A flashy demo of Superman, made in Unreal Engine 5 and widely released 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 sign from Epic Games’ The Matrix Awakens as a sandbox for superhero flight. In April, Butler-Boschma made the playable demo freely available. via itch.iobut unfortunately, this is where things start to go wrong.
In early November Butler-Boschma was alerted to the fact an entity calling itself Hero Game Studios took his demo, a project he created “for fun to show what could be done” in Unreal Engine 5, and began selling it on Steam under the name Heroes City Superman Edition with a starting price. from $10.99 USD.
Initially, Butler-Boschma urged his followers to retweet their concerns and report the game on Steam. Later, however, when Heroes City Superman Edition continued to sell despite his best efforts, he took to his Steam discussion boards to warn potential buyers, after which Hero Game Studios forbade 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 review on Steam 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 said. wrote“and various YouTube videos and reviews will confirm this, and I’ve always 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 have confirmed it just now when I played it, and found the opening level that I created from scratch WITH A MESSAGE FROM ME, explaining to players how the simple demo works and offers two doors to go through.”
“Morality is the biggest issue here,” Butler-Boschma added. “If they took it and put it on Steam for free, I really wouldn’t have cared, but they’re selling it, making wild claims, taking people’s money, using pure lies, and dragging my name through the mud in the process.”
Hero Game Studios responded to the review, insisting that “our game is not stolen” and stating that Butler-Boschma was “one of the former developers on our user team”. [who left] long ago. But now he claims that the whole project belongs to him, but this is completely false. The rights to the game and the development process belong to us completely. The reason why he did this is because sales were increasing quite rapidly. He thinks he can make money on it.”
While Hero Game Studios’ claims seemed dubious based on the timeline of events, that didn’t stop him from continuing to pursue Butler-Boschma, even going as far as releasing a copyright claim in a YouTube video he had made in April to show off his Superman demo.
“I am being directly targeted and harassed right now and I don’t feel safe providing my personal information for a counterclaim,” Butler-Boschma said in exasperation. wrote on Twitter. “I’m completely lost at this point…Steam hasn’t done anything and now I feel the same thing will happen to 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 in Butler-Boschma’s YouTube video has been resolved and Valve has finally pulled Heroes City Superman Edition from sale, though questions remain as to how it made it through the platform’s submission process in the first place.