Feeds

UK developer trio accused of game plagiarism

US distributor yanks Limbo of the Lost

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A former pub landlord and two chums who together created a computer game and signed a big distribution deal with a major US games supplier have been accused of ripping off other titles' content.

Back in May, local newspaper the Kent Messenger interviewed Steve Bovis, Tim Croucher and Laurence Francis, all from Maidstone, Kent, who had developed a game called Limbo of the Lost, building on a concept they came up with in the 1990s.

"Between the three of us we researched, wrote, designed, animated, scripted and developed the whole game from home," Francis, 47, told the paper.

"Our hope, if everything goes well with the sales," he added, "is that within a year we will all be stopping the day jobs and doing this full time."

Skip forward a month or so to early June, and Limbo of the Lost - the title comes from a book about the Bermuda Triangle - is now on sale in the States. It's distributed by Tri Synergy, the company with whom the trio, who operate as Majestic Studios, had done the deal that prompted the Kent Messenger story.

A copy of the game found itself in the hands of Eric Franck, a writer with website GamePlasma. He gave it a try and was surprised to find some of the scenes in the game seemed strangely familiar. He fired up Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and was shocked to see images from the older game apparently reproduced in the new title:

Limbo of the Lost
Elder Scrolls

Limbo of the Lost (top) and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Images courtesy GamePlasma

Franck produced a series of side-by-side screengrabs showing the apparent similarities he spotted. You can see the full selection on GamePlasma here.

That was last week. Since then numerous gamers have posted what they allege are more instances of scenes in Limbo of the Lost that bear remarkable resemblances to areas from titles like BioShock, Crysis, Unreal Tournament 2004, Painkiller, Diablo 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and many others.

A forum on GamesRadar has this pair and a stack of others:

Limbo of the Lost
Unreal Tournament 2004

Limbo of the Lost (top) and Unreal Tournament 2004
Images courtesy Games Radar

It's been alleged that the game contains screens and even footage taken from DVDs of movies like Pirates of the Carribean and Sea Dogs.

Limbo of the Lost is a point-and-click adventure in the tradition of Myst. The player's presented with a static view of a location. A click with the mouse indicates the direction you want to move in, and up pops a picture of the location you've moved too. Back in the mid-1990s, they were all the rage.

Tri Synergy said it was "shocked" by the screenshot comparisons. "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," it said.

"Tri Synergy will discontinue distribution of Limbo of the Lost in both retail and online outlets. We have contacted the developer, Majestic, and are anxiously awaiting their response. "

So do we. Drop us a line, guys.

Thanks to Andrew Ferguson for the tip.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?