Bleak Faith: Forsaken Developers Respond to Online Criticism

The team responds to the community and comments on recent controversies.

Recently, we reported on a story regarding a new game that was released to Steam, Bleak Faith: Forsaken, a soulslike title created by a small indie development team, Archangel Studios. In our story, we covered their use of AI-generated imagery for some of the in-game icons. The team responded to our request for comment, shedding more light on the development of the indie title. 

A Herculean Effort Considering the Resources

According to the developers, the entire development team for the game is comprised of just three members. When asked a bit more about their side of the story in regards to the use of AI, the company stated to Gamer Digest, 

“It was solely used to expedite our work process since we ourselves have a minimal budget over 4 years. So you could say a ton of constraints. There was overall just too much design work to be done that we leaned a little into marketplace assets where we felt it fit the theme, and leaned into AI art where we thought it did a better job than ourselves.”

They go on to state, 

“I am an artist myself and do draw, but the thought of having to make 50 icons was kind of horrifying at the time.”

According to some estimates, indie publishers typically expect their games to cost between $250,000 and $500,000 with a development team of five — the developers let us know that the budget for Bleak Faith: Forsaken was far lower than the industry average.

Righting their Wrongs

The question of whether it is morally “wrong” for developers to use AI to create less-important aspects of a game, like icon art, is up for debate. Even so, Archangel Studios told us, 

“Having said that, we hear the complaints and understand them – it was not our intention to harm anyone. The icons were replaced the next day, actually; we’ve not taken a break since the release addressing these things… we’re three guys, making a giant game (our first game actually), with no money.”

They go on to state,

“I had no expectation we’d ever garner this much attention, so while these decisions were being made, I wasn’t even sure the game would remotely be profitable. We got a lot of coverage, but for a lot of wrong reasons as well… these last three days of having people accuse us of all kinds of things while we’re barely making ends meet has been really damaging.”

When asked if AI was used in any other aspects of their game, they said,

AI art wasn’t used anywhere else, just those (icon) images. Everything else was meticulously handmade… All our promotional work focuses on the world and its mystery, and all the praise we get is rightfully for those things… We just want the dust to settle and to focus on what is actually important in the game, and what people want from the game.”

Ultimately, only time will tell whether the soulslike community ends up embracing Bleak Faith: Forsaken and whether fans of Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Elden Ring, will forgive the game and accept the explanations that the game developers have put forth. As it stands now, reviews for the game on Steam are largely mixed, with some fans praising its level design, atmosphere, and story, while others remain unconvinced.

With a peak userbase of 1.7K users on the game’s release, we hope more players review the game based on its merits rather than its infamy over controversies (as we do with all video game titles).

We’ll update you in our News Section as more comes out about this situation.