UPDATE 06/03/2023: Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic, the Soviet city-builder game, is now back on Steam following a DMCA copyright violation from an angry fan, as per original story below.
The game returned to Steam on 4th March, with a message from the game's development team.
"We thank you for your patience, support and understanding as we navigated this tricky situation," it reads.
"We want to apologise to those who were looking to purchase the game and were unable to. We realise that we underestimated the situation, and it quickly escalated to a point that posed a threat to our game. We greatly wish that this had not been the case.
"But we are now back on track and you can fully enjoy the game! We are excited to get back fully to the development and put this matter behind us."
ORIGINAL STORY 20/02/2023: Soviet city-builder PC game Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic has been struck by a DMCA copyright violation issued by an angry fan.
As a result, the game from Slovakian developer 3Division is currently unavailable to purchase on Steam and does not appear in searches, though is still playable by those who have already purchased it.
The claim has been made by a fan of the game who wanted to be included in the game's credits, but has since gone rogue.
"Recently we got the first enemy of our Soviet Republic," a statement on Steam from 3Division's Peter Adamcik reads in response. "This enemy is making our life harder and significantly slowing down the development process. He is, ehm, he WAS once a respected member of our community and one of the best party members, but he decided to betray our Republic, our Party and our ideals."
3Division began work on a realistic mode for the game, something the developer said was intended from the start but was not a critical feature to be included in Early Access.
The fan has published a guide on how to play the game more realistically. While the developer said it would be happy to include the fan in the credits, he instead has issued a number of copyright strikes.
"As he chose to use extortion and abuse, we became angry about this, and decided to never mention the name of the challenge he allegedly 'invented' again, and ignore him," reads Adamcik's post, which details the points of the claim.
"But this guy reported our website, and the website was taken down. He also reported our video about the last content update where realistic mode was introduced, and the video was taken down. He was successful because those reports are handled by BOTs, not humans. We will issue our reactions, and hopefully we will get answers soon from human employees of YouTube and Wix, who can evaluate his actual claims and agree that this is nonsense.
"We are already in touch with Valve, because for sure he will try to take down the whole game from the Steam store."
In a statement to Kotaku, Adamcik said the fan was a lawyer and appears to be abusing his status.
"It is very disturbing," Adamcik said. "First, the individual with law knowledge think he can better secure his rights than some other players. Another aspect why we would afraid to put him into credits would be that other players would get angry about it because his ideas was definitively not new. It seems like he just abuse the fact he is attorney at law - he will definitively handle the suit cheaper than us, so he think he may get anything he wanted from us because we will not go for costly suit. But legally he not have any ground under his foot to stay on and we will probably fight to the end! According to our opinion he is at big risk also - reputation, financial damage, also what he is doing is not with ethic either) If the game stays banned this will result into a enormous financial damage (aside from suit cost) for us and also for Valve...
"Another aspect what is very sad is that, DMCA mechanics just not works, seems like anybody can claim anything, the service provider is just forced to remove the content and in general not ask or nor the considering if the claims are real. Signed lawyer seems enough and everybody get fear from long and costly suits, content is then removed.
"This is sad!"
The developer is continuing to make changes to the game in spite of these legal issues. The latest report for the community post states: "As you can see in previous special report, the game has been taken down from Steam Store due to DMCA takedown notice in relation to recent realistic mode we added into the game. We filled a counter-notice and now we need to wait."