Runic Games, an independent Seattle game studio that makes the Torchlight action role-playing games, says a company in China has copied monsters, sound effects, scenes and much more for its own game, Armed Heroes Online, for iPhone and iPad.
The dispute has played out so far in a series of tweets and forum posts involving Travis Baldree, of Runic and an a representative of Armed Heros developer EGLS.
“All of the monster assets and every dungeon tileset, as well as voices, and most sound effects, are direct rips from Torchlight,” wrote Baldree in a post on the TouchArcade forums. “We’re having to contact Apple about it, so, just a heads up – this may not be available for long.”
He posted this side-by-side comparison on Twitter.
A representative of EGLS, identifying herself as Serena Zhang, gave an elaborate defense in this forum post, contending that the real inspiration for both companies was Blizzard’s seminal World of Warcraft.
“What Mr. Travis Baldree said rudely depreciated the efforts our team had devoted into the game. We would love to submit any documents, files and other materials related to the game development to Apple to prove ourselves if Runic insists on that we ‘wholesale stole most of the assets from Torchlight!’ ”
Baldree responded by pointing out, among other things, that the sound effects in Armed Heroes have the exact same file names as those in Torchlight, including misspellings and character names.
“Twiddling the geometry a little bit and doing minor texture alterations doesn’t equate to original artwork or even artwork ‘inspired by’ ” another game, he wrote.
Baldree was the designer and programmer behind WildTangent’s Fate role-playing game — which, humorously, is one of the games the ELGS rep suggests Torchlight was inspired by.
“You mentioned Fate and its systems,” Baldree response. “I happen to have written that game — and we use no assets from it ( with the exception of some Tommy Tallarico sound effects that we re-licensed).”
We’ve reached out to Baldree to find out the current status of the situation.