Limbo in limbo after plagiarism outcry

Tri Synergy pulls Majestic Studios' controversy-laden adventure game from online and retail stores after screenshot comparison furor.

When it saw limited release back in September, point-and-click adventure game Limbo of the Lost didn't exactly make the headlines. Now, the Majestic Studios-developed game is famous for all the wrong reasons.

Yesterday, screenshots from the game emerged showing a number of environments that bore a remarkable resemblance to some from Bethesda Softworks' role-playing game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Others also appeared to highly resemble scenes from Eidos' action adventure Thief: Deadly Shadows.

Publisher Tri Synergy responded yesterday to the shots, saying that it was unaware of the similarity, and was unable to reach the game's developer. Now, it has announced that it will no longer be distributing the game to online or brick-and-mortar outlets.

"Tri Synergy is just as shocked as everyone else is by the recent screenshot comparisons," said the publisher in a statement. "At no point during our dealings with Majestic Studios up until the point that the comparison was first publicly made by a third party did we have any knowledge of these similarities."

The publisher added that it had contacted developer Majestic and was "anxiously awaiting their response." A further statement will follow once the response has been received.

Limbo of the Lost is a PC adventure game, which features protagonist Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs exploring the realm of Limbo and attempting to steal a book from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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235 comments
jhonel83
jhonel83

what the hell is this talk about? I looked at the screen shots and they are nowhere near Thief or Oblivion. Those are awsome games anyway, I wouldn't mind someone making clones. Hell, Diablo has 1000 and you don't see any lawsuits...

fairygirl116
fairygirl116

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fairygirl116
fairygirl116

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fairygirl116
fairygirl116

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

luigi13579
luigi13579

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

luigi13579
luigi13579

@Fady I honestly think that the Tri Synergy spokesperson is telling the truth. They are only publishing the game after all. It looks like Majestic Studios are to blame, because they developed the game. From what I understand, Majestic Studios developed the game, passed it to Tri Synergy, and they published it without any knowledge of the plagiarism. I mean, if a games company pithced an idea to me (of a game that isn't even in the same genre as Oblivion), and I gave them £2 million to develop it, I definitely wouldn't suspect them of anything like that. I'd be just as shocked as everyone else.

Fady117
Fady117

"oh wow, i swear i didn't know" and "it's the first time i see this" won't work. Never. Those people KNEW they were getting stuff from Oblivion and still deny their crimes. i mean, anyone could notice the similarities. Of course they knew about the Oblivion title during development time, and tried to alter a few things just to conceal the true identity of this so-called epic. and oh god, did anyone see their trailer??? well the trailer says it all :P :P :P

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

This sickens me... Loads of people hate BethSoft because of FO3, but TES are some of my favourite RPGs!

deshazerg
deshazerg

not just sad, but disappointing too. Did they really think they could steal ideas and scenes from two very popular franchises and that no one would notice?

SPD_WeBmAsTaH
SPD_WeBmAsTaH

I was shocked when I first heard of this lol. If the game was absolutely original, but had some barely similar parts to Oblivion, then sure, but to have parts of the game copied directly from Oblivion, now that's just going too far and too low for any developer. That company is now considered a real loser of a company, and that game is the worst in history...........EVER!!! Yay Oblivion.

Xeuton_Mojukai
Xeuton_Mojukai

The thing that has to be kept in mind is that This is a completely different animal from either Thief or Oblivion. This is a point-and-click adventure game. It is not a first-person action-RPG. Not only that, but the screenshot similarities are not in any aspects of either game that could possibly be considered a signature of said game. No Ayleid architecture was seen in Oblivion-esque shots. Nothing involving sneaking into homes or any other such thing. This game is most likely making what we in the world of art call an homage. To you neanderthals, that may be some kind of sensational form of information theft, but really an homage is nothing of the sort. Now, if it turns out that Limbo is actually Oblivion? In that case, Majestic can rot in Limbo... I mean Oblivion... I mean... you know what I mean. ~ XM

runkii
runkii

Wow, Im pretty sure this may qualify for the worst game in history, it might even beat E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 - ALMOST!

Myounage
Myounage

I don't know, Oblivion's environments are so generic and uninspired that it could just be coincidence.

PrototypeNM1
PrototypeNM1

M. Lobster is either a very obvious troll, or a very ignorant individual. Either way he does not merit response.

EchoEcho
EchoEcho

What Mr. Lobster seems to keep ignoring in all the comments against his defense of Majestic, is that the developers of this game abandoned it as a "work of art" a long time ago. Maybe ten years ago when development began they wanted to tell an interesting tale, but by this point all they wanted was to get their cash and get the hell out of dodge. To reiterate for the dozenth time: They didn't plagiarize because it would be "artistic", they plagiarized because they're LAZY AND INCOMPETENT and wanted easy money. Tell me how that is remotely artistic or intellectual. For someone who tries to come off as art-savvy and intelligent, you're dumb as a f***ing brick, and about as dense as one, too.

Philliephan923
Philliephan923

Wow that's really sad to steal from such a great game like Oblivion for this piece of crap game. It's funny that they released that screen shot when it looks practically the same, like no one would notice,right?

thenewau25
thenewau25

ok i dont dissagre but i ll try the game for the story

king_bobo
king_bobo

Well, it's a shame, but I guess they got what was coming to them. It was pretty stupid to even try doing that, because if your going to release games with such blatent similarities, people are going to notice sooner or later. Either way, it's ruined 'Majestic Studios' reputation as a games developer, for now anyway...

mauro_rubens
mauro_rubens

Maybe, just maybe "Publisher Tri Synergy" has been in coma since 2006 and never saw or heard of Bethesda Oblivion... Hard to believe. And as Agulf said, "very ironic, stealing areas from EIDOS Thief. ahahahahaha.

bongo2000
bongo2000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Agulf
Agulf

Ironic, stealing areas from Thief.

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

I just browsed through the screens... it looks like crap anyways!

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

HAHAHAHAHHA That's All I have to say to "Majestic" Studios. HA HA hah hahaha HA

promethus
promethus

"Limbo of the Lost is a PC adventure game, which features protagonist Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs exploring the realm of Limbo and attempting to steal a book from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Sounds like a sci-fi original movie.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

Sounds interesting... Is downloading this game ISO still a crime? Yes.

sarevokmb
sarevokmb

"Features protagonist Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs exploring the realm of Limbo and attempting to steal a book from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Sounds interesting... Is downloading this game ISO still a crime? Yeah, but who cares? It's not like they will be making any money off of it anyway. It's actually good for the dev if you do download it. If you end up liking it, you may buy games they develop in the future. They won't be making any money off of this anymore. Since computer crimes like downloading a game are almost impossible to get in trouble for anyway (they would rather go after the people running the web sites that distribute the games. Those take enough resources and time to go after. It would be crazy to go after the users of the site). Just use morality as your guide. Do you think it is morally fine to download it? If so, go for it. Plus, just keep in mind that they stole when making the game. Is it really bad to steal from a thief?

edhc44
edhc44

"Features protagonist Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs exploring the realm of Limbo and attempting to steal a book from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Sounds interesting... Is downloading this game ISO still a crime?

dreihaddar
dreihaddar

A petty theft of ideas and hard work like this deserves to be brought to light. But, like it or not, Mystery Lobster brings up the point that no one wants to face. Is the game any good? Set aside the plagiarism, and just judge the game on its own merits. Does it suck? If it does, then its sad they brought so much trouble upon themselves for so little. Its refreshing to read opinions from posters like Mystery Lobster, makes me all nostalgic about my art school days. And remember folks, art students can defend anything...as well as convince you that what is in front of them is indeed art as opposed to a mass of paper mache. Not that I'm accusing Lobster of being an art student, I'm not so heartless =D Mysterylobster, while your point is good I think the venue is...unsuitable for this discussion. And just so we're clear. I think they are petty bastards for ripping off and selling the work of other artists without even giving them praise. But STILL lets try to be mature about it and see what they did with their stolen goods.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

do not even compare Djs to this kind of theft. You obviously have little understanding of how sampling in music works. If a dj uses samples he gives credit to where he gets those samples from.

Not always. I was thinking more along the lines of Paul's Boutique. 105 songs from other artists, all used without permission. Yet many hold it up as one of the best albums of its era. Again, I'm not arguing that what they did was right, legal or whatever. All I'm saying is that it should be judged as art just like any other medium. In this sense, I think they succeeded, or at least opened the door for other brave developers.

but, the reality is, art and videogames are not the same thing.

Then there's no sense in talking to you.

intertextualization is not a word, please stop throwing it around like it is.

It's a technical term, central to several modern schools of thought, but probably not common among general readers. In my area of expertise, narrative theory, the word is frequently used to describe the reader's reaction to external sources weaved into a text. The closest word found in most non-technical dictionaries would be "allusion," but that doesn't adequately describe the way different elements are being used here and in other works of art. Thanks for bringing this up, though. It reminds me that not everyone here is familiar with modern theories of art, structuralism and intertexuality, so I may have to explain myself further.

RoboWizard
RoboWizard

I'm surprised to see people actually defending this kind of blatant plagiarism. Certainly, if this were some independent freeware product made by two dudes in college, no one would care; but when it becomes a mass-marketed (or in this case, limited-marketed) product distributed by a competing publisher and developed by an unrelated studio, then it becomes copyright infringement no matter how you slice it. This isn't commentary on gaming culture, this is simply passing someone else's work off as your own.

Am13roses
Am13roses

I must apologize to everyone for this massive post put i felt it was necessary. @Mysterylobster, the developers achieved absolutley nothing in terms of artistic value with this title. there are countless games on the internet that do the same EXACT thing. these games use the scenery and backgrounds from other games, add in a few of their own objects, design a few characters, and create a story (more often then not the story is a half-baked attempt and utterly fails, but some are surprisingly good) the difference between those games and this one, the fact that those games are FREE, and this game is not. This game blatently stole from other developers games without permission and tried to make a profit. even the free games on the net that use this same design concept give credit to where they got their backgrounds from. With that said your entire argument about how the game is artistically "revolutionary" um sorry bud it isn't, as i have already explained this has been done over and over, a countless number of times, so what make this game so original? Mysterylobster said "The large number of games that Limbo references only reinforces the idea that what the developers planned was to create a new universe while constantly making reference to the world of games, through clever sampling of the scenery from other games. The result is a new experience for the gamer, which uses the culture of gaming to great effect. " I can almost guarantee you this was not their aim. They stole the scenery because they were to lazy to create their own and wanted to make a quick profit. the sampling is not clever, if they wished to make references to the world of gaming they would have added little easter eggs and the like, not straight jack other peoples work. the production values are terrible anyways, i have seen games look better than this one that came out 8+ years ago. the experience isnt new, and it doesnt use the culture to great effect. Mysterylobster said "The same reason I praise Hip Hop artists for their deft use of samples. It adds a new dimension to the work. The world of Limbo works on two levels, because they created a new world using elements from within the gaming world. It breaks down all the walls that traditional gaming is confined by. " do not even compare Djs to this kind of theft. You obviously have little understanding of how sampling in music works. If a dj uses samples he gives credit to where he gets those samples from. just go pick up a trance album and you will see that all sources for any non-original sounds on the album are given credit and those sources will recieve royalties from all sales of the album. This game does not break down any walls, at all, end of story. Gaming companies do this kind of thing all the time. for example the Havok (sp?) physics engine is used in many games. the engine was taken from the original creator and used in a different game. But, credit is given to the original creator and thus it is legal, and let me see does it do the same thing this game is doing by borrowing from one game/company/developer? why, yes it does, and there are countless games that do this, so how is this game breaking down anywalls? Mysterylobster said "You may disagree with how they went about making the game, but hold judgment on the game itself until you actually see how they put these elements together create something new and exciting. I'll bet even Bethesda is curious to see how their creations were used to push the art of video games forward. " this isnt new or exciting its theft. you got something right, Bethesda is curious, curious of how much money they will get out of this lawsuit, i doubt they are curious of how "their creations were used to push the art of video games forward" instead im sure they are pretty infuriated. mysterylobster said "It's prevalent in music, graphic design, pop art, and many other modes of expression. The developers of Limbo are trying to blow the art of video games wide open, but as you can see, there are a lot of narrow minded people out there. " the use of material in pop art and graphic design is not technically copyright infringement. I cannot recall the exact term but elements used in a collage are usually not copyrighted. there are special laws for this kind of thing but i can assure you they do not apply to the theft of video game developers property. examples of this in pop art is much of andy worhals works. The LOVE statue has been used over and over and over without his permission and nothing has happened to the people that used it. this is mainly because these people are not trying to pass it off as original, and everyone knows that andy worhal was the original artist. Its kind of a given, the same goes for the L.H.O.O.Q. everyone knows davinci did the original mona lisa and Duchamp did not try and pass this off as his own, he knew everyone would recognize the mona lisa and the true art was his whole satire thing. Now, you may be thinking i just proved your point with the whole theft of art thing. but, the reality is, art and videogames are not the same thing. sure videogames are a means of artistic expression but they are not the same thing as the art you find in an art gallery. The love statue and Mona lisa are iconic, and assume an identity of their own, videogames do not and here the logic of your argument breaks down. mysterylobster said "I'm not aware of any computer game developer using this kind of intertexualization before, and certainly not to this extent." intertextualization is not a word, please stop throwing it around like it is. and this kind of game development has been done before. i really doubt all this work i have put into this post will have any effect on you mysterylobster but at least i tried to show you how your arguments make no sense and are almost completely wrong. you have the right idea and i actually do understand where you are coming from and what it is you are saying, but it just doesnt work.

StephenHu
StephenHu

Heh, Gamespot did use that headline an User suggested.

musicaz70
musicaz70

Bwahahah... It's like they just took some random good to great games and stole a bunch of minor stuff right from them thinking no one would catch on... Ah jeez, I don't even find this that bad, just funny how lame these guys are.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

Mysterylobster, you continue to ignore the point that these people have profited from their thievery of other true artist's hard work.

I don't care whether they made a million dollars off the game or if they gave it away for free. These ethical questions are completely divorced from the final product's artistic achievement.

the three "developers" who orchestrated this debacle did not have the motive of "creating" art when they decided to rip off over TWO DOZEN games.

I disagree, of course. As I said before, the number of outside elements that they managed to weave into their creation only reinforces the idea that what they were attempting was a new kind of computer game art.

If they had respect for those games, they would have contacted the developers of the games in question to ask permission before stealing the backgrounds from over two dozen other games.

They should have contacted them. We can't say what they would have done in that situation.

dgraves321
dgraves321

Mysterylobster, you continue to ignore the point that these people have profited from their thievery of other true artist's hard work. Also, you are ignoring the facts of this whole debacle lead to the conclusion that the three "developers" who orchestrated this debacle did not have the motive of "creating" art when they decided to rip off over TWO DOZEN games. Their sole motive was to make as much money as they could before going on "vacation" Your art motive has yet another hole in the point that if they had the "art motive" that would imply that they had respect for the games that they were ripping off. If they had respect for those games, they would have contacted the developers of the games in question to ask permission before stealing the backgrounds from over two dozen other games.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

Ok, so that would be like you stealing someones thesis paper for college and taking an A for it despite you not doing any of the work, getting caught for stealing it, then turning around and saying "oh it's ok that I stole someone elses work, let's just enjoy it while I pass the class" This argument has been made numerous times in these comments. My response is the same as before: don't confuse a term paper with art. Stealing a term paper from another student would lack the cultural subtext that turns theft into art.

"According to MYSTERYLObStER'S logic, if I xerox a copy of the Mona Lisa and put my own shoddy frame around it, I deserve credit and praise for creating a brilliant masterpiece." Again, it depends on the artistic merits of such an intertexualization. See Marcel Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q. http://www.marcelduchamp.net/L.H.O.O.Q.php -Mystery Lobster

thenewau25
thenewau25

whatever , i just try the game thats all n no matter how crappy is!

GeneralArrow
GeneralArrow

Its not just the art on the walls that they copied its most of the environments and item placements as well.

HelIWithoutSin
HelIWithoutSin

According to MYSTERYLObStER'S logic, if I xerox a copy of the Mona Lisa and put my own shoddy frame around it, I deserve credit and praise for creating a brilliant masterpiece.

CureForLiving
CureForLiving

I'm left speechless by how blatant the ripp off is!

grigjd3
grigjd3

What Mazzo does not understand is that the developement team consists of three people. If you start googling the details of this story, it just keeps getting worse. What Ripper hasn't done is look at the actual screen shots. It's absolutely amazing to me that these three guys could be so stupid that they blatantly rip screen shots straight from well known games and decide that's not a bad idea. I'm actually wondering if Tri Synergy will ever be able to find these guys again or if Majestic really is that dumb and this isn't an elaborate con-job.

Pete5506
Pete5506

What is the game? Its new to me

BobbyIncubus
BobbyIncubus

The protagonist's name sounded familiar, so I looked it up. Benjamin Spooner Briggs was an actual historical figure who disappeared, along with his crew and family, off of the ship the Mary Celeste in the 1800's. Arthur Conan Doyle later wrote a fictional story based on these circumstances. There's nothing wrong with using an historical figure in a game but, given the source of some of their artwork, this makes me wonder if anything at all in Limbo is original. I've never read Conan Doyle's story and I'm not a history buff, so I'm not sure why the name sounded familiar.

pidow
pidow

There is enough people who could give this company ideas on making a game that does not resemble another games shots, story lines, etc., I may be of some help!. Write me.

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

 @jhonel83 wow first of all, what pictures are you looking at... i see exact matches.... and as far as "Diablo clones".. well its one thing to copy a play style (like said "Diablo clones") and its completely different to use imagery from other games (which by the way is illegal as far as international copyright laws)... so i seriously hope you are trolling because if not you sir/madame are misinformed