Limbo of the Lost devs respond to plagiarism charges

Studio accused of stealing from other games apologizes, says it was unaware that outsourced talent was submitting copied content.

166 Comments

Earlier this month, the PC adventure game Limbo of the Lost came under heavy fire for apparently copying artwork from other games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Thief: Deadly Shadows. When the initial story broke, the game's US publisher issued a statement saying it had no idea about the improprieties, and that attempts to contact developer Majestic Studios had been unsuccessful as the team was on break after finishing up the game.

The developers apparently came back to work today, as a source connected to Majestic issued to GameSpot the following statement from the studio:

"In response to the shocking notification that some alleged unauthorized copyrighted materials submitted by sources external to the development team have been found within the PC game Limbo of the Lost, we (the development team) have given our consent and full cooperation to both publishers who are recalling all units from all territories immediately.

Please be assured that we do not condone in anyway the use of unauthorized copyrighted materials and if we had been made aware earlier, we would of course have ceased development of the product and rectified the issue prior to the publication process.

To the best of our knowledge no one at Majestic, [European publisher] G2Games or [North American publisher Tri Synergy, Inc.] knew about this infringement and knowingly played any part in it.

We can only apologise to all regarding this issue, as a team we are shocked and mortified regarding these events and we continue to work with said publishers in order to rectify the issue.

Limbo of the Lost is a point-and-click adventure game in which players guide protagonist Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs as he explores the realm of Limbo and The Keep of Lost Souls at its heart.

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CapinKirk

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I've played this game and it's total 100% CRAP, it's not worth the space on your hard drive. I'd have more fun on miniclips. com. get the new LIMBO 2011, awesome game. it's not in any way associated with this game

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storm_trooper10

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Disgrace to Britain... Lionhead Studio should chop their heads off (or they're d!cks)

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deactivated-5940fed791b8c

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For all we know, this company is probably just saying they were unaware to avoid lawsuits.

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jello_flouride

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I don't care what anyone says, you have to know full well what your dev team is sticking in a game you apprently created in the first place.

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fairygirl116

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

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chertoo

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could be just 1 jackass who contributed to the game these plagiarized pics, doesnt mean the rest of the company knew anything, probably just 1 jackass trying to make a living off others work

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Fady117

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seriously, i think laziness and money issues are behind all this. those guys didnt have the proper hi-tech hardware and software to go graphics-crazy, they only had old timers. so they thought, "hey bud, why not rip this and fetch that and we'll just modify a few things", knowing that the TES series are highly appreciated and surely would allow Limbo of the Lost to be admired due to its "graphics". and then, BLAM!!! they get caught, and "heeeeey we didn't know! we swear we swear we swear we swear". my instinct tells me this is what happened.

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Fady117

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look at that: first the developpers were unreachable, and now "oooh but we didnt know truly!!". Shame. Epic shame. and what about their trailer? 50 bucks say they made it up the night before their "vacation". I will repeat this phrase: "These guys are a disgrace to the gaming community". Period.

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sneaksiegarrett

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iceveiled: "These guys are a disgrace to the gaming community." Agreed!

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UltimateXShadow

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To Majestic Studios: /facepalm Honestly, it's a shame that they did this: a damn shame. :(

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SandManT1

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this game looks like crap anyways i mean look at the rest of the screens

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iceveiled

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These guys are a disgrace to the gaming community. All they have to do is say "look we're sorry, we should not have stolen all those assets and we've learned our lesson". But no, they continue to deny everything and act like they had no idea. I hope they get their asses sued off.

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Flatland013975

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I honestly think TESM was being sarcastic.

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klugenbeel

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Seriously, thats the best excuse you could come up with....just looking at screen shots this game SCREAMS low budgets, so them stealing wouldn't surprise me....its much cheaper to steal than to make something yourself. I think i've seen better graphics in MYST.

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EnriqueMJK

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"I swear none of us who made the game or published it had any idea! It wasn't us...it was them!" Who exactly are the "outsourced developers"? Why no identification? Seriously if they claim to be involved in the game industry how could they not notice the blatant rip offs. The publishers have got to be mighty pissed they paid to have the game made, packaged, shipped, and put on store shelves all to have made no money on it, then have to pay to get it all back. That sucks.

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CastratedWeasel

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They better take their money and run cos Bethesdas gonna come down on them like a ton of bricks! Oh wait the game was crap so they dont get the money lol

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tromatized

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Look at the green bar on the top! They stole from WOW too... << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

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Swordlink

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rofl, didn't know anything about it... and TESM... please don't try to say things like QED when you obviously don't know what they mean... lol... that was so out of place...

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TESM

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Really, it's one of those things where, on one hand, the clunky movements, the poor hit detection, and sub-par graphics and on the other hand, all the press releases on how they were making the game seems like one big practical joke, and I love it. The gaming world needs stuff like this to keep it honest. Sure there are big productions, but this hails back to the old days of games where everyone ripped each other off, used bits and pieces of other's ideas and generally made bad/sub-par games. This whole thing is just a couple of guys who did a 1980's/early 90's thing too late. remember it was originally for Atari (I believe). So now it's all making sense.

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TheLostLegion

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@TESM I understand it's not easy, but it's not harder. It's good that they have so much creativity, but they should not rip anything off. And have you even played the game?

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TESM

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Don't you all understand that the ability to orchestrate all these many facets from different games, books, obscure movies, etc into one game takes far more effort (rather the effort it takes to do such things) is far harder than making a game originally? I mean, they took from so much, even Dungeons and Dragons. Who thinks of that stuff? This is by far the greatest effort to be bad and lazy I have ever seen. Q.E.D. this is the greatest effort I have ever seen at being a good game. It takes talent to recreate a world that had already been imagined. You should all thank Steve Bovis and the Majestic team for realizing something far greater than we all can realize, and that is: THE KING OF LIMBOOOOOO (doo-wap). Let the voting for GOTY begin... It already has, Gamespot.... it already has.... ....or is it?

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CaptCheeseGuy

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I can understand if they parodied environments in other games in a funny and tasteful manner. But judging by the screenshots it looks like the developers are just being lazy.

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Maxer9

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Timstuff: The guy who funded the project is a professional poker player, I think. Has some money, I think.

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P0T

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Its obvious they knowlingly did this. Your meaning to tell me they outsourced 95% of the game considering 95% of it is stolen? I call bullcrap!

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jaymaster007

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This brings a big new meaning to "Full of Sh**"

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Taegre

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And guys it's been confirmed that even the concept art for the game was plagiarized, and there's no way they'd have an outsourced company do their concept art. Almost hurts to see how many people are believing their statement.

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sieg6529

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they're lucky that it was revealed early on, or this could have gotten messy

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Timstuff

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Also, suing Majestic probably wouldn't be worth the offended parties' time, since I'm guessing that they don't even have any money to pay out in the first place. I mean c'mon, they stole screenshots from the internet-- they couldn't even afford to buy the games they stole from, and take their own screens. In all likeliness, Bethesda and others will just roll their eyes and move on.

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RoboWizard

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"At any rate, the developer should sue their overseas "artists" for breach of contract, in addition to the legal troubles they have tied them to." Who said anything about overseas? I know there's a popular stigma against outsourcing and its relationship to China, but in this case "outsourcing" could simply refer to "some guys down the street". Just about every big software project on Earth is outsourced to some extent, but it sounds like in this case they went with the lowest bidder and ended up paying the price. I doubt Bethesda would bother suing over something this inconsequential, but I wouldn't be surprised if Majestic considered legal actions.

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yourbeliefs

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You'd figure if you were going to plagiarize, you would do it from lesser known games. Those 2, especially Oblivion, are pretty heavy hitters. That's like Vanilla Ice using the music from Queen/David Bowie's "Pressure" in "Ice Ice Baby."

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ZacOz

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"That buys Majestic studios a lot of time, since now anybody wanting to press charges against them will have to prove that this outsourced company doesn't exist before they can fully pin the damages on Majestic." (Taegre) I'm no lawyer, but have done some contract law study in past years, and the only way I could see Majestic could avoid getting immediately sued was if they could provide a contract where the outsourcer has indemnified Majestic. The responsibility isn't on the Publishers to prove there was no outsourcer but on Majestic to prove they are indemnified by said outsourced third party. After reading a number of the forums Steve Bovis was posting in during the game development it smacks of amatuerish development. I'm therefore inclined to think it's possible that even if an outsourcer was involved, Majestic may not have had such a contract indemnity. I've got to wonder if the outsourced help was actually Bovis' supposed daughter "Fable" from Just Adventure (<< LINK REMOVED >>) and Game Boomers (<< LINK REMOVED >>) forums. In the end, there's just too much fishy about the whole thing when you do some research on it to believe this outsourced **** apparently being peddled by Majestic now. By the way, who is this "source connected to the Majestic"? One of the 3 developers, their lawyer? Why not be a little more descriptive if it's a genuine Majestic statement?

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YoungFang

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Lies

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TESM

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Many of you find this an outrage. Apparently someone just happened to notice some screens. Seems like they were copied and pasted, but this seems like the best/worst game parody I've ever seen. The ending is amazing, and isn't it just social gaming satire that no one makes anything new or interesting anymore?

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Timstuff

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Apparently, Chinese slave lords have gotten so lazy that they aren't even putting real slaves in their sweatshops anymore. A simple bypass of the regime's internet censors must have seemed like a goldmine for material once they discovered Google images. At any rate, the developer should sue their overseas "artists" for breach of contract, in addition to the legal troubles they have tied them to. They were paid for the labor involved in creating artwork, and instead they simply stole screenshots from the internet, a process which takes mere minutes. They did not do the work they were paid to do, and did not deliver the product promised to the developer.

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jmper4

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jrett "I cannot accept that a group of people smart enough to program games would intentionally take such an obviously bad risk." That would be because if you look at the forms for Wintermute (the engine for the game) Steve Bovis requested assistance numerous times on help for scripting the code for the game. So they (Majestic Studios, three people) could not even program the game.

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jrett

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Oh, and one more thing... .C'mon... I've played oblivion for over 100 hours, along with hundreds of other games in my life. I'm not going to recognize one or two scenes from any game that I've played unless the scenes were for some reason really really memorable, or someone held the two scenes in front of me so that I can compare. Gimme a break.

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jrett

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Wow, I can't believe all the negativity in the posts here. It is pretty widely known that unlicensed use of copyrighted materials is a very bad idea. I cannot accept that a group of people smart enough to program games would intentionally take such an obviously bad risk. I work in the software industry, not games, but software, and everywhere I've worked it was an obvious and big no no to use unlicensed stuff. Given that, I completely believe the dev house was in the dark. I think the developers biggest mistake here was to blindly trust their outsourced resources. The big story here is who the heck are these people that actually did the theft. I'd like to hear what they have to say.

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xsa

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@jazilla You seem to fail at seeing how the world works, the vast majority of developers(including those that develop games) see it as work and nothing more. Those few people I know that work or has worked at a gaming company claim that it's pretty much only those that are doing the testing work that are really interested in gaming, the rest see it as purely business.

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dgraves321

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That is such bull$h!t. Wouwie's post to two different places where Bovis states that created all of the visuals for this game settles this matter in my eyes. This guy tried to take all the credit for creating the visuals, and now that he has been exposed, he's shifting the blame to "sources external to the development team". Man up and take the punishment that's coming to you.

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Henninger

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Thats messed up (wana say f word but gamespot won't let me) they can't take the time 2 create a game they gotta copy, cut, & paste from some1 else?! Thats funny but said also. How r they even in business? I would go back & look @ all their games & c if they used other company's materials also.

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GhostyMcboo

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As a designer, i often tell my clients "no... we'll take our own photo for this project... I am not going to manipulate someone else's work to make a quick buck... besides, i won't even get in trouble for it. YOU will." It is so easy to create content when you get the right outsourcing (or even in house). I hate it when the suits and middlemen compromise good work for speed. They suffer in the end, anyways.

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king_loei

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Man... I'd expect this from some faceless corporations involved in the clothing or fast food part of our lives... But videogames and gamers in general should have their own code of honor in respect to each other, because a game is a work of art and should be treated as such. We have higher expectations then the rest of the world has for the before mentioned products. This is sick.

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Royas

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"Pass the buck" is alive and well in the gaming industry. Somebody is eventually going to have to man up and take responsibility for this debacle. It's not like it's a minor case of accidentally making a texture that looks sorta like something in Oblivion, this is a case of taking everything from there. I really can't believe nobody noticed, even if they are telling the truth about outsourcing.

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jazilla

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If these people are saying that NO ONE on the dev team had ever seen Oblivion before, they might as well say that 2+2=7. There is absolutely no way that no one on that team or in those offices hadn't ever played ESIV. I can't believe that they would even lie like that. Just be HONEST and admit you plagiarized. Fix it, then move on.

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soneca210

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Steve Wonder says: Don't Look :3

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grigjd3

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"we have given our full consent" meaning yeah, we gave our consent to do something we had no power over anyways. If that's not the most pompous and ridiculous thing to say at this point. Did Bethesda give their consent to have their material ripped right out of the game with screen shots and plastered into a hack excuse of a game?

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avatarofwoe314

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Your apology won't save you now.

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Titanfan2083

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This is a bull$#!7 excuse and we all know it.

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Tandem_Toad

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There's no way that this was an; "oops, we accidentally created the same exact room, please for give us," deals.

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magicteapot

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Um, to anyone saying outsourced... if that's the case they WOULD BE MORALLY OBLIGATED to say who did that work, immediately. They have no just cause to cover for someone doing something that illegal and creatively fraudulent. The fact they've said no one is a giant, flaming proof they're just issuing a denial to cover their guilt. Scumbags.

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