Devolver Digital has called out app developer, Fabulous, on Twitter for ripping off the artwork and animation from one of its indie titles, GRIS. When contacted by Kotaku Australia, Fabulous described the likeness as a mere ‘mistake’ and a case of inspiration gone too far.
This issue came to light when Devolver Digital published a side-by-side comparison of GRIS and a video that Fabulous published to social media several months ago.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) November 5, 2019
The similarities led to Fabulous removing the video and speaking to Devolver directly about the issue. “Similar to you, we’re a small startup inspired by the things we love. We have removed the video as a preemptive action & are investigating. We’ve privately contacted Devolver Digital to resolve this. Any wrongdoing on our part was certainly not intentional,” said Fabulous on Twitter.
Another Twitter user revealed that some aspects of the app, which is also named Fabulous, resembled Monument Valley‘s loading screens of Monument Valley. It’s not as overt as the above, there is a similarity in the use of ‘in which’ and the name of the character engaging in an activity.
Left: A Monument Valley chapter screen. Right: A screenshot from Fabulous by Mattia Traverso on Twitter
Speaking to Kotaku Australia over email, Fabulous has reiterated its public stance – it is a small 20-person startup, not a big corporation like Devolver Digital stated in the tweet.
Fabulous CEO Sami Ben Hassine stated that the company was inspired by several titles while developing the app.
“From the very beginning, and as we are gamers ourselves, we were inspired by games like Journey, Monument Valley, and books like the Little Prince or The Alchemist, to create our universe,” Hassine said over email.
Hassine went on to say that the video, which was created several months ago has been removed and that the company is looking into the matter.
“We have a team of 2 artists and freelancers,” Hassine said. “We’re still investigating this as all of this has been sudden, but any wrongdoing from our side is not intentional. It might be that one of our artists or freelancers got inspired by a game that they liked.”
The Fabulous CEO said the the potential theft of intellectual property was “not intentional”. “This has been one mistake we didn’t even know we were making and was certainly an inspiration pushed a bit far,” he added.
Kotaku Australia has reached out to Devolver Digital and Ustwo Games for comment.