Soulslike dev accused of reusing FromSoftware animations

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Bleak Faith: Forsaken is a recently released soulslike from indie developer Archangel that resembles a cybergoth take on the FromSoftware formula. How close it is to FromSoftware games, particularly Elden Ring, has become a point of contention as, since its release on March 10, players have begun pointing out just how familiar some of its animations are.

For instance, here’s a comparison of Bleak Faith’s claymore attacks with those of Elden Ring’s uchigatana and straight sword (opens in new tab). And here’s a compilation of more animation similarities (opens in new tab), including a character who seems to have some of Malenia’s moves, and another who apparently has those of an Abyss Watcher from Dark Souls 3.

While plenty of games have used animations that took inspiration from elsewhere, as with Genshin Impact’s widely noted similarities to Nier Automata, these do seem to be in a different category. Rather than resembling FromSoftware games, they look like they’ve been extracted directly from them using the DSAnimStudio (opens in new tab) program beloved by modders, and then tweaked slightly.

On both Discord (opens in new tab) and the game’s Steam forum (opens in new tab), Archangel Studios addressed the accusations, explaining that some of Bleak Faith’s animations are assets purchased from the Epic Marketplace and linking to the profile of an Unreal Engine asset-seller named PersiaNinja (opens in new tab). One of the assets sold there, labeled PN Axe Animations, closely resembles the moveset of Bloodborne’s Hunter Axe.

“The marketplace was used to fill in generic art and was still edited to fit in the general needs of the art direction,” a developer named Roia said on Steam (opens in new tab), estimating that “about 10% of the total game art is from there.” On Archangel’s Discord, another developer going by ubermensch42 said that, “The only other things from the Epic Marketplace that I use is for generic VFX that was a waste of time to make since I’d make things that looked virtually the same anyway, and things that are so generic (like some rocks) that didn’t require artistic direction.”

That didn’t do much to make the complaints die down, and later today ubermensch42 added, “I’ve submitted a ticket raising the concerns of the community to the Epic Customer Service and outlining the animation accusations. We decided to be preemptive as a sign of good faith and a generally very pleased customer at the Epic Marketplace. We’ll let you know what they say about it and will respond accordingly.

“And a second point, we’re not judges or versed in what is and isn’t allowed, or who owns the rights to any of these animations. This is why we reached out, to get some confirmation about the person who makes these animations.”

At the same time, a separate issue was raised on Twitter (opens in new tab), where it was pointed out that Bleak Faith’s perk illustrations are AI-generated art and have the distinctively bland look that comes with it. The developers replied (opens in new tab) there as well, saying they would replace the art. “We hear you about it,” they wrote, “we’re working on new icons currently. It was somewhat of an oversight but also a decision that came from an honest place. We value the feedback however and will have redone perk icons up today!”