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iOS app accused of stealing assets from Runic Games'  Torchlight

iOS app accused of stealing assets from Runic Games' Torchlight

July 18, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 18, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing

A new iOS brawler dubbed Armed Heroes Online has caused quite a stir this week, as the 3D action game has been accused of stealing its art assets from Runic Games' popular action RPG Torchlight.

Giant Bomb reports that shortly after Armed Heroes Online debuted on the iTunes App Store, Runic Games president Travis Baldree called the game into question, as he noticed that the title looked an awful lot like the game he released in 2009.

Baldree claims that this goes beyond the typical "cloning" often seen on iOS and Android. As he pointed out in a comparison image, many of the assets in Armed Heroes Online aren't just similar to Torchlight; they're almost identical.

In addition, Baldree downloaded and picked apart the mobile app, and discovered that many of the audio files were also taken from Torchlight -- with Runic's misspelled file names still intact.

While there's been no official word from Chinese developer EGLS, posters claiming to represent the company on the game's forums have denied Baldree's claims, asserting that Armed Heroes Online is in fact using original material. Given the anonymous nature of those boards, however, it's unclear whether these responses are actually coming from the company itself.

Adding to the controversy, a forum poster claiming to be a spokesperson for EGLS created a thread on Touch Arcade, denouncing Baldree's claims altogether. Like on the ELGS forums, however, the poster offered no proof of his or her identity.

"We can hardly agree with Mr. Travis Baldree who judged that EGLS 'wholesale stole most of the assets from Torchlight!' only based on the similarity between several small monsters. The judgment is simply untenable," the alleged spokesperson said.

Things only got more heated when the poster turned the tables on Runic and claimed that Torchlight "blatantly ripped off" WildTangent's Fate. It's an interesting accusation, since Baldree himself used to work at WildTangent, and in fact was one of the primary developers behind that 2005 RPG.

As of this writing, Armed Heroes Online is not longer available on the iTunes App Store.

[Update: ELGS has issued its official statement in response to Baldree's allegations, and said that it plans to "modify some parts" of Armed Heroes Online in an effort to calm the ongoing controversy. The company did not however, admit to copying the game, nor did it apologize for its actions.

"As a professional game developer, EGLS has been always dedicating our every effort to bring out better game experience for our players. Players always come first. There, we prefer to modify some parts of Armed Heroes Online where have caused those disputes rather than go on arguing. As long as this carves out a way out of angry disputes, it will be definitely worth our efforts," the company said via a statement on Joystiq.

In addition, the company added that if necessary, it will submit documents, files, and other materials to Apple in hopes of proving that it did not copy Runic's assets.]

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