something from 10 years ago. They have not changed the "sampled" content in any notable way, unless you count "making it look worse" as such a change. If this was some non-commercial fan project, it would be another thing in my book. As it is, they should be in for a world of legal hurt.

Kudos however for Majestic's display of balls by "sampling" a Disney movie (Pirates of the Carribean), I'm sure Disney will take it like sportsmen, considering their past track record.

The worst part is ... (5, Funny)

wylderide (933251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844809)

... The scene where the protagonist is leaping over barrels thrown by a large orangutan. It's a dead giveaway.

I'd love to know... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844821)

What level of idiocy is required for people to think they can somehow get away with this type of thing without anyone noticing or caring.

I simply can't comprehend the thoughts that must've gone through the developer's minds when they decided this was okay.

Re:I'd love to know... (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845211)

It was probably something along the lines of:

"Got to get this room done by midnight or I'm fired."

Re:I'd love to know... (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845369)

Scratch what I said. It was just made by 3 English bar buddies.

Might not be as bad as it seems (0)

InspectorGadget (149784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844833)

My first knee-jerk reaction was the same as everyone else - this is a blatant rip-off of several game's graphics. However, if as is reported this is a point and click adventure, and it is just set with screenshots from other games as the backdrops, there may not be a copyright or even plagiarism issue. Screenshots would not require the 3D data to be copied out of the source games.
After all, Resistance: Fall of Man had that scene set in Manchester Cathedral - and the Cathedral couldn't exactly claim copyright on the design! You'd get the same problem with any game set in front of/in a real place. So this is almost an about face of that concept.
So controversial - probably. Free publicity - definitely. Illegal - probably not!

Re:Might not be as bad as it seems (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844919)

Er... even a screenshot of copyrighted material is still copyright. Copyright does not mean "bit for bit copies of the original data". It covers the whole work in all forms and interpretations. Hence why the museums and art galleries can charge you for prints of artwork - it's still under copyright, even if you're only buying a photo of a work of art.

And some places HAVE claimed copyright of landmarks - the Eiffel Tower is one. That's a bit more dubious, though. However, pressing PrintScreen and adding some skulls does not make for an original piece, in the same way as me photocopying your book and changing the main character from Harry Potter to Terry Petter doesn't.

It's either original art, created by YOU, or it's taken from somewhere else. If it's taken from somewhere else, it's a potential copyright violation if you don't have permission.

Re:Might not be as bad as it seems (2, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845161)

The Eiffel Tower is not covered by copyright. For a start, it's too old. However, night-time shots of the Eiffel Tower which include the modern lighting display are covered by copyright - the lighting display is the work covered.

nope, it is that bad (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844997)

The main point is that they used the material and lied, saying they'd created it themselves, that's a whole different issue from fair use.

It may be illegal anyway, since they used the images to make a product for resale without permission. If you plan to use an image from a game for commercial product you must, at the very least, cite your sources.

I have a number of game development books that rely heavily in in game shots from many current titles, and they are *all* cited correctly.

Even when you aren't selling the end product it's impolite not to do so.

Re:Might not be as bad as it seems (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845217)

Read up on derivative works.

Hard work, though... (4, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844841)

Heh, that's some of the hardest work I've seen gone into plagiarism. That is, outside of academia and Hollywood and politicians where everyone pretty much copies everyone else...

Infinite Monkey Theorem (1)

Gettinglucky (655935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844851)

They must have a lot of monkeys to end up with the same thing!

Holy Crap (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844857)

You know one room, surely could be similar with a developer having played one of those other titles and been inspired even subconsiously while building. No way in hell you could claim that as anything near original work.

The next step (4, Funny)

Kingston (1256054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844885)

What they need to do now is spend all the money they saved on the artwork on a really good lawyer. One that can stand up in court and say "A layman might think he sees a superficial resemblance" while keeping a straight face.

Re:The next step (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845371)

They will have to go with the chewbacca defence, the only thing that could help them.

Doesn't mention (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844939)

What DRM it uses to keep it from being copied...

plagiarism? nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23844969)

all those games clearly plagiarised from their game which has clearly been in development nearly as long as duke nukem forever,

Instant legend (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844991)

The company may go bankrupt because of this, but the game will probably become an internet legend. Surely this'll be a collectors item, get your copy from bittorrent today!

Re:Instant legend (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845449)

Antiques Road Show - 2085 AD

Expert: I say, that's a jolly good thing, a shrink-wrapped copy of the infamous "Limbo of the Lost" game!

Owner: Why? Is it famous?

Expert: Well, you see, the creators of the game (and I use the term "creator" generously here) basically stolen static screen shots from a number of other games, and using a crappy adventure game generator, produced this wonder, which they actually managed to get published and distributed.

Owner: So how much is it worth?

Expert: A top-notch undamaged shrink wrapped copy like this would go at auction for at least three million dollars!

Owner: Wow! I mean wow wow wow!

Expert: Indeed...

Owner: So what about this shrink-wrapped copy of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion?

Expert: I'll give you twelve bucks.

Shakespeare was a Plagarist (-1, Troll)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23844999)

Plagarism has always been with us in literature and it is no surprise it is making it's way into video games.

http://www.123helpme.com/preview.asp?id=37713 [123helpme.com]

"With a few exceptions, Shakespeare did not invent the plots of his plays. Sometimes he used old stories (Hamlet, Pericles). Sometimes he worked from the stories of comparatively recent Italian writers, such as Boccaccio - using both well-known stories (Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing) and little known ones (Othello). Shakespeare has been proven, by many authors, to have borrowed from the Arts, the Histories and the Sciences."

This is not even the earliest example of game plagarism. Think about Space Invaders, Galaga and Galaxian - same gameplay, different sprites.

Not saying what anyone did here was right, but the only difference between these examples and the one mentioned in the story is the 3D graphics. Not sure why people are in such a tizzy over this.

M

Re:Shakespeare was a Plagarist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845237)

space invaders and galaga are two completely different games, but you have point there.

if nothing else, this game really got some serious publicity with this stunt. if it comes through, and if the game is actually good, they will make much more profit than they'll lose in court. (especially if the original content is worth the stunt)

I shit care whether graphics are copied, if the stuff is quality work. and I believe many ppl think like this.

whatever, can't say anything else, no matter whether this particular game is unique or not, copyrights suck!

Re:Shakespeare was a Plagarist (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845277)

Shakespeare did not invent the plots of his plays. Sometimes he used old stories (Hamlet, Pericles).

So, in which older tellings of something like Hamlet can you point to prose such as Shakespeare's "To be, or not to be..." passage? It's one thing to write a game with a magic ring quest plot, and it's quite another to say you're doing something original, and it's just a coincidence that you have characters named Frodo and Gandalf.

Re:Shakespeare was a Plagarist (1)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845367)

Shakespeare has been proven, by many authors, to have borrowed from the Arts, the Histories and the Sciences."

the pot, however, doesnt know where that nasty rumor that the kettle is black got started...

Limbo of the Lost Graphics (4, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845021)

It's about an adventurer who wanders from game to game to solve the mystery of the plagiarised graphics.

Interview with the designers (4, Funny)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845029)

Mod UP (1, Redundant)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845315)

"Between the three of us we researched, wrote, designed, animated, scripted and developed the whole game from home."

Mod UP part Deux (1)

lantastik (877247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845403)

This link needs to be added to the original post. It's just priceless given the current revelation.

Bits from interview with the game creators (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845033)

"everything was re-written from the ground up, everything apart from the initial concept and some character design ...and the rest is history."

"The project is more influenced by film and literature rather than other games, we want the experience to be as original as possible and as such we have made a calculated effort to keep away from other games in the genre."

"All of the game (apart from initial background story and some character designs) had to be re-written, all the characters had to be created in 3D and animated, all the background scenes re-created, all the sounds, coding and music?..basically everything had to be redone or newly created for the PC version. This is not an old game that has been dressed up. This is the original concept, dusted off and re-created."

Also, the game has been in production for 10 years and rewritten few times. I think these guys deserve a "Hard core audacity" award...

Full Article [quandaryland.com]

So I guess... (5, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845105)

...it's OK to pirate this one then??

Lol, nice games to lift from (2, Funny)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845143)

Oblivion? D-Eye-Ah-Blo? Man, how the hell did anyone remember these incredibly obscure games?

Heh. Anyone know where I can get this game? (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845197)

I'm not going to buy it, but I have a weak point for unintentional comedy.

Re:Heh. Anyone know where I can get this game? (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845245)

Just buy it, the developers will be sued into bankruptcy anyway. The publisher has already pulled the plug though, it'll disappear fast.

Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23845227)

subject say it all.

So? (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845281)

I don't see anything morally wrong with this. Next up, news that Broken Sword is a Diablo clone. So what. //for later reference

plagarism is such a crime... (1)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845303)

The register really cant have too much room to talk... one day i was reading up about a particular subject, and four of the articles a google search found were exactly the same article with four bylines. granted, the register's was later updated with a few grammar corrections, and a single story probably isn't as big a deal as borrowing from another video game.

I can see how this could happen... (5, Insightful)

WeirdJohn (1170585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845313)

Not that I approve. Some people can write code, design game concepts etc but be incapable of drawing pictures. When I look at the photo of the 3 main developers I don't see a picture that looks like three guys that would play typical cutting edge games. They come up with game logic that kinda works but is butt ugly. They hire someone who claims they are a shit hot CG artist, complete with examples of "their" work. This person then proceeds to rip other peoples' work.

The developers are of course stoked by the amazing art "developed" for their game, and give lots of bonuses. Then they discover that they've been sounded robbed, as their game (and their reputations) are soundly denounced.

I'm not saying this has happened in this case, but I've seen scenarios like this before (when I did work in the games industry).

I'm also not saying that this justifies it. If anything it reveals "technology blindness" where the developers are so in love with their own product that they don't bother looking at what else is on the market.

Missing the Point of Myst (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23845481)

Myst's programmers designed a 3D world themselves and pre-rendered it using the ray tracers they could find. They then loaded those shots onto a CD-ROM or two.

If real-time 3D renderers were even available back then, they were downright crude in comparison. In fact, I seem to remember Myst looking cleaner and more spectacular than the screenshots from "Limbo of the Lost".
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