171, Brazilian GTA, Is Top 3 on Steam Amid Allegations; Understanding the case Action games

171, a Brazilian game inspired by the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise, reached the 3rd position in the Steam Top 100, which lists the best-selling games of the week in Brazil. The highly-anticipated title from developer Betagames Group released its early access alpha version on November 17, with only the recently released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) behind it. Digital store ranking. However, the game studio has been embroiled in controversy after receiving criticism from developers and being accused of fraud and embezzlement. See below for more details on the case.

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171, Brazilian Open World Game Inspired by GTA, Reaches Top 3 on Steam Digital Store in Brazil Surrounded by Controversy — Photo: Reproduction/Steam

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The 171 project has been in development for about 10 years, but took a more definitive form in 2015 with Unreal Engine 4. Since then, the company has implemented several crowdfunding campaigns, such as in 2019 and 2020, when it raised BRL 68,839. and BRL 195,208, respectively, for the development of the alpha version. This more “early” edition is currently on sale on Steam with early access starting at R$53.99.

However, some of the developers of the title shared critical posts on social networks and their own websites, saying that the production team was not transparent in the spending of the funding campaign. In one of them, the developer Junior_Djjr, from the website MixModsExplains that much of the game’s content is purchased “assets”—that is, pre-made resources created by third parties, such as graphics and game mechanics, that are sold in stores such as the Unreal Engine Marketplace and the Unity Asset Store.

The developer does not criticize the use of assets, but claims that they are very cheap in relation to the money collected to implement them in the game. For example, he said, the “FGear” car system costs US$100 (about R$533), the characters are driven by the World Director NPC, which costs R$550, and the hero’s mobility is powered by Advanced Locomotion. A system that is free.

In this regard, the post is particularly critical of the “day-night system” implemented by the game team. It has a stretch goal of reaching BRL 85,000 in funding, which uses the $39 unit (about BRL 207), Ultra Dynamic Sky. He also claims that the total core assets will be less than 3,000 BRL and that the game is an “asset flip”, a name given to low-quality projects that only slightly modify pre-made resources.

Some developers argue that 171 owes most of its content to pre-made assets and that it will lack the transparency of crowdfunding — Photo: Reproduction/Steam

Faced with the allegations, Betagames Group issued a statement via a social media post last Tuesday (22). In it, the producer denies the allegations and states that the assets do not make up 20% of today’s game. The press release also states that “it is believed that it is possible to divert money to A budget About R$ 164,000 in a sandbox project like 171 Alpha (…) does not take seriously those who receive income from this industry and value its professionals”.

Currently, 171 users have to purchase the alpha version with early access on Steam to play, which has been very successful since its launch. In this game variant, although there is no campaign mode, it is possible to explore the open world, perform certain activities to earn money and spend the earnings on clothes and car customization. The full game is expected to be released in early 2024 for PC, and there are plans for versions such as PlayStation 5 (PS5), PlayStation 4 (PS4), Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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