An indie developer who demoed a Superman flight experience in Unreal Engine 5 said his work was stolen and put up for sale on Steam.
Back in April, we shared a video of an awesome Superman-style flying experience built in Unreal Engine 5. The demo, which is still available to try for free on itch.io, is built with Epic’s The Matrix Awakens’ city. Developer Tyson Butler-Boschma replaced the Matrix elements and added a Superman-esque character to give players an idea of what a future superhero game might look like on Unreal Engine 5.
Two weeks ago, a fan pointed out to Butler-Boschma that an identical game appeared on Steam, titled Heroes City Superman Edition. According to PC Gamer, a group called Hero Game Studios apparently listed Butler-Boschma’s exact work on Steam for a price of $10.99, and copyright claimed the trailer of Butler-Boschma promoting the free-to-play demo. The game has since been removed from Steam, but not before causing a lot of trouble to the game’s creator.
on TwitterButler-Boschma revealed that Hero Game Studios went after his YouTube content after listing the game, saying “The team that stole my free superman demo and is selling it on Steam now also claims copyright to my content on @YouTube… They are outright attacking and harassing me right now and I don’t feel safe giving out my personal information for a counterclaim…”
The team that stole my free superman demo and sells it on Steam now claims copyright on my content @YouTube also…
They are outright attacking and harassing me right now and I don’t feel safe giving my personal information for a counterclaim… pic.twitter.com/dqd0oHjul4
— Tyson Butler-Boschma (@TJATOMICA) November 14, 2022
Butler-Boschma left a review of the game on Steam warning people that the game was a scam and that he was the real creator. Hero Game Studios responded to the review before the game was removed, saying the following:
Our game has not been stolen. One of the former developers of our user team, TJ ATOMICA, left our team a long time ago, but now he claims that the whole project is his. But this is completely incorrect. The rights and development process of the game are entirely ours. The reason why he did this is because sales increased quite quickly. He thinks he can make money with it.
Butler-Boschma (who is mentioned by TJ ATOMICA on Twitter and Steam) told PC Gamer that he has no idea who Hero Game Studios is, and his LinkedIn lists no affiliation with the company.
The developer also bought the game on Steam only to find the opening level that he says he made from scratch, including a post he wrote about how the demo works. Butler-Boschma said, “This 100% confirmed to me that this project was the one I created and that this developer just downloaded, stole, and passed this work off as his own.”
All that remains on Steam is Butler-Boschma’s negative review, Hero Game Studios’ response, and a handful of comments in support of Butler-Boschma. You can still check out the free demo for yourself at itch.io.
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Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of gaming industry experience with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.