Steam scammers allegedly stealing and selling indie developer’s free Unreal “Superman” demo [Updated]

Steam scammers allegedly stealing and selling indie developer's free Unreal "Superman" demo [Updated]
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Update (midday ET): The Steam listing of Heroes City Superman Edition was removed shortly after this track went live. You can still view this is the Internet Archive link. Butler-Boschma’s review attacking the game as a hoax archived here.

Valve has yet to respond to Ars’ request for comment.

Original story:

A video of the Unreal Engine 5 demo that Butler-Boschma released in April.

In April, indie developer Tyson Butler-Boschma Releases a free, Unreal Engine 5 powered “Superman-Style Flight Experience” o Now it says scammers have been selling a stolen version of this demo on Steam for weeks without permission from Valve or any visible action.

City of Heroes Superman Edition It was released on Steam on November 1, and developer Hero Game Studios described the game as “a unique experience where you can choose your own hero and have an adventure on a large realistically rendered map”. Since that time Sold for up to $35 Although it looks like a carbon copy of Butler-Boschma’s long-running free demo.

After seeing the Steam version as “scam” and the November 1 tweetButler-Boschma Posted a Steam review on November 9th He claims that Steam developer Hero Game Studios “just downloaded this work, stole it, and gave it away as if it were his own.”


In response to the review, Hero Game Studios claims Butler-Boschma is one of its “former developers” who left the project and is now trying to claim the rights to the game for profit (although the demo has always been around). Free). “It’s a lie, I have no idea who they are,” Butler-Boschma writes. “They claim to have made this game… it’s also a lie.”

Butler-Boschma seems to have most of the evidence on this. On the demo page released in April, Butler-Boschma describes a free “just for fun” demo “as a test of what a future Superhero game like Superman might be like in a large-scale modern city UE5.” This page is also on the demo It is also open about the fact that it was built. Epic’s The Matrix Awakens city ​​examplesthe main character was simply replaced by a “flying superhero variant of my own design”.

“I made this demo myself months ago using mostly free assets as proof of concept,” Butler-Boschma writes in his Steam review. “I’ve always been open and honest about it…”

The Steam page for City of Heroes is only Created at the end of September and only posted a handful of screenshots from the game. The studio doesn’t seem to have any other games or any web presence supporting its title or its long-standing development efforts. And that doesn’t even go into the obvious copyright issues of selling a game with “Superman Edition” in the title without any license from DC Comics or Warner Bros.

It's getting ready to crash.
expand / It’s getting ready to crash.

Despite all this, Butler-Boschma also says that Hero Game Studios is after him. his YouTube accountuses the copyright strike system to remove a video of the demo it released in April. That copyright strike apparently quoting the Steam page for the game As proof that Hero Game Studios “wants this game that belongs to us to be deleted from this video”.

Butler-Boschma: “At this point they are directly attacking and harassing me” tweeted out. “I don’t feel safe providing my personal information for counterclaim…”

If that all sounds a little familiar, it may be because of similarities to a summer event NiFTy Arcade attended. Copied and sold unlicensed versions of HTML5 games available for free on GameStop’s NFT marketplace. Both cases highlight how easy it is for scammers to use lax market surveillance standards to try to profit from free games created by others, and how vigilant free software game manufacturers must be for such signs of theft.

Valve has yet to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica.

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