Torchlight Maker Calls Out Blatant Ripoff Sold On -- Where Else -- The App Store

Armed Heroes Online, a game released last week to the Canadian iTunes store, is one of the most blatant cases of theft I have ever seen in an iOS app or game, and considering the shitshow of fakes and ripoffs that store is, that's saying a lot. Nearly every visual asset in this game is taken directly from the acclaimed dungeon-crawler Torchlight, by Runic Games, for PC. (And Mac!)

Runic's president, Travis Baldree, said yesterday via Twitter that the game "wholesale stole most of the assets from Torchlight!" Baldree then directly Tweeted the game's account, saying "you realise that since Armed Heroes lifts assets wholesale from Torchlight, we have to notify Apple, right?" He later repeated these same statements to TouchArcade and provided this collage as proof. We've reached out to Baldree directly.

The game's maker is EGLS Technology, based out of Beijing. It's a free game that appears to be monetized by selling virtual currency — including one in-app purchase totalling $US99. Comments underneath the game's YouTube trailer suggest that it also stole visual assets from World of Warcraft. See for yourself above.

Despite this very visible embarrassment and repeated others, I'm so glad Apple is steadfast that it won't "compromise the quality of the teams" it has reviewing App submissions. Evidently it's extremely difficult to find, hire and train contractors with any knowledge of video games who could spot this kind of stealing, or look at something published out of China, to a secondary North American store only, with enormously expensive in-app purchases, and not think any of that warrants further scrutiny.

I realise that other app stores also are a Wild West of questionable content, but they don't offer the veneer of gatekeeping that Apple does. Whoever their "actual, smart, educated, well-trained people," they have on this job, they seem only to be looking for porn, because they aren't doing a thing to protect gamers or legitimate game creators.

This might be a good time to remind folks that Torchlight is now available for $US8.99, more than half off, as part of Steam's Summer Sale event.


Comments

    They should have just reported it immediately to Apple. Apple would have killed it with some half-arsed evidence (the kind that jealous developers use when they want to cut out legitimate competition).

      when a company makes a game using stolen assets, it's not legitimate competition.

        I was referring to a developer who had their game pulled, despite being original, on the basis that someone else complained it was too similar.

      not they won't. There was ripoff game that pretended to be like megaman or something, that crashed as soon as you launched it and apple left that alone for what? a whole year? It may even still be there right now.

        Did other developers actually submit a complaint, or is this only known via internet whining?

    When I first read this, I assumed that they had literally used art assets from Torchlight in their game. Instead, when I looked at the trailer, and the comparison shots, I see art that is definitely very similar to the Torchlight assets, yet still obviously not the exact same assets. Stole is the wrong word here.. Imitated, sure.

    The three main characters (Warrior, Magic User, Archer.. wait, where did I see that before Torchlight, oh Diablo 1) look nothing like the Torchlight ones.

    What the Torchlight dev seems to be complaining about is that on the App store (where Torchlight isn't available), someone made a game that plays similar to Torchlight, and has a (very) similar art style.

    Since Torchlight is an evolution of Diablo (or rather Darkstone), it's making a bit more out of this than it should be (imo).

    If EGLS had literally stolen the art assets from Torchlight, that'd be a different story completely.

      there's a ghost mob in the game that is identical to torchlights.

        The one with the crown in the collage linked in the article? If so, you can see that although they look very similar, they are not the same mesh asset, or textures. Ie, imitated, not stolen. It's the whole Samsung Vs Apple thing again.

        I think the best thing Runic could do about this situation would be to put Torchlight on iOS and Android.

        Oh, forgot to add: Yes, I agree, it IS a pretty mega ripoff of Torchlight.

      Did you even bother to look at the art asset comparison link. No you didn't.

    The bow and the axe are definitely models that are used in WoW. A lot of the spell effects like the whirling bones around the necromancer look very similar to the Death knights Bone Shield. The wizard seems to have an attack that is pretty much the arcane orb from Diablo 3. And the model for the archer looks quite similar to the model for Alexstraza in WoW. They have really gone all out with using other peoples designs to make something they are calling their own.

      The necromancers outfit is 100% an actual warlock tier set from WoW....

    @D - There were a lot of monsters in that short clip that had been directly lifted from torchlight one. I also noticed that one of the armor sets for the magic user was a direct lift from one of the warlock armor sets in wow.

      I looked closely at that warlock armour from WoW, I'm pretty sure it's a copy, not the exact thinng, some parts of it are different.

    Anyone else notice the big bang character names in the trailer?

    "Hi there, I'm Travis Baldree. I'm the President, Project Director, and Programming Lead at Runic Games. How are you?
    So, with that out of the way, I took just a few minutes to quickly snip random shots from the trailers, and took screenshots of the corresponding assets from Torchlight -
    Here you go!

    As you can see, they're pretty obviously rips. In most cases, they've had a meshoptimize pass run on them to get them to a viable polycount for a mobile platform ( this is trivial to do in something like 3dsMax, and preserves UVs ). There has often been a minor amount of recoloring or texture alterations.

    let me stress that this is a TINY sample of all of the assets that appear in both games. Really tiny. But there doesn't seem to be much point in identifying each and every one beyond the first 20 or so, does there?

    Armored Heroes is always on the left, and a Torchlight asset is always on the right, just a quick screencap from our tools. It's not always easy to get a large shot from the footage of the game, but plenty sufficient for comparison purposes.

    I'd like to also point out that the SOUNDS are all ripped too. The NPC voices, monster deaths, etc. And they are assigned to the SAME monsters.

    Moreover, in Torchlight there is a sword called the 'Sword of Adam'.
    It is modeled after our technical artist, and uses his actual voice to say goofy phrases as you swing it.

    They used that as well. Amazing, no?

    If the company in question had wanted to request use of the assets, I'd know about it.
    Because they'd have had to request them from me."

    posted on touch arcade by one of the guys from runic

    At 0:44 of the trailer, the axe the warrior class is using is a direct rip from World of Warcraft lol, I remember that thing well.

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