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I’ve been following Sonic Omens since the release of the Shadow of Water episode, and while I couldn’t call myself a fan of the project, I definitely found it extremely promising. I also followed the past conflict surrounding Ouroboros Studio, mostly focusing on the studio’s questionable financial machinations. A few days have passed since the release of the last episode of Sonic Omens, and I’ve seen multiple criticisms of the project, mostly outlined in one particular document. I would like to analyze this critique and assess its validity.

Important footnote: This post is my personal opinion, written without discussing it with the rest of the Sonic Metropolis team. The author is independent in regards to the issue, as he is not affiliated with any of the developers from Ouroboros Studio and is not extremely fanatical about the game. The quality of the game will not be raised in the post, suffice it to say that the game is currently in a very unplayable state, which I hope will be corrected with updates.

Pages 2-7. “They are doing it again with Patreon and on other Patreon pages”

This part of the document discusses the financial machinations of Ouroboros Studio. Reducing the criticisms outlined in these pages into talking points, we get the following claims:

1. Hiding the beta version of the game behind the paywall on multiple Patreon-type platforms.

2. Placing Game Jolt ads on the Sonic Omens page, thus making money from the game.

These claims were made to the studio a long time ago and were also accompanied by a conflict. The studio was accused of abusing the Sonic game to make money, even though the Sonic copyright belongs to SEGA, which is illegal.

1. First, let’s look at the first point. Why does the studio hide the betas behind the paywall, how inhumane is this, and what is the legal side of the question?

On the legal side, let me ask you to take a look at the terms of use of Patreon, the platform through which Ouroboros Studio receives donations.

Now pay attention to the way Patreon states ON WHAT donations are given, because this is important. Patreon’s terms of use clearly state, in black and white, that donations are paid to SUPPORT AUTHORS AND THEIR CREATIONS OVERALL, not to support the particular project. Why is this important? Because legally speaking, a donation to Patreon is a voluntary donation to the author and does not legally include copyright or copyright terms.

Thus, it is important to understand that the case of Ouroboros Studio will not go to court or legally accuse the studio of copyright infringement, because any payment they received on these kinds of platforms legally does not include the project itself.

Thus, the studio’s activities are completely legal, although in my opinion Patreon and similar platforms should think about specifying this kind of thing in their terms of use, because it’s really on the verge of legality. It’s literally a detour to make money off of other people’s ideas.

On the moral side, can we consider the activities of the studio as sneaky, because they, using roundabout ways, get money for the development of the game, whose characters belong to another IP holder?

Frankly, I doubt it. Sonic Omens, being a whole product, has never been sold to a single entity. The form of payment for the game was a voluntary donation to Patreon, which opens up access to the beta version of Sonic Omens to those who pay. Is this immoral? In my opinion, no. The project’s beta is not a commodity or product, but an encouragement and an act of friendship towards donators. What’s the difference, you might ask, since the financial act is done? The difference is that the final product (release version) is available to anyone and everyone in the same form, regardless of the amount of money donated to the studio.

In addition, I have to accuse the author of hypocrisy and double standards. The practice of posting products in early access for subscribers on Patreon is as old as the world. On YouTube, a lot of content creators have been posting early versions of videos, extras, and other content for donaters for quite a while now. You might say, “But YouTube videos are original works of art, unlike Sonic Omens”. Okay, let’s say. But then what about video reviews or walkthroughs of games? They are “videos based on motifs,” just as Sonic Omens is a “game based on motifs.” Video reviewers abuse the product being reviewed to the same extent that Ouroboros Studio abuses Sonic. So my question to the person who wrote the document and to all the people who support it is, why aren’t you attacking and cancelling YouTube reviewers who put videos out early for donaters? I’ll answer it for you – because you suffer from double standards and hypocrisy or trivial uneducation, as I just proved.

2. Now the question of advertising. Does Ouroboros Studio have the right to make money from a Sonic game through advertising? The answer is no. By the way, even Game Jolt itself claims that placing ads on the game’s page is a form of monetizing the product, which violates copyrights. Ouroboros Studio is completely and irrevocably wrong on this point, and it would be a good idea to remove these ads.

Pages 8-9. “BOLT

In these pages, it is criticized that the leader of the project under the nickname BOLT made a deal with a voice actor for Shadow, but changed the actor without telling the person he had made a deal with. Honestly, this doesn’t even sound like a critique – it’s a commonplace work ethic. I am personally embarrassed by the fact that Shadow was cast as a girl. To get around the scandal and scandal-related resentment, BOLT didn’t emphasize the change of actor. And I don’t mean to say that this is right on BOLT’s part. My point is that this, kids, is how the world works. The working relationships built by BOLT are typical and while I personally disagree with this approach, it is not a serious criticism and does not merit attention.

Pages 9-14. “JOH

On these pages, the author presents tweets from a member of the Ouroboros Studio team who was rude to the author of the post. In my mind, it is strange to respond with insults to criticism, but there is another side to this issue: 

JOH lashed out at the author of the post in reference to the author’s old review of Sonic Omens, in which he openly lied about the developers and the process of making the game in order to make them look bad. 

I don’t want to get into the whole mess of lies and intrigue, I just want to say the obvious in my opinion – being rude and uncultured is bad, but it’s not a criticism. Team of Ouroboros Studio or Sonic Omens are not to blame for the actions of a particular member of their team. And if you think that they have an obligation to remove that person from the team or restrict their freedom due to their behavior, I want to remind you that just like any other indie team, Ouroboros Studio has no contracts with its members, which gives the studio absolutely no control or responsibility for the actions of their employees. Thus, I don’t see how JOH’s actions in particular should make any difference in terms of the studio or their game.

Pages 15-21. “John_R1se

70% of the content of these pages is again made up of whining about Twitter posts and posts on Discord, which, for the existence of a reasoned justification in the last chapter, I will skip.

More interesting is the criticism that John_R1se, the composer of Sonic Omens, who wrote the original soundtrack for it, allegedly stole one of the tracks from another game – namely Cars 2. 

Well, first of all, in my opinion, the author of the document and people who agree with him just don’t fully understand who John_R1se is. From this claim I get the impression that John_R1se is some novice musician making music on his knees in the number two in a year. Except that John_R1se wrote more than a dozen tracks of perfect quality for Sonic Omens alone. So, are they all stolen? If yes, show me the proofs. If no, then explain to me, the uneducated fool, what’s the sense to steal one track and write all the others from scratch?

Besides John_R1se was constantly involved in collaborations with other artists, both in creating independent music and OST for Sonic Omens. So is Bentley Jones, who worked with John_R1se on the main theme of the game, also a music thief? 

But that’s nothing, the real nonsense is yet to come. I suggest those who are interested to listen to a track written by John_R1se for Sonic Omens called “Area 99” which according to the critics was stolen, and the “original” version, namely the track “Unknown Race” for the game Cars 2.

I hope you listened and compared. After all, I’m on record as saying that anyone who calls these tracks the same has a hearing problem or an intellectual problem. This wording is not an insult, but only a sincere concern for the health of people who are actually capable of claiming something so crazy. 

I don’t understand why I have to explain anything, but for the ignorant I will clarify. The track has a similar bpm and guitar sound, but a completely different mood, rhythm and structure. No one in their right mind would call them the same or even similar. 

Pages 21-22. “Sumochkin

In these pages, the author describes a situation that happened after the release of one of an episodes of Sonic Omens. A video blogger under the nickname “Sumochkin” did a negative critical review on the previous version of the game, after which Ouroboros Studio invited Sumochkin to join the team to voice Eggman. After joining the team, according to the author, Sumochkin released a positive critical review, thereby changing his mind. 

Too bad Sumochkin is a Russian blogger and there is no way we can verify the authenticity of this story. 

Or can we? What a coincidence that I am Ukrainian by nationality and speak Russian as my primary language. And what a coincidence that I have been following Sumochkin for several years and saw both reviews shortly after their release.

I officially declare that the author of the document is lying. The so-called “positive review” was neutral and consisted of 60% discussion of the project’s flaws. Excuse me, but I will not prove it by translating the original video, because I have better things to do. However, I will present the clip itself, which, by the way, in the document is not presented.

Pages 23-24. “Censorship drama

In these pages, the author describes various situations with bans of people from the pubs and groups dedicated to Sonic Omens and Ouroboros Studio in particular. And honestly, I do not even want to discuss this part. I’ll tell you a big secret – the owner of the group can ban anyone he wants – it’s his right. To comment on this whining I find no desire.

Pages 25. “Questionable Maria textures

In these pages, the author describes the situation that in the files of the game was found not used in the game texture of Maria in her underwear, which is presented by the author as the sexualization of children. And honestly, this is where the nonsense starts to get so bad that I’m running out of energy to comment on it. But I know people who have actually taken this nonsense seriously, so I find it necessary to comment.

Let me tell the big secret to the author of the document and his fans – 40% of video game characters, including children, women, grandmothers, grandfathers, muscular men and whoever else has naked texture. This is done in case the clothes need to be made a separate model with independent textures, which is put on the naked character model. 

Some may say “but the original model of Maria is textured together with the clothes, in addition, why on the bare texture to paint the underwear” – and you’re right in general. Only in fact the development of the game is not a linear process. At first it was planned to make a separate model of Maria’s clothes – but developers changed their minds and the texture remained. As for the underwear – I’m not going to lie, it really is strange, but explained in an elementary way – someone from the team decided to make a joke, or even accidentally added underwear there. What kind of sexualization are we talking about if this texture is not represented in the game? 

Simply put, this argument is almost as insane as comparing Area 99 to Unknown Race. 

CONCLUSION

The only valid argument presented in this document is the issue of advertising. Anything else is a substitution of concepts, a double standard, an uneducated opinion, and a common lie. It upsets and amazes me how many people (including those around me) take this nonsense seriously, which is why this post was born. 

My appeal to people is not so much to change their attitude towards Ouroboros Studio (after all, their financial manipulations issues are still relevant), but rather to be more critical of the information presented to you. Not a single-single reference provided by the author of the document is valid, 90% of his criticism is whining, substituting concepts or lies. 

Please be more critical.

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