Only Up! pulled from Steam, developer says it'll be back (update: and now it is back)

A piece of Only Up! artwork which appears to include Aboulicious's 3D model.
The 3D character in this Only Up! image was used without permission, according to a digital artist (Image credit: SCKRgames/Aboulicious)

Update: A few hours after it was pulled, Only Up! is back on Steam.

Original story: One of the most popular new games on Twitch can no longer be purchased on Steam. It's not known why Only Up! was delisted, but it happened not long after an artist accused the game of using a 3D model they made without permission, leading to speculation that Valve gave it the boot over copyright infringement concerns. 

Shortly after the delisting, developer SCKRgames said on Twitter that Only Up! will return to Steam "soon."

Only Up! takes after games like Getting Over It and QWOP, and more directly the Counter-Strike obstacle course map-making tradition. It's one of those finicky platforming games that keeps the player in constant suspense and ends again and again in catastrophic failure, which makes it fun to watch. Although Only Up!'s Steam reviews were "Mixed" before its store page was zapped, it remains one of the most watched games on Twitch, with over 85,000 viewers at the time of writing.

A day before Only Up!'s store page disappeared from Steam, digital artist Aboulicious accused it of using a 3D model that they made. "The currently very successful game #OnlyUp has at least one asset from me," tweeted the artist (machine translated from German) alongside an image of their model and one of Only Up!'s promotional screenshots, in which the model clearly appears.

The 3D model, which depicts an anime-style character holding a blanket in the wind, is free to download on Sketchfab, but Aboulicious approved it for non-commercial use only under the Creative Commons licensing structure. Only Up! is decidedly commercial: It cost $10 at full price, and its Twitch popularity sent it to the Steam top sellers list. It had been discounted for the Steam Summer Sale before it was pulled.

Developer SCKRgames reportedly removed Aboulicious' model in an Only Up! update yesterday. It's possible other unlicensed art or music resulted in the takedown, but the cause hasn't been confirmed by Valve or the developer.

I've seen speculation that Only Up!'s in-game NFT promotion—Andy said more about that in his article from last week—could have been the cause, but Steam's rules don't forbid the mention of NFTs, only games that "issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs," so that's unlikely to be the culprit.

PC Gamer has asked Valve and the developers of Only Up! why the game has been delisted. We'll update this story if we hear more.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.