The latest controversy surrounding Ackk Studios’ YIIK: A Postmodern RPG involves plagiarizing Haruki Murakami’s novel After Dark.
UPDATE 2: Ackk Studios has now stated there is a plan to insert a work cited section in the credits. This is, as reported by Kotaku, “for people interested in seeing our influences and references. This will also clarify how these works contributed to the project.”
UPDATE 1: In a statement made to Kotaku, the devs at Ackk Studios says the lines are intentionally there stating, “YIIK does intentionally contain allusions to After Dark by Haruki Murakami! That book was an influence on the game and we wanted to pay tribute to it.” However, Murakami is not credited in the game whatsoever.
Ackk Studios also stated that there are “subtle homages” to other authors that inspired the team, such as Chuck Palahniuk, Thomas Pynchon, and David Mitchell. They also explain the thought process behind using Murakami’s words without crediting him:
“The idea is, Alex has read After Dark, and his fondness for the novel is seeping into his reality with vocal and physical manifestations calling his attention back to the passages of the book now living in his subconscious. In that context, we thought it would not be in-character for ‘Proto Woman’ to cite that their words hail from Murakami’s novel, since they don’t have the awareness that their words are actually an excerpt from a book.”
You can read the entire statement in the link above.
The first sentence of my YIIK: A Postmodern RPG review said, “Writing about sensitive subjects, like depression or suicide, can be a hard thing to tackle.” Well, that statement has now been given more credence as Ackk Studios, the makers of the critically panned RPG, is being accused of plagiarizing Haruki Murakami’s After Dark.
A Reddit post has shed light on the matter. It appears Ackk Studios have lifted words from Murakami’s tale in a very unsubtle way. Here’s the post from Reddit user malphasia:
Andrew Allanson, one of the few developers behind the game, the podcast The Dick Show after the game’s release, discussing the many controversies surrounding YIIK. Somewhere in the discussion, he describes his intentions with the game while also giving a mention to Murakami as an influence:
“I was trying to make the video game version of a Chuck Palahniuk novel or a Haruki Murakami novel. To try and do something a little different, you know? But it turns out, everyone just wants Ayn Rand-ian written characters where the main villain is like Wesley Mouch. You immediately know what to feel about each character.”
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG was released back in January of this year for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and PS Vita. You can read my review where I said, “Every line felt like the writer was shoehorning big words into the dialogue so Alex sounded like an intellectual, but instead he just comes off as a huge douche.” I guess there was more truth to that than I initially thought.