Ever since Dark Souls saw the light of day back in 2011, plenty of developers have taken direct inspiration from FromSoftware’s games, and tried to capture the soulslike charm.
Archangel Studios’ Bleak Faith: Forsaken is no different, boasting a gritty, unforgiving world and lots of that tough combat we’re all mad for. However, it’s alleged that Bleak Faith: Forsaken may have used stolen assets from 2022 Game of the Year, Elden Ring (thanks, PushSquare). That said, it does appear to be one huge misunderstanding, and a learning curve for the developer.
Meowmaritus, a Dark Souls modding tool developer, shared the discovery on Twitter. Their tweet accompanied a side-by-side clip of Bleak Faith: Forsaken and Elden Ring, and it’s safe to say that this footage does not look good for Archangel Studios.
“Bleak Faith: Forsaken is 100% using animations ripped directly 1:1 from Elden Ring,” the tweet reads. “I do not condone people using my DS animation studio software to aid in exporting animations to include in commercial products, or sell them on the Epic Games Store.”
Saw this footage floating around. Bleak Faith: Forspoken is 100% using animations ripped directly 1:1 from Elden Ring.
I do NOT condone people using my DS Anim Studio software to aid in exporting animations to include in commercial products or sell them on Epic Games Store. pic.twitter.com/9JHGMeu9as
— Meowmaritus (@meowmaritus) March 12, 2023
Meowmaritus follows up by saying they have no issue with developers being inspired by the work of FromSoftware, stating that “none of those games use literal assets from inside FromSoft games. They are big fans of FromSoft, and heavily referenced.”
In response to the accusations, Archangel Studios shared a statement in its Discord via user uberfaith42. “We’ve always been transparent about using the Epic Marketplace for animations that are good and fit our theme. The rest I made, but we just needed more variety, and I’m not an animator by trade, I had to learn for this game.”
“The only other things I used fron the Epic Marketplace is generic VFX that was a waste of time since I’d make things that look virtually the same anyway.” They later state that, “the entire world was built by hand. So, about 10% of the art is outsourced, whereas AAA companies outsource about 70% of their art.”
Archangel Studios has since stated that it has liaised with Epic Customer Service, and wholly wasn’t aware of the similarities between the assets they bought, and the assets used in FromSoftware titles. Ultimately, the studio has decided to remove and replace the animation assets after the following response from Epic:
“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.”
This essentially means the copyright status of the bought assets cannot be verified. So, Bleak Faith: Forsaken’s developer is doing the only thing it should be doing: removing and replacing the assets.
As promised here is an update on the animation asset issue. We have heard back from the escalation team at Epic which was as follows:
“Pursuant to the Marketplace Distribution Agreement, each Marketplace seller represents and warrants to Epic that they have
— Bleak Faith (@bleak_faith) March 13, 2023
“Certainly this has been a huge lesson for us and hopefully other indie creators out there too, that assets on these storefronts cannot be purchased in good faith,” Archangel Studios shares. “Thank you for bringing the issue to our attention and helping us improve the game.”
All in all, this has been an unfavourable situation for Bleak Faith: Forsaken. This has certainly been a lesson learnt, and it’s positive to at least see the developer, Archangel Studios, be so proactive about the situation once it came to light.