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Android Game Inspired by Muramasa Takes Some Heat

Posted by Samantha Sofka

Developer to change any troublesome parts before release

It's true that video games often take inspiration from other games, leaving developers to occasionally answer tough questions over similar assets or design. Take for example the Flappy Bird fiasco that happened a few months back. The developer was attacked for having green pipes that bear a resemblance to those seen in the Super Mario Bros. series. Since the list of games that have taken inspiration from Mario is obscenely long, it's safe to say this is nothing new.

There are now reports that Soul Hearts, an upcoming Android game developed by Korean company NeoWiz Games, may have taken a bit too much inspiration from the 2009 Wii title Muramasa: The Demon Blade, which subsequently saw a follow-up download re-release on the PS Vita. People are once again pointing a finger at a developer's back for potentially copying another game. According to My Game News Flash, the Android title uses an art style and assets similar to Muramasa's.

Take a look at a screenshot comparison with Soul Hearts (top) and Muramasa (bottom):

There is also this image, supplied by Twitter user Chungbi, who pointed out a few similarities in terms of foliage:

Amidst all of the accusations publisher NeoWiz has commented on the situation, and pointed out that although the title is inspired by Muramasa, the gameplay is different.

The company also told ThisIsGame the following:

Soul Hearts was trying to portray an old Asian world. It seems like it was inspired a lot by Murasama in the process. Regardless of whether it was actually plagiarized or not, I'm sorry about this. The game has just finished Closed Beta Testing so we will thoroughly go over any parts that may cause issues and change them before the release.

It's certainly up for debate the degree to which this title is directly lifting assets from Muramasa, though its publisher has at least addressed the situation. Do you see a problem with this? Let us know in the comments below.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (28)

retro_player_22

#3

retro_player_22 said:

Both are similar in art style but the visuals are quite different. The straw houses and the ferns though look similar are design much different from one another. They're fine, no copycat here.

BinaryFragger

#4

BinaryFragger said:

Although the art style is very similar, some of the evidence presented is flimsy.
They copied the foliage? Really? I was not aware that Vanillaware invented green leaves. Almost as silly as Apple claiming they invented rectangles with rounded corners.

edcomics

#6

edcomics said:

Absolutely criminal. Stealing artwork is never ok, even if you're changing it by 50%, 70% or even 90%. These are obvious examples of art theft.

Kaze_Memaryu

#7

Kaze_Memaryu said:

As much as I admire everything VanillaWare (and especially George Kamitani), this is plain ridiculous. People exaggerate for the sake of exaggerating.
The assets of both games share some resemblance, but looking closely, the visual details differ in key parts (shading, level of detail, coloring style, perspective) which are distinct enough to confirm that, while Soul Hearts is clearly inspired by Muramasa in many ways, it's definitely not a plagiarism case.
That, or the dev's went the extra mile to remove details and change shadings to cover their traces (which would be almost as time-consuming as doing them from scratch).

NavySpheal

#10

NavySpheal said:

@Ryno If you can find it, go for it. Very great and unique game. Gamestops around me have em for about 10 bucks complete, where I got mine.

AkinaChan

#12

AkinaChan said:

First off, Vanillaware; go sue someone (;゜0゜)

I really loved Muramasa when it came out. Some of my favorite visuals on a sidescroller ☆♪

BearClaus

#13

BearClaus said:

@vonseux The actual art assets themselves would have been copied directly from Muramasa. Drawing the same architectural style of house or the same species of plant is not the same as ripping the backgrounds from the ROM (if that's a thing people do) and placing them in a different game.

Morpheel

#14

Morpheel said:

Not sure about others, but the leaves in the second example look exactly the same, just some are covered with other objects. But the visible parts are identical.

Sparx

#15

Sparx said:

Not gonna lie, they look fairly different to me and don't see what the problem is

AVahne

#17

AVahne said:

Yeah...not buying this. Art style is similar but I won't go as far as saying that there's plagiarism here.
EDIT: Though, I WILL say that they're copying the special effects and style.

Windy

#18

Windy said:

@Ryno Haha me too. I see it sitting on the game shelf every other day and intend to get to it kinda go nah I will play something else.

SetupDisk

#19

SetupDisk said:

They don't look that similar. As for the ferns, bad news they usually look like ferns.

BakaKnight

#20

BakaKnight said:

Geez, they look so similar that for a second I couldn't tell which screenshot was from which game XD
Not sure if there are the bases for talk of lawsuits, afterall noone even saw the full game yet for know how far the similarities goes, BUT that "it seems like" from NeoWiz is ridicoulus, it's a clear fact they took inspiration (for say the list) from the artstyle of Muramasa >_>;

vonseux

#21

vonseux said:

@BearHunger yeah, and that's called plagiarism. ripping the backgroung and placing them in a diferente game is not, it's called copying.

FantasiaWHT

#22

FantasiaWHT said:

The buildings aren't that big of a deal. They are similar, yes, but that could easily be explained by the fact that they are both mimicing ACTUAL architectural styles. They aren't close to identical. But the fern arrangements are identical.

Volmun

#23

Volmun said:

I Agree that the fern's are more or less identical just one is slightly obscured - but the bindings that's a bit too OTT in listing as that's a genuine stile of building so a bit unfeare to clam that its been copped like that (bit like calming a office block in game A is copping game B's best example i can give tbh)

Shane904

#26

Shane904 said:

If you're complaining about similar plants in a game... you should leaf the internet.

AlbertoC

#27

AlbertoC said:

Plenty of popular mobile games are in fact blatant rip-offs of other games, with ads and microtransactions. The lowest point of the gaming scale if you ask me.

Even Superman for N64 was an original creation and didn't have cash-grabbing schemes everywhere.

rubberducky

#28

rubberducky said:

The ferns are the same? really? thats really the whole basis for plagiarism? For all i know the artist on Soul Hearts that drew the ferns is the same one that Muramasa used to draw the ferns and thats just how he happens to draw ferns.

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