Devil Engine is a fine shooter, but it’s sadly been overshadowed by legal shenanigans which have been rumbling on for quite some time now – shenanigans which have delayed the release of the game’s update, Devil Engine Ignition.
Protoculture Games (AKA Tristan Chapman) – the developer of Devil Engine – claimed in July 2020 that no payment had been forthcoming from publisher Dangen Entertainment, and that Dangen was withholding the rights to the game from its developer.
This appeared to have been resolved recently when a joint statement was issued which said that Protoculture and Dangen had sorted the whole mess out, only for Devil Engine’s artist and musician – siblings Thomas and Joseph Bailey – to issue their own statement which claimed Chapman was using their work without permission on Devil Engine.
The pair have now issued a second statement on the matter which outlines their position with little room for doubt. Rather confusingly, they’re using the official @Protocultgames Twitter account for this, which they say Chapman “relinquished” ownership of after they complained about him posting “unnecessarily inflammatory and increasingly false accusations under the guise of representing all of our opinions”.
Chapman has issued a response to this statement and claims that royalties from the game have been shared fairly between those who worked on it. He also appears to have no plans to stop selling Devil Engine with the art and music in place:
After consulting with our attorney, we have decided to continue to sell DEVIL ENGINE, with its original content. If anyone takes legal action against us, we will respond appropriately and according to our legal rights.
It would appear that unless Chapman removes the art and music from the game – a massive task – then legal action will indeed be taken and Devil Engine could well be removed from sale completely (at the time of writing it’s still available on both the eShop and Steam). It’s a real shame, as the game is a superb shmup which channels the spirit of the Thunder Force franchise quite excellently.