Limbo of the Lost team Unlost

By Kieron Gillen on June 24th, 2008 at 12:08 pm.

It Wasn't Me

While there’s been a few fakers, Majestic have been quiet since the Limbo of the Lost story blew up. However, they’ve recently issued a statement to Gamespot where they – I paraphrase – say it wasn’t them, guv. It was outsourcers. “To the best of our knowledge no one at Majestic, [European publisher] G2Games or [North American publisher Tri Synergy, Inc.] knew about this infringement and knowingly played any part in it.” they say. And there’ll be a recall. So, if true, was the outsourcer being prankish, incompetent, malicious or all three? This story’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, Videogame HyperSavant Richard Cobbett plays Limbo of the Lost so you don’t have to.

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29 Comments »

  1. Richard says:

    Yay! I have a tag!

    As for the explanation… eh. It might sound better if they’d mentioned/credited outsourcing anywhere before, and their head guy hadn’t said things like “my job is to put the game together and create all the visuals, coding, sounds, models, marketing and basically make the game flow and work.”

  2. Mr Pink says:

    Awesome quote from the article Richard links:

    Is there any other game on the market that you can compare Limbo of the Lost too [sic] or is it totally unique?

    “Taking LOTL as a whole there is no one game that I would say it is like…”

    He’s got that right, there are hundreds.

  3. houseinrlyeh says:

    If you believe these guys, I have some beautiful bridges to sell to you.

  4. AbyssUK says:

    It was that crazy german guys Hans.. he also crashed that Ferrari I saw’d him do it

  5. Rook says:

    I think this is pretty much a good time to link to Charlie Brooker’s dead parrot defense rant.

  6. Mooey Poo says:

    Wait, I thought the whole game was developed entirely by three people? I reckon they must have split personalities, and outsourced the work to themselves without realising it.

  7. The Sombrero Kid says:

    who stole the stuff when they tried to release it on the amiga, was that these same mysterious outsourcers?

  8. Optimaximal says:

    Did we just kill Gamespot?

  9. redrain85 says:

    That’s right, guys. Play dumb. How else could you possibly weasel your way out of it, otherwise?

  10. Nimic says:

    If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!

  11. Monkfish says:

    Who’d have thought that one of games I’ve enjoyed most this year would be one I haven’t actually played? The entertainment gained from watching this saga unfold is legendary – far better than anything I can find on the tellybox.

  12. Dodger says:

    Well, they also only credited the outsourced composer in the .pdf manual, so it’s not that far fetched they’d “forget” to mention the outsourced scene makers. This, of course, would just make them clueless and incompetent liars.

  13. Sucram says:

    Have been reading this playthrough on the rpg.net forum, excellent (by which I mean horrendous) stuff.

  14. Brodie says:

    If they’re telling the truth, which would be the biggest shock of this whole fiasco, it means that all the three of them really made were a handful of Poser models and recorded some voices? And that took ten years?

  15. Ozzie says:

    In various interviews, in the game and in the manual Steve Bovis took credit for the graphics. He claimed it 2004 and 2007, so he “worked” on them at all development stages.

    There was no outsourcing.

    OR, the alternative is that he just took credit for the graphics while some other guy stealed them together. But I don’t believe in it.
    He already seems kinda deranged in his posts and interviews. Just think of his extraordinary claims, his aggressiveness as someone posted hints for players who got stuck, the terrible and crazy writing in the game, unlogical puzzle design (just say blue water), lacking responses (mostly just “Hm….interesting” or “That doesn’t work”), terrible pixel hunting….it all seems like a product that got stitched together rather unmotivated, and without a sane mind.
    And if he outsourced the graphics…….didn’t he notice that the bridges in the first chapter look all totally alike? Not to mention the corridors ahead.

    It makes no sense.

    I wonder what the other team mates think of their wonderful friend….

    By the way, I wouldn’t say that it was a straight rip-off in the Amiga version. Yeah, the lines are the same, but the colors and some other things are different. Heck, we don’t even know if they would have kept it in the final version.
    It may be that he lost his mind just over the last few years…

  16. Mark says:

    What are the chances that the combined personnel of one developer and two publishers completely failed to spot lifted content from over half-a-dozen of the most popular PC games from the last 10 years?

    On top of all that, just how did the outsourced “talent” think they’d get away with their plagiarism? You’d need big enough balls for just one obscure lift, but dozens upon dozens of games and even a couple of movies?

    Majestic are either telling pies of the porkiest proportions, or the gods had a sense of humour the day they decided to get that many clueless, incompetent people together and make a game development studio out of them.

  17. Bartek says:

    Too good.

  18. Ragnar says:

    I guess that when they say “copyrighted materials submitted by sources external to the development team” they mean that they subscribed to a game screenshot mailing list and thus gets lots of “submitted” material.

  19. Dinger says:

    This story has legs. I mean, it’s the feel-good, redemption out-of-the-past buddy story turned into a laughing stock nightmare. It appeals on so many levels. In fact, the story has three futures:

    A. What happens now:
    nothing, really. Nobody’s going to sue these guys. You don’t lose a copyright by not suing infringers. Anyway, they don’t have enough money to make it worthwhile, and they certainly will have taken a financial bath on this one. The IP holders could sue the distributors, arguing that they failed to do due diligence on this one, but since the distributors have already taken a loss on this one, real damages are nonexistent, and punitive damages would not be worth it.

    B. The Hollywood screenplay: this is easy: The Full Monty meets Scarlet Street, with a touch of Aguirre, Wrath of God. Oh yeah, and use three critical pub encounters as structural anchors, a la The Great Gatsby: Three Swedish au pairs on the way home from a disco drag a very drunk Peter Molyneux (fine, all you reading can insert your name here, if you like) into a Kent pub shortly after opening, looking for relief from his many biological pressures. He rants incoherently to the barman. Anneke (that would be the tall one) explains that he’s some sort of “big computer game guy”, and, with the help of the other two girls, and using 12-inch heels as prods, they drive the drunken soul back into the light.
    That’s the barman’s epiphany. By coincidence, his old old Amiga buddies walk in, and they hatch a plan to revive their old game idea.
    They bumble a bit, buying a couple PCs, getting into the lingo of a new computer era; for our hero’s buddies, their new hobby causes tension at home, with the wives vocalizing everyone’s shared fear that they’re just not up to it. Finally, our (single) hero sees progress, and announces to the boss he’s quitting the pub to “go back to school,” (his safety net) and to his buddies that he’s “getting into the games business.”
    His last day of work at the pub, his unofficial party with his buddies gets interrupted when a criminal-looking man walks into the bar and gets into a fight with a gorgeous young brunette. Our hero runs off the dude, and invites the woman to join his party. He tells her he’s “selling the pub” since he’s “got a can’t-miss videogame hit.” He’s clearly taken by the lass.
    The woman goes to her boyfriend (the criminal dude), and they hatch a plan to “get in on the action.” She calls the hero, they have a date, and she tells him she’s a young artist….
    long story short, when she tries to pull the scam, she discovers he’s broke and the project both sucks and is nowhere near completion. He finds out he’s been had, runs them off, and removes her name from the credits, forbidding his mates ever to speak of her. He then pushes harder than ever, becoming a tyrant to everyone in his singleminded quest to release. He gets a publisher, they get their advance, and they celebrate their US release in the pub, when the news breaks.

    Come on, this thing has Coen Brothers written all over it.

    C. The real story:
    First, I’d like to see the Amiga screenshot plagiarism accusation corroborated: right now, all we have is one animated gif and a reference to a game unfamiliar even to many Amiga users.
    Second, how this happened is still undetermined. We’re all waiting for the right journalist to work his way to the center of this thing, explain the dynamic, and show how such a noble idea could have such comicocatastrophic results.

  20. Leeks! says:

    Looks like it’s time to outsource to a well-oiled PR machine.

  21. Lachlan says:

    “You don’t lose a copyright by not suing infringers.”

    No, but many licensing agreements require the licensee to actively pursue breaches of them. Worse, in the US you do lose trademarks (if not IP) if you don’t consistently defend them. This is, in part, the reason behind LucasArts’ famous clampdowns on fan creations.

    I would expect somebody somewhere to get a writ out of this. Of course, if it settles behind the scenes (e.g. recall and destruction of all stocks plus the payment of Big Fat Sums of Cash) there’ll probably be a confidentiality clause attached.

  22. Gap Gen says:

    Dinger: It’s basically A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Three local lads get together in a pub to put on a play/make a game. Add incidental love triangle. Play/game turns out to be unintentional comedy. Lead actor/designer made to look like an ass.

  23. Joshua says:

    Yea, it was someone else. Who, by the way, was not credited (I was unfortunate and/or stupid enough to watch that ending on youtube). So, either Steve Bovis is lying or he took credit for someone else’s work (such that it is) in the game. Asshole.

  24. Dinger says:

    And Cranny Faggot as Puck, I suppose?

  25. Gap Gen says:

    Or maybe one of the characters who magically teleports everywhere (going by the play-through someone’s started somewhere).

  26. UncleSmoothie says:

    GameSpot’s writeup around the statement is so poorly written (and committed to sounding like real journalism) that it just comes off as blinkered to the significance of the story.

    Here’s a story that literally set the gaming world ablaze for the last week or so and they’re writing it up as if no one has heard of it.

  27. Pixoshiru says:

    Am I the only one to think this affair is a giganormous hoax a gang of bored men built, eventually making a “game” to make their handcrafted legend come true?
    I mean, that doesn’t make sense, no one heard of this game before and it suddenly hits the top 10 most discussed topic all over the interwebs… I’m pretty sure they just wanted to make the whole gaming internet giggle, just to amuse themselves, by throwing the biggest troll ever.

    Hence the “L.O.L”, standing for Limbo Of the Lost…

  28. CrashT says:

    So is Richard looking for the journalistic equivalent of a Purple Heart for this then? Mentally scarred in the line of duty.

  29. Rath says:

    Has anyone informed that local rag where the three “developers” were photographed holding the game, and quoted as saying it was all entirely down to them that they’ve basically been handed a bucket of shyte by these guys?