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 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. The existence of the player is acknowledged by the game's character, and during the final sequence the player, rather than Briggs, becomes the puzzle-solving protagonist.
The main character of Captain Briggs is entomophobic, which is to say that he has a fear of insects. Throughout the game, he must confront his fear in order to complete puzzles and progress further. Briggs will complain 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.
Limbo of the Lost follows Benjamin Briggs, the real life 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.
In the early 1990s Limbo of the Lost Creative/Project Director Steve Bovis and Tim Croucher developed the initial idea for the game. Bovis and Croucher created a demo of graphical text adventure game for the Atari ST. The duo showed the demo to publishers who were only interested if the game was finished. After unsuccessfully trying to expand the development team the project was shelved 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 A500. 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. However, Limbo of the Lost was never published since games for the Amiga 1200 and CD32 were no longer in demand. Evidence suggests that the Amiga version of the game pulled art content from other products .
In 2003, after learning PC and 3D development tools, Bovis returned to Limbo of the Lost. With Croucher and Francis the game was redesigned with only the concept and certain character designs remaining of the original game. The game was published in Europe in late 2007 by G2 Games. According to the website Adventure Gamers the release resulted in copies only being found on ebay and 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 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: Curse of the Black Pearl and several more from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Additionally, a Lord of the Rings Nazgûl bust by Weta Workshop appears to have been used in another background image.
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 Mister 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.
- Mister 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 outro music, character Script writing for Darkmere, puzzle design and voice acting, particularly that of B.S.Briggs.
- Neither Mister Croucher nor Mister Francis had any say or control over: Graphics, rendering, coding or game screen design.
- As far as both Mr Croucher and Mister Francis were aware, all submitted material was to be original; both Mr Croucher and Mister Francis adhered to this contractual clause."
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost Page. GamePro. Retrieved on 2008-06-13
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Hall of Light: Database of Amiga Games
- ↑ http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/06/12/limbo-of-the-lost-an-astonishing-tale/
- ↑ Young, Rosemary (July, 2008). Limbo of the Lost. Quandary. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Aplin, Gordon (December, 2006). Limbo of the Lost: Interview with Steve Bovis. Quandary. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ ImageShack - Hosting :: limboofthespyguyls1.png. Retrieved on 2008-06-21
- ↑ Allin, Jack (2008-06-12). Limbo of the Lost disappears into Oblivion. Adventure Gamers. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ Allin, Jack (2008-05-07). Limbo of the Lost destined for North America. Adventure Gamers. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ Lodata, Ryan (2008-06-11). Limbo of the Lost or Oblivion?. GamePlasma. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ Footage from Sea Dogs (user created promo for Pirates of the Caribbean using Sea Dogs footage)
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost Bonus DVD footage
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Caoili, Eric (2008-06-12). Tri Synergy Discontinues Limbo Of The Lost On Stolen Asset Allegations. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ Boyes, Emma (2008-06-12). Limbo in limbo after plagiarism outcry. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2008-06-12
- ↑ NeoGAF - View Single Post - Limbo of the Lost stole from Oblivion, Morrowind, UT2K4, Diablo, Silent Hill, more?. Retrieved on 2008-06-21
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost stole from Oblivion, Morrowind, UT2K4, Diablo, Silent Hill, more? - Page 2 - NeoGAF. Retrieved on 2008-06-21
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost stole from Oblivion, Morrowind, UT2K4, Diablo, Silent Hill, more? - Page 5 - NeoGAF. Retrieved on 2008-06-21
- ↑ Backgrounds. Limbo of the Lost Wiki (2008-06-19). Retrieved on 2008-06-19
- ↑ http://gameplasma.com/news/index/view/id/621/
- ↑ http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/june08/limbo2-limbo.jpg
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost devs respond to plagiarism charges. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-06-24
- ↑ Limbo of the Lost Announcement. frankyweb.org. Retrieved on 2008-08-10
- Official Publisher web page
- First look at Gameboomers.com
- GamePlasma exposes similarities between Limbo of the Lost and Oblivion
- GameSpot weighs in on controversy
- The Limbo of the Lost Wiki, collecting all comparisons
- Unofficial walkthrough
- Limbo of the Lost trailer
- Limbo of the Lost review from an advance copy