In April, Tyson Butler-Boschma, an indie developer with Toybox Games, built a Superman demo with Unreal Engine 5 and released it for free on itch.io. However, an outfit with the name Hero Game Studios took the title and listed it on Steam for $10.99 without Butler-Boschma’s consent or knowledge. While it has taken some time, Steam has finally delisted the demo from its platform.
After a fan notified Butler-Boschma of the occurrence, he began taking steps to have Steam delist it. He filed a DMCA takedown with the game distribution platform and encouraged his followers to report it. However, his efforts seemed to be for naught as Steam dragged its feet on taking any action.
As a result, Butler-Boschma joined the demo’s Steam discussion boards and began to warn potential buyers to steer clear. Because of this, the supposed Hero Game Studios banned him with the excuse that he was spreading hate speech.
Following this event, Butler-Boschma purchased a copy of the game and left a review on the platform to alert fans that it was stolen. The indie developer stated that he made the game as a proof-of-concept with free assets. He further stated that he bought the game, played it, and confirmed that it was his creation from start to end, including a message he added to explain how users can navigate the game.
He ended his review with, "It's the morality that is the biggest issue here. If they took it and put it on Steam for free, I wouldn't have really cared, but they are selling it, making wild claims, taking people's money, using pure lies, and dragging my name through the mud in the process."
Hero Game Studios denied the allegations with its response, saying:
Our game is not stolen. One of the former developers of our user team TJ ATOMICA left our team a long time ago, but now he claims that the entire project belongs to him. But this is completely false. The game’s rights and development process belong entirely to us. The reason why he did this is because the sales were increasing quite rapidly. He thinks he can make money from it."
The group went further and filed a copyright claim on Butler-Boschma’s YouTube content promoting the demo when he released it in April. Exasperated and frustrated by the ordeal, the developer aired his thoughts on Twitter, saying that Steam and YouTube haven't helped him at all. Fortunately, following coverage by several platforms, Steam delisted the demo and his issue with YouTube was later resolved.
The game, titled A Superman Style Flight Experience (UE5), had a superhero character that could fly and it gave gamers an insight into what a Superman-type character could look like on Unreal Engine 5. It quickly caught the eye of numerous gamers and went viral on the internet.
In other gaming news, Microsoft has pushed back the release of the streaming-only console due to the cost of production. Meanwhile, Sony has announced PlayStation Plus will go on a massive sale this Black Friday.