On March 12, 2023 a tweet by @meowmaritus created some waves in the gaming community. The tweet was paired with a comparison video where you can see that the animations in Elden Ring and Bleak Faith: Forsaken look very similar. Check it out below, if you missed it.
Saw this footage floating around. Bleak Faith: Forspoken is 100% using animations ripped directly 1:1 from Elden Ring.
I do NOT condone people using my DS Anim Studio software to aid in exporting animations to include in commercial products or sell them on Epic Games Store. pic.twitter.com/9JHGMeu9as
— Meowmaritus (@meowmaritus) March 12, 2023
This tweet lead to discussions and accusations of allegedly stealing animations from Elden Ring and other FromSoftware titles. The devs of Bleak Faith: Forsaken have now responded.
UPDATE: The devs have now removed assets it was accused of stealing from Elden Ring. Here’s the tweet thread.
As promised here is an update on the animation asset issue. We have heard back from the escalation team at Epic which was as follows:
“Pursuant to the Marketplace Distribution Agreement, each Marketplace seller represents and warrants to Epic that they have
— Bleak Faith (@bleak_faith) March 13, 2023
Original story follows.
Devs Respond to Accusations of Bleak Faith: Forsaken Stealing Elden Ring’s Animations
The devs of Bleak Faith: Forsaken mentioned their side of the story regarding the stolen assets controversy on Discord. Here’s their complete statement. We’ve pasted it in its entirety, in case you don’t have a Discord account to view the announcement. This has been posted by Lead Developer, Writer, Animator, Artist @überfaith42
1) We’re always been transparent about using the Epic Marketplace for animations that are good and fit our theme (the rest I made – we just needed more variety and I’m not an animator by trade, I had to learn for this game) – the link to the main one getting flack I will put at the end, you can buy it yourself, and try making Bleak Faith yourself too!
2) The only other things from the Epic Marketplace that I use is for generic VFX that was a waste of time to make since I’d make things that looked virtually the same anyway, and things that are so generic (like some rocks) that didn’t require artistic direction. THE ENTIRE WORLD was built by hand. So about 10% of the art is outsourced, whereas AAA companies outsource about 70% of their art (since they have the budget, we don’t have that option and so any idea we have needs to be made in-house). Same goes for our trailers, you guys love them, and they are all made by 2 people. My brother and myself. ALL AAA companies outsource their promotional work to other companies. Keep that in mind as well.
Another additional thing, Rotoscoping is a technique in animation where you trace other movement (animations, videos, anything). If timings overlap in an animation on completely separate rigs, that’s not something you can copyright easily and mostly not worth trying to do. If you find animations that are similar, on completely separate rigs and skeletons, it’s more than likely rotoscoping is involved as a method of tracing. You can’t just trace a brand logo and use it as your own, but you can trace a lot of things and those things do become your own.
Just an update on this, I’ve submitted a ticket raising the concerns of the community to the Epic Customer Service and outlining the animation accusations. We decided to be preemptive as a sign of good faith and a generally very pleased customer at the Epic Marketplace. We’ll let you know what they say about it and will respond accordingly.
And a second point, we’re not judges or versed in what is and isn’t allowed, or who owns the rights to any of these animations. This is why we reached out, to get some confirmation about the person who makes these animations.
I’ve thought on the issue myself since last night and seeing the comparison footage was already a pretty crap experience (I have not played any titles more than a few minutes here and there, and spent some more time with DS3). REGARDLESS of the legal situation, even if it all turns out to be fine and nobody has a problem and this seller is a legit person/s (which all of the customers were lead to believe by the seller existing on the store for so long and many creators using their work) – I still will spend my time going forward working on alternatives.
I want to stress this decision comes currently purely out of an artistic lens, as an artist I take pride in all the manual work and unique things I’ve built over the course of these many years – I WANTED the game to stand out and bring its own flare in as many ways as possible. I definitely wasn’t aware any of the animations were really similar to anything else, I just thought we were doing business with a legitimate entity and that their work fits our vision of the combat.If it turns out that this seller is illegitimate, we will have all been victims of nefarious behavior. I have also reached out to the seller’s email.
Our intention was always to make something unique, and those that have given the game a chance have taken note that we really weren’t here to make a copy of anything, or build off of someone else’s success. We may have missed the quality mark on a lot of fronts (that we’re working on and will continue working on), but we definitely have shown that there’s a lot of originality. I hope to see this situation resolved as soon as possible, and am completely willing (and waiting since it’s the weekend) to get to the bottom of this with Epic.
If there is any new information about this situation, we will update this article.