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October 20, 2020
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A Statement about GamePack Studio Unfair Business Practices

by Tom Safarov on 10/08/20 11:09:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

One of the pages on GamePack Studio's main website is used as a portfolio to display a wide array of artwork, including 2D characters, animations, 3D modeling, etc. This is the page address for now: https://gamepackstudio.com/brieflyabout/
This is the saved screenshot of this page on October 7th, 2020: https://slack-files.com/T0ZAX02BA-F01C482KZ18-cee41ab00

This page contains various artwork and animation that was done by the other artists and studios, yet it is never mentioned that those works weren't produced by GamePack outsourcing studio, whereby creates an illusion that all of them are done by them alone. The page itself uses a vague wording made in small print "Please check references and examples of the quality of art and animation GamePack team can deliver", which does not explicitly indicate that these are the other artists' work.

Below you will find the evidence (screenshots and links), and our statement on this unpleasant matter.

click to see the screenshot in full size

GamePack studio using RocketBrush Studio's works in their portfolio

This page showcases 2D animated slots created by RocketBrush Studio for Megarama Games:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/79554019/Asgard-Theme-Spine-Animation-Slot-Symbols
https://rocketbrush.com/2d-animation-studio-games
https://www.instagram.com/p/BrnQUMIFlty/

 

Screenshots proving that GamePack used our works in their portfolio and cut off ours and our client's copyright from it.

A screenshot from the original animation taken from our animator's Behance with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games logo displayed at the bottom part of the video:

click to see in full size

Screenshot from the original animation taken from our animator's Behance with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games logo displayed at the bottom part of the video.

A screenshot of the copy of the same video that was uploaded to GamePack's portfolio with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games logo cut off:

click to see in full size

A screenshot of the copy of the same video that was uploaded to GamePack's portfolio with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games logo cut off.

 

Videos

Original animations with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games copyright displayed at the bottom part of the video:

Copies of the videos above that were uploaded to GamePack's YouTube and linked to their portfolio with RocketBrush Studio and Megarama Games logos cut off:

 
More confirmed works of the other artists in GamePack portfolio
 
Above is the fantasy room art created by Room8 Studio: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/P1v3B
 
 
 
A samurai character by the artist Evgeniy Petlya who confirmed that he has never done this project for GamePack Studio
Above is the samurai character by the artist Evgeniy Petlya who confirmed that he has never done this project for GamePack Studio and never provided permission to use them. https://www.artstation.com/artwork/ReeaX
 
 
Referring to the portfolio across the various pages
 
GamePack Studio refers to this page (https://gamepackstudio.com/brieflyabout/) across their various online profiles as "our portfolio" or "website" misleading the clients by creating the impression that this is the art they had something to do with, whereas in most cases it wasn't ever commissioned by them, but "borrowed" from the portfolios of the other artists and studios with the logos and copyrights cut off for GamePack's "convenience".

Referring page #1: https://clutch.co/profile/gamepack
Referring page #2: https://themanifest.com/ua/video-production/agencies
Referring page #3: https://visualobjects.com/ua/graphic-design/top-graphic-design-agencies
Referring page #4: https://www.goodfirms.co/company/gamepack
+ Screenshot from LinkedIn preview from Google Cache
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GamePack's owner comments on Facebook
 
When brought up on Facebook in «Game Developers - Ukraine» group, GamePack Studio's founder Ruslan Zelensky commented on the topic, but expressed no remorse stating that this practice is normal:
«Good afternoon, We work with a very large number of freelancers, they can even work for another studio and have freelance tasks from us simultaneously, so there was an agreement with each freelancer – they gave us permission to show their works to our potential clients. So all the work that are located on that link are the works of the guys with whom we worked. Clients are aware that these are the works of the people we work with. Thank you for your attention.»
– translated from Russian.

Zelensky didn't clarify why they cut off the copyright and logo from the works of the other studios and artists that were uploaded to their portfolio, neither he explained why he believes that using his freelance artists' previous works performed for the other clients has anything to do with being ethical.

Below you will find several screenshots from the thread on Facebook, proving the quote above, as well as several other comments showcasing that the GamePack's practice of "borrowing" works of the others to attract clients hasn't become a surprise for some of gamedev community members.

The discussion was held mostly in Russian, but one can use Facebook's integrated "translate" option, let alone Google Translate to get the meaning of the comments.

You can read the original discussion in Game Developers – Ukraine group.

 

The owner of RocketBrush Studio Alex Rublev added that Zelensky's words were downright lies and brought up the topic of cut off copyrights on RocketBrush Studio's works. Instead of admitting the situation was wrong, Zelensky answered "You probably don't know everything about your employees":

The other community members added that there are a lot of "borrowed" works from the other artists as well in GamePack portfolio. In addition, more artists asked Zelensky why he cut off the owners' copyrights and his answer was "to show the clients that we can work in the style". We have more screenshots, but as they are all in Russian, we will refrain from spamming more of them in this post, but they are available here.

In the private conversations, several artists confirmed to us that asking to "showcase" their previous works made for the other clients in GamePack's portfolio is a standard approach adopted by Zelensky. 

Hereby, RocketBrush Studio states that these kinds of unfair business practices are unacceptable. We have always adhered to the Intellectual Property rights and respected them. Employing other artists' and studios' works without direct and explicit indication of the author in the commercial portfolio to attract customers and make profits is a sign of a shady and untrustworthy business entity and deserves nothing, but widespread contempt.

Moreover, we couldn't expect these kinds of disturbing practices to be employed by "The Best Upwork Agency 2019 in Kyiv, Ukraine" in Design & Creative area.

After we have proved that the aforementioned portfolio page hasn't been used as a backlog, but as one of the main tools to attract the customers by GamePack Studio, we can't agree that it was a mistake or an unpredictable turn of events. We consider this as a malicious attempt to deceive the customers and a dirty move that can't be justified.

It seems that the management of GamePack studio employed a rather shady scheme in which they take consent allegedly to show the works of the other artists to the new clients, but then, in fact, the studio deceives those artists by using their works as they see fit. Obviously, this has been happening systematically, and Ruslan Zelensky reached out to dozens of artists with the same request, including those artists who have never worked with the GamePack studio. Judging by the available information, we can conclude that GamePack studio in some cases goes even further and borrows the works of the other artists without any preliminary discussion taking place at all. This helps GamePack to fill their portfolios with works of notable artists from all over the world, including those who have never worked for, let alone ever heard of GamePack studio.

We stand with the other game art outsourcing studios and artists whose intellectual properties were stomped by GamePack Studio, and we hope that this information will reach the general public, artists and game developers preventing them from having any business affair with GamePack Studio.

The game developers should be aware that their materials may be used without permission, because clearly, GamePack Studio has no respect for the copyrights and does not hesitate to overstep the IP boundaries when it comes to taking credit for the other artists' work.

RocketBrush Studio.


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