It's been 10 years since gaming's most hilarious plagiarism case

MMarston

Self-requested ban
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
7,605


This is actually a month late, but I figured "what the heck", because this story has always been too funny for me to ignore.

I am, of course, talking about Limbo of the Lost.

Limbo of the Lost was originally developed in the 90s by Steve Bovis and Tim Croucher. Using an initial prototype made on the Atari ST, the two pitched the concept to publishers. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the publishers wanted a finished product. This stymied the pair's efforts until 1995 when Bovis, Croucher and Laurence Francis began working on the game again this time as a point and click adventure for the Amiga A500. Rasputin Software picked up the title on the Amiga 1200 and Amiga CD32. Unfortunately, Limbo of the Lost never made it to store shelves since, by the time it was ready, the systems it was made for were dead.

Finally, in 2003, Bovis once again restarted development on Limbo of the Lost. Bovis, Croucher, and Francis redesigned and rebuilt the game. In 2007, G2 Games published it in Europe. Boxed copies, however, were extremely rare and the game was mostly available only through online distribution. Then, in 2008, Tri Synergy announced a wide release in North America.
Now I know what you're thinking. Just seems like another point and clicker that was in development hell for a long ass time, which finally got released in 2007. Well...

LotL


...And TES Oblivion


You see, this was a very special case of a game. The thing is, it seemed to have been built around other games' assets. And by that, I mean "totally fucking ripped them off from their data files/took a bunch of screenshots."

And it wasn't just one game. Not one. Not two. Not even just three, but...

On June 11, 2008 GamePlasma published an article comparing specific scenes in Limbo of the Lost with a nearly identical space in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The gaming community pounced on this revelation and soon discovered background and objects that appeared to originate from, according to Wikipedia: "The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Unreal Tournament 2004 and 2003, Diablo II, Thief: The Dark Project, Thief: Deadly Shadows, a CryENGINE2 Tech Demo, Silent Hill 4: The Room, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Painkiller and its expansion pack Painkiller: Battle out of Hell, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth, Hexen and World of Warcraft. Other scenes appear to be taken from live action films: one from the 1997 film Spawn, another from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and several more from its sequel, At World's End."
I don't think that's even all of them, and that's on top of the other third-party licensable assets that they just used, apparently.

Now, I'd post some more examples right here, but there are seriously too goddamned many to pick from, so much so that there's entire old wiki site dedicated to it silliness. So get ready to go down the rabbit hole of...

Menus

Backgrounds

Audio

Inventory items

Models

(Note: this wiki is almost a decade old, so don't be surprised if embeds don't work anymore because you abandoned Flash Player ages ago)

If memory serves, the wiki should also have some back story on the devs and how they went through spin city to convince people it was a good game. Have fun, ERA.
 

rakhir

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
104
I remember lurking when this thing was happening, it was a treat to see people recognizing more and more stolen backgrounds. Really funny stuff.
 

OhMyZach

Member
Oct 27, 2017
315
Its weird how well the environments from all those different games mesh pretty well together.
 

evilromero

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,214
I think a congratulations is in order for those small town dreamers that finally made it big. Don't ever give up.
 

FairyEmpire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,659
I actually played this, too, back in the day. It wasn't even that horrible for a point and click adventure, and the ending is one of the most insane things I've ever witnessed in a videogame.

The only thing I have to think about the whole plagiarism issue after all these years is: how? How the actual fuck did they think nobody would notice that they literally ripped off assets and took screenshots of some of the biggest names in the industry of the past 10 years or so? If I were to make an indie game and rip-off some assets of an unknown little game, it would be shitty but at least I'd have a decent chance of not getting caught if the genre and general public are different enough. But these guys ripped off Diablo, World Of Warcraft, Unreal Tournament, Painkiller, The Elder Scrolls, Silent Hill or more. It is absolutely insane anyone on that team could have thought they could get away with this. Imagine someone releasing an action movie that cuts scenes from Kill Bill, the Transporter series, the Fast & Furious movies, John Wick and Terminator 2, and nobody noticing this all the way to publishing said movie in shops.
 

Malawhur

Member
Oct 27, 2017
159
I had no idea about this story. Thanks for sharing. Did the developers get in any trouble afterwards like getting sued or something?
 

Quad Lasers

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,482
This was one of my favorite GAF threads to follow back in the day. The nonstop amount of stolen shit people found in this game just kept going and going and going and then the whole thing gets clinched with that insane ending. Even that list in the OP doesn't do justice to the breadth of the amount of assets/properties this game stole from.
 

Parham

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
88
I can't believe it's been ten years. Watching people piece together the different games Limbo stole from was a lot fun.
 

kaospilot

Member
Oct 25, 2017
691
I knew exactly what this would be when I saw the thread title, hard to believe it's been ten years though! I remember reading about it and keeping up to date with every piece of new information as it hit, it was strangely exciting.
 

Dying_Snail

Member
Oct 27, 2017
47
Never knew about this thank you OP, like most I'm dumb founded how they thought they would get away with this without anyone noticing, what were they thinking off?
 

Applesaucejaxon

Uncle actually worked at Nintendo
Member
Oct 29, 2017
223
Chicago
I knew it was Limbo of the Lost as soon as I saw the thread title. I’m sure the devs never dreamed that this turd of a game would still be talked about in 2017.
 

compo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,901
Wow, I never heard of this. Plagiarizing 30 other AAA games is a pretty bold strategy.
 

spam musubi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,485
Heh, I had forgotten about this. Thanks for bringing this back up. For those of you who are unfamiliar, enjoy the ride.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,254
I knew what it had to be as soon as I saw the title. I’m surprised it’s only 10 years old though!

I should watch the ending; I’ve never heard anything about that.
 

JTyrmi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
166
Finland
What, it's been 10 years already? Like others, I remember following the development of the discoveries of the plagiarisms. Such fun times, but really... 10 years...?!?
 

Aprikurt

Member
Oct 29, 2017
5,596
The King o’ Limbooooo

Watched this when I was really sick and thought I was having some kind of fever dream