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Another Hollow Knight Clone Is Causing An Uproar

In the age of AI art generators, debates around art theft have never been more charged. Still, while some examples are more contentious or debatable, others feel like they're clearly drawing from an earlier work. In the case of games such as Pocketpair's Pokémon-like, "Palworld," it can be difficult for some gamers to separate homage from knock-off. The same debate has arisen concerning "Deviator" from Gami Studio.

Originally released in 2017, "Hollow Knight" is one of the most beloved and well-crafted hybrids of the Metroidvania and Souls-like genres that the gaming world has ever seen. However, as is the case with many of the greatest games of each generation, with this kind of success and adoration comes the occasional copycat or clone. Enter "Deviator." Though developer Gami Studio is not affiliated with "Hollow Knight" developer Team Cherry in any way, you'd hardly know it from looking at the team's upcoming title. Not only does "Deviator" look a whole lot like its predecessor, but it also plays very much like a clone of the modern classic.

In "Deviator," players control a small warrior as they explore underground paths and caverns amid a well-animated and expansive world. While this all looks and sounds great, anyone who has played "Hollow Knight," or who is even familiar with the game, will immediately recognize the similarities between the two games. Some fans on Reddit have gone so far as to call "Deviator" a copy-paste of "Hollow Knight."

How close is Deviator to Hollow Knight in terms of gameplay?

Seeing "Deviator" in the hands of an actual gamer only compounds the obvious comparisons to "Hollow Knight." Content creator fireb0rn got their hands on a demo of the game, and to say that "Deviator" reflects its inspiration through its look and feel would be an understatement. Like in "Hollow Knight," the protagonist in "Deviator" has a certain amount of hits that they can take displayed in the top left corner of the screen, as well as a meter that slowly fills up when the player successfully launches attacks or uses the parry maneuver.

If this sounds familiar to you, fireb0rn agreed, going so far as to compare it to another "Hollow Knight" clone, "Lotus Knight." The streamer reached out to Gami Studio for a comment on what they saw as outright art plagiarism. When the studio behind "Deviator" responded to the accusations, the team began by explaining that it's only made up of five people. As fireb0rn pointed out, however, the team who made "Hollow Knight" consisted of only three people, making the excuse come across as a little, well, hollow.

Gami Studio claims that it has no choice but to steal

While it's not out of the ordinary for game developers to draw from the work of others, especially when they're making a similar genre of game, gamers who compare "Deviator" with its progenitor have almost immediately argued that some of the enemies and environments of the game are practically 1:1 when looked at next to "Hollow Knight." This is especially interesting when you consider how Gami Studio describes the game on its Steam page: "Deviator is a Metroidvania game centered around deflect, featuring exquisite 2D hand-drawn visuals," the description reads. These feelings weren't lessened as players got their hands on the demo, although many have quite enjoyed their time with "Deviator."

Gami Studio responded to fireb0rn's questions by explaining that in order for this project to remain feasible and sustainable, the team began to closely follow the example of "Hollow Knight" while building out the world of "Deviator." The dev apparently did not realize the game was so close to Team Cherry's work until "Deviator" was well into testing, and plans to rectify that when building future levels.

Still, being that both Metroidvanias and Souls-like games tend to draw from previous entries in order to continue to improve their respective genres, it's possible that some gamers will be more forgiving (especially since "Hollow Knight: Silksong" is nowhere to be seen). However, in a world where "Palworld" developer Pocketpair is also set to release its own "Hollow Knight"-like, "Never Grave," the landscape is getting increasingly crowded.