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News video games 24 November 2023, 07:03

author: Sonia Selerska

Thieves Who Stole Footage From Shooter Operation: Harsh Doorstop Exposed

Assets stolen from a competing game have been found in a new Italian shooter. The thieves refused to remove them and are continuing to sell the shady title off Steam.

Source: Steam

Nowadays there are many games using the same graphics, models or animations, due to the ever-growing libraries of cheap or even free assets. The problem begins when someone appropriates someone else's hard, original work to make money from it. It appears that such a situation has befallen the developers of Operation: Harsh Doorstep.

Graphics theft

Content creator known as Bluedrake42, who is also the founder of Drakeling Labs, reported yesterday on an unpleasant discovery made by his community.

Players were said to have noticed numerous graphical elements from Operation: Harsh Doorstep - a free-to-play shooter developed and published by the youtuber, repeating themselves in a competing, paid game.

In a long Twitter thread comparing the original title with its clone, we can find repeated architectural elements (like columns or window frames), individual characters or entire buildings that are part of the environment.

Some of the assets have been slightly recolored, while some have been used without any changes - in both cases, however, we are dealing with an undeniable copy, discernible at first glance.

The thieves' arrogance

After receiving and verifying the fans' reports, Bluedrake had no hesitation in writing to the developers responsible for illegally picking up the models and graphics, asking them to remove them. To his surprise, he received a reply that included a refusal to comply with his request.

Reckless developers are responsible for something called Venatur - that's the online shooter in which the stolen assets were found.

What primarily differentiates this game from Operation: Harsh Doorstep is the price - although it looks like the suspicious game has already been removed from Steam (we can still find it there, but it is not available for purchase), on the official website of Italian studio Siba Games it is still available for purchase for 30 euros..

Thieves Who Stole Footage From Shooter Operation: Harsh Doorstop Exposed - picture #1
Source: Steam

On none of the game's social profiles, however, we can find an official statement on the controversy described above.

A broader problem

It's not hard to guess that the Italian studio decided to steal the assets because of the potential for profit. Especially considering that Operation: Harsh Doorstep is a free-to-play title, developed since 2015 with a small but dedicated community in mind.

This picture of greed and refusal to take responsibility by the studio that made Venatur was supposed to deprive the youtuber of any remaining hope. By his own admission, he devoted himself to the project out of his passion for video games.

Despite the situation being quite clear, some of those commenting on the incident did not support Bluedrake's appeals..

Unsupportive Internet users began to suggest that the stolen assets were not of good enough quality to complain about their illegal use, and the opposition itself was, according to them, an attempt at gratuitous marketing based on sympathy.

"I've had enough of the hatred directed at me and the rest of the team that has rained down on us since the day of release. We tolerated it for more than a year, but now a tipping point has been reached.

We are creating a free game that the entire community of tactical game fans can enjoy, at no charge. To achieve this, we sacrificed a huge amount of money. We all sacrificed, not just me. We wanted to create a game built on the values of the community and pass it on. We kept those promises... and we continue to keep them.

Are we working as fast as AAA studios? Of course not. Do we have as large a team as AAA studios? No. Are our assets as good as those of AAA studios? Absolutely not. Are we still working hard every day to create the best free game that the whole world can enjoy? Absolutely yes. All of us.

[...] We responded to the harsh criticism with hard work and understanding.

However, now... now we are a victim of theft and a tool of deception in another studio's plan... and people are still trying to perpetuate this senseless hatred of our project and justify this actual crime committed against us," replied Bluedrake42.

In another post, the creator pointed out that even those assets, which resemble in quality the free models possible to find on stock asset websites, for independent developers are something really important:

"The argument 'yes, but your assets suck, so stealing them doesn't count' is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. Our team worked hard on them and they are ours. Some of these items launched the career of a member of our team. Many of them got jobs at AAA studios because of it. If you can't respect the rights of a free indie game, then your opinion shouldn't be respected."

As I have pointed out many times in this text, Operation: Harsh Doorstep can be found for free on Steam. Whether you want to form your own opinion or support an aggrieved independent studio, you can do so without paying $30 to dodgy competitors.

Sonia Selerska

Sonia Selerska

Began her professional writing adventure for in 2022, but she has always been interested in all forms of the written word. A student of Film and Multimedia with a specialization in Game Design and Development, deeply follows the blurring boundary between these two worlds. Sometimes, embarrassingly, appreciates style over substance. In the case of media, more often than not, goes to extremes; she can never choose between documentaries and horror films, and cozy games, life simulators, and animations. You will find her playing old-school consoles and indie gems rather than AAA titles. Devotes her free time to her love of fashion and art in a broader sense. Believes that the plot is the most crucial element of a game, and the most compelling stories are the ones inspired by everyday life.


Operation: Harsh Doorstop

Operation: Harsh Doorstop