Soulslike dev accused of reusing FromSoftware animations

Update: The developer has removed the assets, and Epic said that it can't guarantee that asset marketplace sellers are following the rules.

Bleak Faith: Forsaken is a recently released soulslike from indie developer Archangel that resembles a cybergoth take on the FromSoftware formula. How close it is to FromSoftware games, particularly Elden Ring, has become a point of contention as, since its release on March 10, players have begun pointing out just how familiar some of its animations are.

For instance, here's a comparison of Bleak Faith's claymore attacks with those of Elden Ring's uchigatana and straight sword. And here's a compilation of more animation similarities, including a character who seems to have some of Malenia's moves, and another who apparently has those of an Abyss Watcher from Dark Souls 3.

While plenty of games have used animations that took inspiration from elsewhere, as with Genshin Impact's widely noted similarities to Nier Automata, these do seem to be in a different category. Rather than resembling FromSoftware games, they look like they've been extracted directly from them using the DSAnimStudio program beloved by modders, and then tweaked slightly.

On both Discord and the game's Steam forum, Archangel Studios addressed the accusations, explaining that some of Bleak Faith's animations are assets purchased from the Epic Marketplace and linking to the profile of an Unreal Engine asset-seller named PersiaNinja. One of the assets sold there, labeled PN Axe Animations, closely resembles the moveset of Bloodborne's Hunter Axe.

"The marketplace was used to fill in generic art and was still edited to fit in the general needs of the art direction," a developer named Roia said on Steam, estimating that "about 10% of the total game art is from there." On Archangel's Discord, another developer going by ubermensch42 said that, "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."

That didn't do much to make the complaints die down, and later today ubermensch42 added, "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."

At the same time, a separate issue was raised on Twitter, where it was pointed out that Bleak Faith's perk illustrations are AI-generated art and have the distinctively bland look that comes with it. The developers replied there as well, saying they would replace the art. "We hear you about it," they wrote, "we're working on new icons currently. It was somewhat of an oversight but also a decision that came from an honest place. We value the feedback however and will have redone perk icons up today!" 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.