Mobile game Stellaris: Galaxy Command was officially announced yesterday, and today its beta version, launched in several selected countries around the world, had to be withdrawn from distribution after it was found to contain stolen graphics. It's about a concept art originally created for Halo 4 by Kenny Magnusson. The plagiarism was instantly spotted by Reddit users and then shared with other fans via social networks. The game's publisher, Paradox Interactive, which commissioned the game's development to the Chinese team at GameBear, quickly reacted to the situation. The Swedish company issued a statement on Twitter, in which apologizes to the players.
We learned that one of the illustrations in Stellaris: Galaxy Command was downloaded from another source without permission. In the face of this situation, we will immediately remove it from the game. At the same time, we strongly apologize to our fans and the original artist. To make sure that we do not find any more plagiarisms in the production, we are temporarily withdrawing it from distribution. This is a result of errors on our part and we are working to quickly and efficiently eliminate all failures. We believe in GameBear and work closely with them to make sure that Galaxy Command meets the high standards that players deserve. Once again, we regret and promise improvements.
It is hard to say whether the artist working for GameBear really hoped that nobody would notice the theft. All the more so because he's been very lazy. All he did was erase two Pelican transporters from the image, which would be instantly recognized by every Halo fan out there, but he left the markings of the UNSC on the tanks standing in the hangar. The organization plays a key role in the adventures of Master Chief.
The tendency of Chinese developers to copy game elements, audiovisuals and sometimes also almost entire games from outside China has been known for a long time and it results directly from the Chinese education system, general social consent to theft of intellectual property, as well as the lack of appropriate legal solutions and their effective enforcement. Every time Western publishers, hoping to save money, employ Chinese subcontractors, they have to face similar cases and scandals. Paradox doesn't mind that virtually entire Stellaris: Galaxy Command is an auto plagiarism of GameBear's earlier work titled Nova Empire. Both games have practically identical interface, graphics elements and similar gameplay systems.
Despite the temporary server shutdown, those willing to try Stellaris: Galaxy Command can still pre-register while waiting for the official launch of the game in their region. The final release date of the title has not yet been set.
- Stellaris: Galaxy Command official webiste
- GameBear official homepage