Bleak Faith: Forsaken, a newly-released soulslike game from Archangel Studios in Belgrade, has recently sparked controversy due to accusations of stolen animations and art.
The development team is being accused of taking shortcuts and using animations and art directly copied from FromSoftware games without proper credit or permission.
Comparative materials have surfaced online, revealing the striking similarities between some of the attacks in Bleak Faith and those in popular FromSoftware titles like Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne.
It was later discovered that the animations were allegedly bought from a seller named “PersiaNinja” on the Epic Marketplace, a platform for Unreal Engine game developers that offers a vast selection of pre-made game systems, animations, textures, and models.
Archangel Studios has defended themselves, claiming that they are not at fault for the situation, and that they purchased the animations as part of a package on the Epic Marketplace.
Maybe if we tell them to remove the garbage AI illustrations from the game, they will do that too. I was excited for Bleak Faith and seeing Midjourney shit in it was a major turn off. https://t.co/mnrvMoBSj5 pic.twitter.com/meoARFATfu
— TARNISHED MISHA (@yaboimisha) March 11, 2023
They also clarified that roughly 10% of their production consists of pre-made products, but it is still unclear who should be held responsible for the stolen content.
The developers have attempted to make amends by submitting an application to Epic Games as a “sign of goodwill”, but their actions have been met with skepticism by the community.
The ethical lapse has tarnished the reputation of the studio, particularly as Bleak Faith was financed on Kickstarter in 2019.
Another issue has emerged on Twitter, where it was revealed that the illustrations of perks in the game were created using artificial intelligence, which could potentially constitute copyright infringement. The developers have promised to change the images in response to the backlash.
While it is understandable that the team of Archangel Studios, consisting of only three people, may have taken shortcuts in an ambitious project like Bleak Faith, it is still unacceptable to steal content from other games without proper attribution or permission.
The accusations have cast a shadow over the debut of Bleak Faith, and have sparked a broader conversation about the ethics of game development.