A snappy Superman demo, made in Unreal Engine 5 and released widely online earlier this year, has been taken and sold on Steam as an $11 game.
The original proof-of-concept demo – titled A Superman Style Flight Experience (UE5) – was created by Tyson Butler-Boschma of Toybox Games, using the City Sample from Epic Games’ The Matrix Awakens as a sandbox for the flight of superheroes. In April, Butler-Boschma made the playable demo available for free via itch.io, but unfortunately that’s where things start to go wrong.
In early November, Butler-Boschma was alerted to the fact an entity calling itself Hero Game Studios had taken its demo – a project it had created “for the sake of showing what could be done” in Unreal Engine 5 – and started selling it on Steam as Heroes City Superman Edition with an asking price of $10.99 USD.
Initially, Butler-Boschma urged his followers to retweet his concerns and report the game on Steam. Later, however, as Heroes City Superman Edition continued to sell out despite his best efforts, he took to his Steam message boards to warn potential buyers – whereupon Hero Game Studios banned it under the guise of “hate speech”.
Butler-Boschma’s next step was to purchase a copy of Heroes City Superman Edition in order to leave a Steam review where he could share his story in more detail. “I made this demo myself months ago as a proof of concept, using mostly free assets,” he wrote, “and several YouTube videos and reviews will confirm this, and I still been open and honest about it.”
“To be sure, I bought this game…my game, to absolutely confirm that it was my project,” he continued, “and I confirmed it just now by playing it , and found the opening level which I created from scratch WITH A MESSAGE FROM ME, explaining to players how the simple demo works and offering two doors to pass through.”
“It’s the morality that’s the biggest issue here,” Butler-Boschma added. “If they took it and put it on Steam for free I wouldn’t really have cared, but they’re selling it, making outlandish claims, taking people’s money, using outright lies and trolling my name in the mud.”
Hero Game Studios responded to the review, insisting that “our game is not stolen”, and claiming that Butler-Boschma was “one of the former developers on our user team”. [who left] a long time ago. But now he claims that the whole project belongs to him, but that is completely false. The rights to the game and the development process belong entirely to us. The reason he did this is because sales were growing pretty fast. He thinks he can make money out of it.”
While Hero Game Studios’ claims seemed dubious based on the timeline of events, that didn’t stop it from pursuing Butler-Boschma further, going so far as to launch a copyright claim on a YouTube video he made in April showcasing his Superman demo.
“They are attacking and harassing me directly at this point and I don’t feel safe providing my personal information for a counterclaim,” Butler-Boschma exasperated. wrote on Twitter. “I’m completely lost at this point… Steam didn’t do anything and now I feel the same is going to happen with Youtube…”.
Fortunately, although two weeks later and only after the incident began to gain traction in the mainstream media, progress was finally made. The copyright claim on Butler-Boschma’s YouTube video has been resolved and Valve has, finally, removed Heroes City Superman Edition from sale – although questions remain over how it managed to get through the process. submission of the platform in the first place.
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