Stellaris: Galaxy Command has debuted as a brand new mobile game based on the Stellaris IP... and it's already been pulled from sale due to the use of someone else's artwork.
A press release has announced the launch of Stellaris: Galaxy Command, a sci-fi strategy mobile game created by Hong Kong-based developer Gamebear. Featuring a persistent, player-controlled universe, it seemed like it would have been an interesting new take on the complex gameplay of Stellaris. Unfortunately, several problems have cropped up since its launch.
The biggest and most notable of them all is the apparent misuse of someone else's art in the game. As Kotaku reports, one of the background screens was actually taken from the Artstation page of a Halo developer, altered, and used without credit. Consequently, the game was removed from sale.
Stellaris: Galaxy Command Developers Apologize
A post on the game's official Facebook page contains an apology from the developers (which we've transcribed below):
From the Stellaris: Galaxy Command Team
We have learned that artwork inside Stellaris: Galaxy Command was taken from another source. We are immediately removing this content from the game and we are deeply sorry to our fans and to the affected creators.
To perform a full content sweep and ensure this issue is resolved, we have temporarily taken the game offline.
This was a clear mistake on our part, and we are working to fix it as quickly as we can. We trust Gamebear to make things right for Galaxy Command and we will work closely with them to ensure this game meets the high standards our players deserve.
We're sorry this happened, and we will do better.
Obviously, using someone else's art without securing the rights isn't a very nice thing to do, nevermind the fact that the artist hasn't been properly compensated. The use of someone else's art in the game is bad enough, but the complaints and problems about Stellaris: Galaxy Command don't end there.
Reskin Allegations and Microtransactions
A submission on the /r/Stellaris subreddit features a screenshot purported to be from the game with one interesting note: it appears that Galaxy Command may actually be a reskin of Nova Empire, a similar title that was previously developed by Gamebear.
Glancing at the website for Nova Empire, it seems like they look very similar at the minimum. One comment on Paradox's forums from someone who says they're a previous player reiterates this point. Delving into even stranger territory is yet another accusation that Nova Empire misappropriated assets from Stellaris in the first place.
There are also concerns about microtransactions. Nova Empire's Google Play page states that in-app purchases can range from the very reasonable $0.99 to the somewhat disconcerting $239.99. With that kind of money, you could buy Stellaris and all of its DLC and still have money left over.
The launch of Stellaris: Galaxy Command seems to have not gone so well, and Paradox is going to have a lot of work ahead of them to get this game back into shape. No timeframe has been given for when Galaxy Command will be made available for sale again, but I think it's safe to say that Paradox Interactive is going to be checking the entire game over very carefully.
What do you think of the launch of Stellaris: Galaxy Command? What do you think publishers could do to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Let us know in the comments below!