Indie dev uses Unreal Engine assets, gets accused of stealing from Elden Ring

The world of video game development is constantly evolving, with new games and studios emerging each day. However, with so much content being created, it’s no surprise that some may opt to use assets from third parties to speed up the development process. This is exactly what an indie dev, Archangel Studios, did when creating their game Bleak Faith: Forsaken, using animations purchased from the Unreal Engine Marketplace. Unfortunately for them, it seems they inadvertently used assets that were similar to those found in Elden Ring, leading to accusations of plagiarism.

The Accusations

The accusations were first made by a YouTube channel called Souls Like Lovers, who noticed that some of the animations in the creator’s game were strikingly similar to those in the popular FromSoftware title. A comparison video was posted online, which showed that the uchigatana and straight sword animations were nearly identical to those found in the most popular souls game to date. The comparison also showed similarities to Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne.

Many people were quick to say Archangel Studios stole these animations, but the dev addressed these accusations on Discord and on their Steam forums. Apparently, they were purchased from an asset seller named PersiaNinja, who has since had their “PN Axe Animations” taken down by Epic Games after Archangel submitted a ticket for investigation.

Innocent after all

It’s unclear whether the seller created the animations originally or if they were ripped from the souls-like games using a modding tool called DSAnimStudio and then slightly altered before being uploaded for sale. What is clear, however, is that Archangel Studios was unaware that they were using copied animations in their game, and I feel for them.

Fortunately, only about 10% of the game’s assets were purchased from the Unreal Engine Marketplace, and they have since been removed. However, the incident does raise concerns about the use of third-party assets in game development. While it may be tempting to grab and use these to speed things up a bit and get your game out sooner, this case shows that it can be dangerous, as content creators may intentionally or unwittingly copy assets from other games.

The dangers of the Unreal Engine Marketplace

As an indie dev myself, this case gives me pause and causes me to be more cautious going forward. It also highlights the need for better checks in place to prevent situations like this from happening. While the Unreal Engine Marketplace does have policies in place to prevent the sale of plagiarized assets, it’s clear that more can be done to ensure that developers are not unknowingly using copied assets in their games.

In the end, this incident serves as a reminder that game development is a complex and challenging process that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. While using marketplace assets can be a useful tool for developers, it’s important to be vigilant and ensure that any assets used are original and legally obtained. Otherwise, developers risk damaging their reputations and facing accusations of plagiarism, as was the case with Bleak Faith: Forsaken.

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