Recently, 148Apps published a story on an upcoming Unity-based first-person shooter: Critical Strike Portable. One of the members of the game's developer, Studio on Mars, contacted the site about the game and it sounded interesting, so I wrote an article about it announcing the game, which is not yet released to the public at large on the App Store, though they are distributing builds of the game for multiple platforms on their website.
That’s not the end of the story, though. It appears as if the game uses content lifted from other games that were not immediately apparent when I personally wrote the article after downloading a build of the Android version to try it out. Some commenters on a Touch Arcade post about the game noted that maps were taken from other games. As well, Frank Condello of Chaotic Box noted that enemy assets seemed to be taken from Doom 3 in particular.
Research shows these claims to be accurate on the surface: The co-op trailer linked to in the original post shows enemies that appear at least very similar to enemies in Doom 3, such as the Imps and the Fat Zombie. Character models similar to the guerilla warfare and GIGN models in Counter-Strike also appear to be in the game and appear throughout the trailer. As well, a map shown later in the Critical Strike Portable trailer is identical to the Quake 3 map "The Longest Yard." These are just the immediately apparent cases of content that originated in other games.
The game has been in development for a while, with reports of it being in the works as a Counter-Strike-inspired title back in February that were picked up in the media. I reached out to Teemu Rikkonen of Studio On Mars, who said that the final version of the game will not have these issues. He said that "in good conscience we can say that we have make (sic) a totally new game from scratch with our own code and all other assets. In the commercial version of the game all the assets will be 100% ours. Currently we are not monetizing from the game and it's free-to-play in all platforms."
Do I believe that any deceit was involved? Not necessarily. Though the use of other games' assets is still a no-no, there is no indication that they were intended to be in the final version of the game. Even the Android version is not actually available on Google Play yet. Previewing games can be a tricky proposition because of the fact that so many things can change, and this is one of those cases, albeit an extreme one where content that may not necessarily represent the final product. Obviously, there was something that I missed by not being familiar with the content at hand, and I apologize for not noticing them, or reporting the issue in the initial article.
[Editor's note: We don't expect any writer to have an exhaustive knowledge of all gaming history down to art assets from older PC games. We're glad we are able to contribute to the discussion of the issue, and will keep you informed as to any resolution shown by the company and final release game.]