Limbo Of The Lost – An Astonishing Tale

By John Walker on June 12th, 2008 at 12:08 pm.

Recognise it from anywhere?

A quite remarkable story has emerged about a PC adventure game from Majestic Studios called Limbo Of The Lost. It has, it is alleged, entirely lifted locations and art from at least five other games, apparently proven in a number of screenshots posted by GamePlasma yesterday. Oblivion seems the main target, along with Thief 3 and others. Because, hey, who bought those games? But this is a larger story of peculiarity.

The development of Limbo Of The Lost has been talked about for over a decade, the first announcement of its release finally appearing in 2006 when signed to G2 Games. The press release oddly chose to boast that it had been in development for more than ten years. A lot more than ten years if the following statement is true.

“Originally created as a graphical/text adventure game for the Atari ST and then a traditional point & click game for the Amiga CD32/A1600.”

Not too sure there were many text adventures for the ST kicking around in 1996. Nevermind that the A1600 wasn’t an Amiga model at all.

Is this your skeleton?

Skip ahead two years and the game has released the vaguest of releases via G2 at some point in 2008. According to Adventure Gamers,

“The game’s European release through G2 Games late last year resulted only in a few copies available through eBay or from a small Asian retailer, casting doubt about the legitimacy of the release.”

By 7th May, US publisher Tri Synergy announced that they would be publishing the game in N. America (including the feature, “Immersive (being there) sound effects”). As recently as the 5th June a teaser trailer was released, then swiftly replaced due to failing to meet ESRB regulations with this one:

After watching this, it’s not possible to ignore last year’s “behind the scenes” trailer developers Majestic Studios put up:

Um, isn’t that Poser? And I’m not quite sure you can claim your pencil sketches are an “all star cast”. But the most stand-out part of this surely being the name of one of the characters, “Cranny Faggot”. What? Sure, we get the spoonerism. But WHAT?

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

You may wonder why we’ve not linked to Majestic Studio’s website. Well, that would be because it’s on GeoCities. It’s like there can be nothing about this story that isn’t brilliant. Anyway, it’s either been whipped down, or overloaded by the attention the plagiarism accusations have brought, and you can fail to look at here.

Right, so the best bit. The screenshots. We don’t want to take anything from GamePlasma, and their fantastic discovery, and they deserve the hits they’ll be getting for this story. So head over there to see the full selection. But below is my favourite.

Limbo Of The Lost
:
brilliant design!

Oblivion:
Bethesda - how could you copy them? Ten years they spent on that!

It gets better. Neogaf posters have been spotting loads more, including scenes that appear to be from Silent Hill 4, Painkiller and Return To Castle Wolfenstein, and screen decor from Diablo 2, while at Just Adventure someone has claimed spoken dialogue has been lifted from Rune. A JA poster also spotted this story about the motley crew behind the game.

RPS readers reckon they’ve spotted more similarities, including further Thief 3 nabs, Pirates of the Caribbean game FMV, and bits from Crysis, Spawn, BioShock, UT2004, and Baldur’s Gate, although we can’t verify any of them yet. Collect them all!

My favourite is the Thief 3 inspiration, linked in this GR thread:

Thief 3:
Thief 3

Limbo Of The Lost:
Limbo

Note the addition of the skulls on the shelf. The skulls from Diablo 2.

Tri Synergy have responded, issuing a press release stating:

“Tri Synergy is just as shocked as everyone else is by the recent screenshot comparisons. At no point during our dealings with Majestic Studios up until the point that the comparison was first publicly made by a third party did we have any knowledge of these similarities. Additionally, Tri Synergy will discontinue distribution of Limbo of the Lost in both retail and online outlets.”

It’s impossible to imagine more won’t show up. We’re trying to get a copy to see what we can find. If you want to play at home, I’ve put all 76 available screenshots here, as a 20Mb zip.

For now, let’s finish with this quote from an interview with Majestic, as spotted by QT3.

Gordon: So have any more recent games influenced your current project?
Steve: The project is more influenced by film and literature rather than other games, we want the experience to be as original as possible and as such we have made a calculated effort to keep away from other games in the genre. Limbo of the Lost is an experience first and foremost, secondly wrapped up in a game media and genre.

Thanks to Michael for being the first to tip us off to this.

EDIT: I can confirm that it’s a real game – no hoax – and that it is a point and click adventure, with a loosely animated character superimposed on static screenshots.

ANOTHER EDIT: Courtesy of RPS reader Joachim, here’s a preview of Limbo of the Lost from the June 1995 issue of The One. Page 1 and Page 2.

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229 Comments »

  1. Paul Moloney says:

    “Adventure games don’t mean to push me down the stairs. They do it because they love me.”

    Arf. I buy Retro Gamer mag for an occasional nostalgia trip. But there’s alway someone who, rather than enjoying the old games for what they are, try to insist that they’re _real_ games, not like all those crappy modern games we have now, with their millions of polygons and emergent gameplay.

    I never got the point of the vast majority of adventure games – that is, combine multiple items illogically to solve an illogical puzzle.

    Nostalgia – heroin for old people.

    Is this the Adventure Gamer thread?

    http://www.adventuregamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7922&highlight=cobbett

    P.

  2. Paul Moloney says:

    “Is this the Adventure Gamer thread?

    http://www.adventuregamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7922&highlight=cobbett

    I’ve been reading that thread all morning; it’s hysterical. Sort of like John and Richard shouting into a cave somewhere in the Pacific: “You can come out now; the Allies have won!”.

    P.

  3. gyiknhhh says:

    i’d just like to say to meat circus that it’s not as if they didn’t think that anybody would notice, they finished as quickly as possible and vanished with investor money

  4. Springheel says:

    In the “behind the scenes” video, I recognized at least 4 pencil sketches as being poor copies of late 80s/early 90s fantasy art, including the dragonlance one others mentioned.

  5. Hellfish says:

    Maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but doesn’t the “Masu” sketch from the making-of preview remind anybody else of Darkman?

  6. ima rube says:

    read the comments on the uk amazon site. its a joke, guys-and a pretty funny one, at that.

  7. Lukasz says:

    haha. whoever wrote those comments deserves a prize. i loved them!

  8. Paul Moloney says:

    I got mail from the Kent Messenger journalist responsible for the original Limbo of the Lost story to point to her followup:

    http://www.kentmessenger.co.uk/news/default.asp?article_id=43527

    P.

  9. Demikaze (Michael) says:

    Even some of the original Amiga scenes were from other games… (scroll to the bottom of the page.

  10. AbyssUK says:

    @Demikaze
    Also they stole artwork from beetlejuice… my god

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=310683&page=14

  11. JuneFrog says:

    This comment is intended to aya whose critics I usually praise but why being so not indulgent with people who steal some basic material from some more or less interesting games like oblivion or diablo while lol is a hell of a good game.
    I had a hell of a good time playing it and I don’t think independant developers should be discouraged from doing great more or less legal artistic things (think about Andy Warhol for instance)
    From my point of view a good game depends more on a spirit than technical and bloody copyright issues.
    Long live to the developers of Limbo :)

  12. JuneFrog says:

    By the way, I’m actually a friend of one of the scam arti… uh… ‘developers’ of this cop… err… game…

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    You should mail us a contact phone number for ‘em then. :)

    (I’ve been nosing around for it on the quiet all week)

    KG

  14. Marko Hautamäki says:

    FREE TO PUBLISH

    Composers announcement about Limbo of the Lost

    June 20th 2008, in Berlin, Germany

    Following the controversy currently revolving around Limbo of the Lost pc game, released by Majestic Studios, UK, I feel a comment from my part is necessary as this situation has all the potential to make irreversible damage to my name as composer and thus hinder my future career opportunities. Furthermore, I have seen my name mentioned in several internet discussion forums and there has been speculation about if the game contains stolen music but so far that has not been proven one way or another. Majestic Studios project leader Steve Bovis has assured me that there isn’t any stolen music in the game.

    I composed all the game level background music you hear in the game itself, as well as most of the animated features included on the bonus DVD. My music was also used in many of the game trailers and features, easily found online. In addition to my music, there are also pieces not made by myself. On those I can not comment but I can 100% guarantee everything I was involved in and I have the original project files to prove that.

    As a further proof, I uploaded some of the pieces on my demo site, accessible at http://chaosresearch.googlepages.com

    I worked on the music for Limbo of the Lost game from May 2006 to December 2006 as an outsourcer, so I was never a part of Majestic Studios core team. I also don’t have any information regarding the specifics of the creation process of the game. The stolen graphical assets were as much a shock to me than to anyone else and I hope there will be some explanation to that from Majestic Studios. At the moment they are the only ones who know how or why this happened.

    I am only credited for my music in the .pdf manual of the game.

    Sincerely,
    Marko Hautamäki, composer

    ###

  15. Matt Burris says:

    The thing is, if any of these people involved outside of Majestic Studio actually PLAYED games, this never would’ve never been released or been a problem.

    This is a sad state of the gaming industry, a large portion of them aren’t even gamers, but just greedy posers.

  16. Marcus Booster says:

    I was laughing so hard I was crying. I tried to explain why this is so funny to my girlfriend which was impossible.
    Everything is just so absolutely ridiculous I have to believe this is a joke. Either way it’s brilliant!
    Geocities?!

  17. Larington says:

    Hmm, this is the sort of thing that can happen when the visiting execs don’t actually play games, serves ‘em right, too.

  18. Robert Baker says:

    Seen the box art? Even the hype (“Absolutely Brilliant!”) is stolen from CodeMasters. :-)

  19. Michael Panik says:

    Wow. Can you saw Movie MAker? This is like the gayest crap ever. Like, I’m 15 and I could have done about 100x better on…everthing on this page, except the models. Those were professionally done, as we all know.

  20. Gavos says:

    Heh Heh Heh. I can safely say that the game is real – I managed to purchase it, brand new , on Ebay a couple of months ago, and I got it really cheap too (under £9 incl postage). Seeing as it now seemingly hard to find, I am quite chuffed that I own this particular unique piece of gaming history! As to GAME selling it in the UK, not any more, it would seem – it is currently not available. Ho hum indeed!

  21. Chris says:

    That character, Cranny Faggot, is pretty much identical to Blix, the goblin charged with killing the unicorns in the movie Legend, too.

  22. Jochen Scheisse says:

    In other news: Warcraft Universe – An Astonishing Tale

  23. Joshua says:

    This game even if it didnt take the screenshots from other games(which it clearly did) is the worst looking game in the world. this looks like a game from 1995 I am so angry that people like this are aloud to breath. What makes me most angry is in one of the scenes they stole it had a piture of Count Skingrad in it and they didnt even bother to take it out when they stole it…I mean c’mon.

  24. hermann says:

    All this fuss is like a punch in all these crap reviewers. How this game got a good rate is beyond any sense. It’s not just for being a screenshot carbon copy. The game is horrible! Absurd puzzles, poor characters, confused storyline. I know adventure gamers don’t give a damn about graphics, but boy this game is so ugly and amateur.

  25. Dante Incarnate says:

    After watching the Teaser Trailer. I got a couple more Games to Add to the List, Halo 3 is copied in the trailer at 1:49 and 1:45 is Incredibly Reminiscant of Fallout 1/2

  26. Max says:

    That trailer is painful. Why did they have shots of walking around an actual 3d world when the game uses static backgrounds?

  27. Brickey says:

    Hmmm..I beleive the part where thier website title pops up is the song from Jedi Outcast where Kyle Katarn dies. Cheers! You made me laugh!

  28. Newbunkle says:

    I really miss this slow motion train wreck. I want to know what happens next. :(

  29. doh says:

    June 1995 issue? WOW

    Sometimes you just have to let go.