Bad rip-offs of established IPs are not strangers to the iOS App Store — in fact, it is regularly cited as a regular problem, with Apple frequently culling bad Mario games and other ripoffs. But rarely are developers so brazen that they declare they are the IP holder. Yet this is the issue that indie developer Studio MDHR finds themselves today — earlier this morning, someone stole their identity and tried selling a fake Cuphead port on iOS.
The original news came by way of watchful gamers at ResetEra who noticed the listing. Understandably, the reactions were absolute surprise — the listing looked official, with a well-articulated description, copyright markings, and (most importantly) developer Studio MDHR listed as the developer. On top of that, the game was being sold for $4.99 (well under the Xbox One/PC price tag) and available for both iPhone and iPad.
And while some just accepted the fact that this was a surprise announcement, others were more skeptical — emailing Cuphead developer MDHR directly. And, yes, they were caught off guard:
— Joachim Kläschen (@klschn) December 18, 2017
Since then, Studio MDHR has made more than a few announcements denouncing the game, including an official Twitter post:
There is a Cuphead imposter app on the iOS store — this is a scam. We are working on removing the fraudulent app ASAP!
— Studio MDHR (@StudioMDHR) December 18, 2017
and an official statement was given to publication Polygon:
We constantly find Cuphead ripoff games on the iOS storefront, but this is the first time someone has tried to directly sign up under our actual company name and sell a fraudulent version of our game. It’s unfortunate because it’s time consuming for us to have to keep contacting the storefronts to get them to remove these frauds. We don’t want fans to think it’s our stuff — because it isn’t and it could possibly be malicious.
Thankfully, Apple has responded by removing the fake game. It is unclear how many units had been sold, if people will be getting refunds, or if the fake Cuphead had any viruses associated.
And crazy enough, the faux iOS Cuphead wasn’t entirely unbelievable — even to purchasers. Besides the glitched intro (seen above), the game itself seemed fairly consistent with the actual game on PC and Xbox One. For an idea on how the game looked, you can check the gameplay video below quickly captured by YouTuber sevenape before the game was removed:
So as you can imagine, it’s been a stressful day for Studio MDHR. However, they have had an overwhelming amount of success since launch — aside from winning three awards at The Game Award 2017, they also went platinum mid-October boasting 1,000,000 sales. DualShockers reviewed the (real) version of Cuphead, awarding the game a 9.0 out of 10 noting “Cuphead is a stunning achievement in both gaming and interactive art, and unlike anything I’ve ever played before.”