Limbo of the Lost
|Limbo of the Lost|
Limbo of the Lost is a traditional point-and-click adventure game that follows the adventures of Benjamin Briggs, captain of the Mary Celeste, as he explores the depths of Limbo in the Keep of Lost Souls. It was the only game developed by British company Majestic Studios, a studio founded in 1993 and consisting of Steve Bovis, Tim Croucher and Laurence Francis. The studio initially aimed to bring back the graphical text adventure genre on the Atari ST, and later the Amiga 500, culminating in a demo shown at the ECTS in 1995. Due to sinking demand of these platforms, the game was instead redeveloped for the PC and released in March 2008. In June 2008, discovery of plagiarism in the game led to its withdrawal from sale.
Limbo of the Lost is a point-and-click graphic adventure game. Players direct the controllable character around the game world by clicking with the computer mouse to interact with objects and characters in the game world.
Limbo of the Lost follows Benjamin Briggs, the historic captain of the Mary Celeste. In 1872, the Mary Celeste was discovered empty; the fate of Briggs and the rest of the crew remains a mystery. The game puts Briggs in Limbo, where he has to aid Destiny in a war against Fate.
Captain Briggs is portrayed as entomophobic, having a fear of insects. Throughout the game, he must confront his fear in order to complete puzzles and progress further. The existence of the player is acknowledged by the game's characters (described as a "spirit guide"), and during the final sequence the player, rather than Briggs, becomes the puzzle-solving protagonist. Briggs complains to the player from time to time regarding his feelings of the surroundings and what he has been asked to do. If the player does not move the mouse for a period of time, Briggs will let the player know about it.
In the early 1990s, Steve Bovis and Tim Croucher developed the initial idea for the game, Limbo of the Lost. Bovis and Croucher created a demo of graphical text adventure game for the Atari ST. The duo showed the demo to publishers, who were interested only if the game was finished. After unsuccessfully trying to expand the development team, the pair shelved the project because publishers were no longer interested in making games for the Atari ST. In 1995, Bovis, Croucher and new team member Laurence Francis began working on the game again, this time as a point-and-click adventure for the Amiga 500. Grandslam Entertainment-owned publisher Rasputin Software agreed to publish the game, and Limbo of the Lost was ported to the Amiga 1200 and Amiga CD32. Limbo of the Lost was never published, since demand had fallen for games for the Amiga 1200 and CD32.
In 2003, after learning PC and 3D development tools, Bovis returned to Limbo of the Lost. With Croucher and Francis, he redesigned the game, keeping only the concept and certain character designs from the original game. The partners arranged publication of the game in Europe in late 2007 by G2 Games. According to the website Adventure Gamers, copies of this release are now found only on eBay and at a small Asian retailer. In 2008, Tri Synergy announced it would give Limbo of the Lost widespread release in North America.
On 11 June 2008, GamePlasma posted an article showing certain places in Limbo of the Lost were identical to the game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. After the revelation, others looking into the game discovered environments and assets that appear to be taken from numerous other games, including Sea Dogs and World of Warcraft.
Other content appears to have been taken from live-action films, including a scene and dialogue from the 1997 film Spawn, an image from Beetlejuice, another from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and several more from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Certain places in Limbo of the Lost were also identical to portions of Thief: Deadly Shadows. The game depicts its lead character walking near the gates of "Famine", "Drought" and "Disease", which is identical to Thief's "Keeper Library".
On 12 June 2008, publisher Tri Synergy announced they had stopped distribution of Limbo of the Lost while investigating allegations of plagiarism. Tri Synergy said they had no knowledge Majestic Studios used other games' work without permission and said they had contacted Majestic Studios for a response.
On 24 June 2008, Majestic Studios were quoted as saying:
In response to the shocking notification that some alleged unauthorized copyrighted materials submitted by sources external to the development team have been found within the PC game Limbo of the Lost, we [the development team] have given our consent and full cooperation to both publishers who are recalling all units from all territories immediately. [...] To the best of our knowledge, no one at Majestic, [European publisher] G2Games or [North American publisher] Tri Synergy, Inc. knew about this infringement and knowingly played any part in it.
On 30 July 2008, Tim Croucher and Laurence Francis announced their departure from Majestic Studios with the following statement:
Due to the behaviour of certain members of the Majestic Studios team, Mr. T. Croucher and Mr. L. Francis would like to announce their departure from Majestic Studios; and would like it known that they have severed all connections, ties and links with the remaining members of the Majestic team.
Mr. Croucher would like it known that his input responsibility for Limbo of the Lost was: research, some vocal acting and puzzle design.
Mr. Francis would like it known that his input responsibility for Limbo of the Lost was: original opening theme and intro music, character scriptwriting for Darkmere, puzzle design and voice acting, particularly that of B. S. Briggs.
Neither Mr. Croucher nor Mr. Francis had any say or control over: graphics, rendering, coding or game screen design.
As far as both Mr. Croucher and Mr. Francis were aware, all submitted material was to be original; both Mr. Croucher and Mr. Francis adhered to this contractual clause.
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