At the end of last week, a "new" shooter called The Bullet: Time of Revenge appeared on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Unlike most games, it's official eShop description is surprisingly brief, and it's available as we speak for less than a fiver:
Become a Bullet - eliminate bad people using many kinds of weapons, exploring features like driving cars or tanks, flying helicopters or a jet plane. There are many achievements and unlockables that will help spread chaos in the city.
Despite seeming like a cheap and cheerful release on the surface, The Bullet: Time of Revenge has been causing quite the stink online since launch. It turns out that this new Grand Theft Auto-like release appears to be what's known as an asset flip, whereby a developer can legally buy a pre-made asset pack, do nothing to change it other than give it a new title, and release it into the world to make a profit.
We actually ran a piece on the practice a few years ago when it became clear that prolific Wii U eShop developer RCMADIAX was simply changing the title screens on 'game builder' kits and selling them on Nintendo's digital storefront.
In this case, the asset pack in question is known as Hammer 2 Reloaded, and anyone can go ahead and buy the full game and its assets for $50. The idea is that beginner game devs can buy to this to have a starting point and learn their way around customising an already-built world to make their own game. In this case, it appears the developers have simply bought the pack and uploaded the game as if it were their own. Here's what Hammer 2 looks like:
Amazingly, this isn't the first time this has happened; there have been numerous cases in the past where developers have purchased the Hammer 2 asset pack and released it under a new name, usually on Steam. Thanks to the licensing agreements found on these asset pack purchases, doing this is actually legal, but it never goes down well with gamers as you might expect. Seeing such a release pass through Nintendo's quality assurance team is saddening, to say the least.
The game was talked about yesterday by popular YouTuber Jim Sterling, and ever since, Nintendo fans have been venting their frustrations online. Here are a few select comments we found:
The eShop is really close to becoming a clone of Steam ain't it? No wonder Nintendo dropped their seal of quality a long time ago.
The eShop is already FLOODED with mobile ports and shovelware, now we gotta sift thru asset flips too?!
Nintendo just “flipped” the “switch” on quality control by green lighting this when it should have been gas lighted.
Do you think releases like this should make it onto Switch? Would you prefer the Switch eShop to celebrate originality over asset flips, or should any and all games be available? Share your thoughts with us below.
Thanks to Sup3Rmint for the tip!