It's been a rough few weeks for Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic (opens in new tab), the hardcore Soviet city builder from Slovak studio 3Division. Back in mid-February, the studio announced that the game had been removed from Steam (opens in new tab) after a former "respected member of the community" filed a DMCA request against the game. His reason? He was convinced that the devs had ripped off a guide he had written for the game—Cosmonaut Mode—when they added a "realistic mode (opens in new tab)" to the game in December last year.
The fan—reportedly a lawyer—began to make legal threats to the team, as well as copyright strikes against Workers and Resources' YouTube channel. After that didn't get his desired response, he simply filed a DMCA request against the game itself on Steam. 3Division said the takedown only worked because DMCA requests are handled by automated systems on Steam, but it nevertheless managed to successfully remove the game from the platform for over two weeks. But, as spotted by Kotaku (opens in new tab), Workers and Resources has been back on Steam since March 4.
"We are pleased to announce that our game is now back in the store," said 3Division on Saturday (opens in new tab), before apologising "to those who were looking to purchase the game and were unable to". The studio said it had "underestimated the situation," likely referring to its policy of ignoring the disgruntled fan when he first began making threats, which meant things "quickly escalated to a point that posed a threat to our game". The studio now plans to get back "fully to the development and put this matter behind us".
What became of the angry fan is unknown, but it's probably safe to say he won't be contributing any new guides in the future. Back when the game got nuked from Steam, 3Division said that, although "there is nothing in his work in terms of game design that would relate directly to game’s code," and his guide didn't offer "any technical solutions for the development team to use," it would nevertheless have been willing to add the aggrieved player's name to the credits as a contributor before he began making legal threats.
But instead, "As he chose to use extortion and abuse," the studio "decided to never mention the name of the challenge he allegedly 'invented' again, and ignore him". Unfortunately, that policy eventually came back to bite them. Should've run a show trial instead.