Well now, this is certainly a tad embarrassing: Microsoft has allowed an illegal version of Red Hook Studio’s Darkest Dungeon to become available for sale on the Windows Game Store. The game (which is a gothic, turn-based RPG roguelike) is currently in an Early Access phase on Steam and The Humble Store.
The bogus copy of Darkest Dungeon appears to have been uploaded and published to the Microsoft Game Store by somebody called Balaji Chowdary. He’s certainly not Red Hook Studio. He’s trying to scam people out of $3.99 via Microsoft’s storefront, but what’s interesting is that this Balaji Chowdary is no stranger to doing this: he is listed as the publisher for LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Watchmen: The End is Nigh, and the app VMware Player. How he’s managed to get away with this for song long obviously raises questions about Microsoft’s curatorship of the Windows Store.
It was Red Hook Studio’s designer, Tyler Sigman, who first alerted the public to this fake version. He sent out a Tweet on Sunday asking whether anyone knew of a contact at the Windows Game Store. The official Darkest Dungeon Twitter account also cautioned people to purchase the game from Steam or the Humble Store.
There are a number of giveaways that indicate the Windows Game Store version isn’t legit. For a start it costs the aforementioned $3.99 as opposed to the $19.99 it sells for on Steam and Humble. Then there’s the fact that the download size is less than 3MB, so what exactly is downloaded from the Microsoft Game Store is unknown; it could even be malware. Then there’s the fantastic description for the game, which features a number of grammatical errors:
“Darkest Dungeon is a Strategy game.Player will employee, train and control a team of heroes in Darkest Dungeon Game. They will journey through warrens, twisted forests, crypts and other strangling places and they will be confronted by monstrous creatures which are unimaginable with these there comes calamities like stress, disease and famine.”
Finally, as Eurogamer points out, the image used for the Windows Game Store version even has a warning on the bottom right to activate a copy of Windows, meaning the screenshot was taken on a PC running an illegal version of Windows. Awkward indeed.
Anyway, one good thing to come out of this is that Red Hook Studio is getting some free marketing. Their game, Darkest Dungeon, looks really good actually, and I feel that it’s somewhat of an oversight that we haven’t featured the game since it beat its Kickstarter over a year ago. Be that as it may, you can check out the latest trailer below, and if it scratches your very particular itch for a gothic roguelike with Lovecraftian undertones, then check it out. But check it out on Steam or Humble; not Microsoft Game Store. You were paying attention, right?