Death Trash dev calls out 'copycat' on Steam: 'Please rename your game'

 Death Trash.  

 Death Trash.  

Death Trash is a gross, gritty RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland which happens to contain a city named Fucktopia. FukTopia, meanwhile, is a 2D fighting game which has clearly borrowed Death Trash's art style and descriptions—so much so that Death Trash developer Stephan Hövelbrinks recently accused FukTopia developer Freeminds Studios of plagiarism. 

Have a look at FukTopia's description alongside the description for Death Trash: 

The similarities are obvious—with some phrases directly lifted from Death Trash—and Hövelbrinks wasn't the only one that caught them. Several players criticized FukTopia on its Steam community hub. In a response to one thread from February 23, Freeminds again used Death Trash's wording:

"FukTopia is a concept," Freeminds said. "It is inspired in the term Dystopia, but we are creating our own concept where FukTopia is a post-apocalyptic society view with influences of cyberpunk, science, horror, the grotesque and trash humor." 

Today, Hövelbrinks wrote a post of his own, asking Freeminds to change their game's name:

"Dear developers of this game, you were plagiarizing a few elements of my game Death Trash," he said. "You removed some of those elements from the Store Page. But the name of the game you also took from one of the locations in my game. Please rename your game."

At the time of writing, Freeminds has not responded to Hövelbrinks' post. However, one Steam user replied to point out that FukTopia also bears a resemblance to 2D fighter Mother Russia Bleeds, which Hövelbrinks also mentioned on in his original Twitter thread.

Mother Russia Bleeds developer Le Cartel Studio confirmed Freeminds reached out to them before posting FukTopia, and that they have no problem with the game's references but instead view them as "a tribute." Freeminds discussed this conversation in another Steam community hub post:

"One of the creators of the Mother Russia Bleeds game got in touch months ago, he said he liked our project and we can go ahead with the game," Freeminds said. "This week they officially confirmed here that there is no problem with our game because we have our own and unique ideas with characters and enemies with our own attacks and special skills. And if the official creators approved months ago we continued making the game." 

However, as Hövelbrinks told me over email, Freeminds did not contact him at all. 

It sabotages my design process.

Stephan Hövelbrinks

"I wasn't contacted by this developer. As a single developer I don't have a legal department and no budget for this, so I have to rely on my own knowledge and advice from the community, so I opted for not spending my energy on this," Hövelbrinks said. "The gameplay and a few of the character styles seem to be from Mother Russia Bleeds. I can see how it might look like a tribute to that. I don't think making an inspired work is bad per se. What I personally had a problem with was direct plagiarism of elements and style, and I don't expect most people to identify them like I could.

"I do think there could be more tools on Steam to report bad behavior," he continued. "The occurrence of accusations and the developer deleting threads should be enough to flag this as a problematic situation, and if there is, maybe at least bury the title from the 'More Like This' section of the store pages."

Death Trash. 

Death Trash. 

Critically, unlike Mother Russia Bleeds, Death Trash is still unreleased and does not yet have a Steam page, meaning FukTopia's presence on the store preempts the game it's drawing from. Hövelbrinks addressed this problem in a separate Twitter thread:

"I named a location Fucktopia and that's what they call their game," he said. "A user on Steam pointed out that it's kind of lame, 'teenager cool.' Agreed, but in Death Trash this makes perfect sense because it offsets the grimdark elements, balances them. But now I have to think about the scenario that a person played that other game before, comes to Fucktopia, and thinks it's even more lame because I named it after that other post-apocalyptic game. It sabotages my design process."

Freeminds has since scrubbed some of the more obvious similarities from FukTopia's Steam page and Tumblr, though the issue of its name remains. At this time, we have been unable to directly contact Freeminds for comment.

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.