Bleak Faith: Forsaken, a new Soulslike by Archangel Studios, has been mired in controversy since it launched on March 10. That’s because players suspected the indie developer hijacked animations seen in FromSoftware games such as Bloodborne and Elden Ring. Now, after days of accusations slamming them, the creators will “replace” all the reused assets that it claims were purchased in good faith because Epic can’t verify the source of the animations on the Epic Marketplace’s storefront.
A more cybergothic interpretation of FromSoft’s established die-try-die formula, Bleak Faith: Forsaken tasks you with exploring the last remnants of a civilization beset by ruin. What this looks like is stereotypical for the genre. You’ll roam huge cathedrals and gothic churches, sprawling cities and dense forests while battling knights and monsters vying to stab you one good time. Imagine Elden Ring with some Bloodborne influence and you’ll get an idea of the vibe Bleak Faith: Forsaken is going for. Unfortunately, following the game’s March 10 release, players questioned if the vibe was an inspiration or straight biting. As PC Gamer reported, folks accused Archangel Studios of reusing FromSoft assets.
In the time since the game has been out, several compilations have been published online comparing Bleak Faith: Forsaken’s animation assets to a few FromSoft games. One shows the moveset for a straight sword-like claymore in Bleak Faith: Forsaken that looks very similar to the uchigatana’s sword swipes in Elden Ring. Another demonstrates animations reminiscent of Malenia, Blade of Miquella and Dark Souls 3's Abyss Watcher.
Maybe the most egregious example, though, is the above video posted by the YouTube channel Soulslike Lovers. In the short side-by-side clip, it appears as the Bleak Faith: Forsaken boss Konrad The Traitor has a circular swing attack that looks almost identical to the move used by Elden Ring’s Banished Knights.
Archangel Studios has since come forward to explain itself. On the game’s Steam store page, a developer named Roia said that whatever animations not made in-house were purchased from the Epic Marketplace and “have been up there for years, rigged to an Epic Skeleton.” The developer went on to say that “the marketplace was used to fill in generic art and was still edited to fit in the general needs of the art direction,” clarifying that only 10 percent of the art used in Bleak Faith: Forsaken was bought directly from the Epic Marketplace. In the end, Archangel Studios said all assets were purchased “in good faith.”
Despite buying in good faith, an Archangel Studios rep told Kotaku that the team reached out to Epic Games to get to the bottom of the reused assets. According to themEpic said via email correspondence with Kotaku that each seller on the Marketplace “represents and warrants to Epic that they have appropriate rights to upload their content.” However, the company also stated that because it’s a store that holds third-party content, Epic Games isn’t in “a position to independently verify such rights.”
Considering this, the Archangel Studios rep said that whatever assets purchased from the Epic Marketplace will be patched out of Bleak Faith: Forsaken “over the next several days” out of respect for the original artists.
“[The response from Epic] is not satisfactory for us and so we have taken the decision to replace the assets purchased from the store over the next several days,” an Archangel Studios rep said. “Some changes we included in the recent patches, and more are coming in the next few days. Certainly, this has been a huge lesson for us and hopefully other indie creators out there too that assets on these storefronts seemingly cannot be purchased in good faith.”
Kotaku reached out to Epic Games and Sony for comment.
The rep concluded by saying that Archangel Studios hopes other independent developers learn from this when making purchases from an asset store. Though they’re “a critical resource” for smaller, more penny-pinched teams, Archangels Studios would still like to see better vetting and review protocols put in place to prevent future accusations of stolen development assets.