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Paradox pull their Stellaris mobile game after nicking Halo artwork

Despite being a spreadsheet-filled management sim from the most PC developers out there, Stellaris longs to leave its desktop orbit. But while the space sim’s transition to console has been relatively smooth, it’s having a tougher time entering the mobile space. Stellaris: Galaxy Command, a mobile spin-off by an external studio, launched into beta on Tuesday but Paradox pulled it from sale only five hours later after players discovered stolen Halo artwork lurking in the game’s menus.

To get Stellaris running on a dinky wee phone, Paradox rang up developers Gamebear to create multiplayer empire ’em up Galaxy Command. The game entered a limited iOS beta in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden yesterday, but don’t go looking for it just yet.

Keen-eyed viewers noticed that one of Galaxy Command’s many sci-fi backdrops bears a striking resemblance to Halo concept art first rendered by 343 Industries technical art director Kenny Magnusson.

Plainly, it looks like someone brushed out the airships and slapped their own user interface over Magnusson’s art. The wild thing here is that, while an artist has gone to great pains to edit out the Pelican dropships, they’ve left the far more recognisably “Halo” Warthog jeeps untouched in centre stage.

Others pointed out that some UI icons look like Pierre Voisin’s geometric designs.

Removing the game’s download spot from the App Store, Paradox have issued an apology on Twitter and vowed to sweep the game clear of any further infringing artwork.

“We have learned that artwork inside Stellaris: Galaxy Command was taken from another source. We are immediately removing this content from the game and we are deeply sorry to our fans and to the affected creators.

“To perform a full content sweep and ensure the issue is resolved, we have temporarily taken the game offline.

“This was a clear mistake on our part, and we are working to fix it as quickly as we can. We trust Gamebear to make things right for Galaxy Command and we will work closely with them to ensure this game meets the high standards our players deserve.”

Paradox executive chairman Fredrik Wester has defended the existence of a mobile Stellaris since its announcement this week. But speaking to fans on Twitter, he has since promised Paradox are fully investigating how this “art work fuck-up” came to be.

Not the greatest week for Paradox, then, in the run-up to their annual fan convention. PDXCon 2019 kicks off this Friday, and it sounds like the team down south have Nate locked in the strategy basement to keep you updated on this weekend’s announcements.

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