Epic Hero Battles, an NFT game that was trying to shift 10,000 randomly generated heroes, has all but wiped itself off the internet after indie developer Dan Hindes accused it of stealing art from his game, Wildfire (opens in new tab).
Appearing over the weekend, EHB is another crypto game that, while not quite ready for launch, was already offering to sell procgen wizards and sidekicks as NFTs in its planned hero-battling duels (or, more likely, to resell on crypto markets). But as Hindes quickly noticed, there was something awfully familiar about the key art used on the game's site.
OK NFTs you've made this personal now pic.twitter.com/Q7aKeGhMxTSeptember 11, 2021
"Love to see the thing you've put the singular most amount of effort into in your life get appropriated for a techbro-born planet-destroying pyramid scheme," Hindes wrote in a follow-up tweet (opens in new tab).
In response, the EHB developer wrote that it was an honest mistake, saying it forgot to check the art sourced from its web dev and that it wouldn't happen again. Unfortunately, the incident alerted other artists who found EHB had nicked pixel art for its development roadmap (opens in new tab) and twitter header (opens in new tab) (via Kotaku (opens in new tab)). Epic Hero Battles has since deleted its Twitter account (opens in new tab)—and while its website is still active, it's been stripped of all art assets.
The shamelessness of Epic Hero Battles' theft speaks to a truth behind the bulk of NFT projects—that for all their talk of empowering artists, the crypto community is more than happy to steal from them, even scraping images off Twitter in attempts to make some (fake, online) cash. It's a handy reminder that NFTs are an environmentally damnable scheme that doesn't offer safety or security to artists (opens in new tab), only the potential of profit for those willing to exploit creators.
That said, it's not only crypto folks who are guilty of stealing art. Anyone else remember this Ford dealership's less-than-legitimate tie-in (opens in new tab) with wilderness walking sim Firewatch?