After a two week hiatus which saw Reiza Studios’ newest title Automobilista pulled from the Steam Online Marketplace due to a copyright claim most likely filed by Formula One Management, the racing simulator with a small yet loyal following is once again available for sale to the general public.
UPDATE: Reiza have just pushed out a 760 MB patch onto Steam’s servers, replacing many of their knock-off Formula One liveries with brand new fictional creations or palette swaps. Widespread changes have been made to all six Grand Prix Seasons, indicating the copyright claim was indeed filed by Formula One Management as many have speculated. Some of the biggest changes can be seen below – with all Williams Martini knock-off entries having been completely removed from the game:
Reiza’s lack of consistency may be a cause for concern, as not every individual fantasy team has been given the proper treatment which prevent them from dealing with another copyright claim. The developer has tried to remain uniform across each of their fictional Grand Prix Series, with the same handful of fictional teams used to represent their respective real-world counterparts. Scuderia Maranello, for example, is clearly Ferrari, but only the modern Scuderia Maranello entry has been granted a brand new blue livery – whereas some of the older cars have been completely unchanged. However, as seen in the title screenshot, other cars from the same class have received substantial livery changes – such as Ayrton Senna’s totally not Mclaren MP4/4 being painted in a shade of baby piss yellow.
As a result, Formula One Management could very well file yet another copyright claim on Reiza Studios, and be completely justified in doing so. There doesn’t appear to be any real pattern to the adjustments, indicating sloppy instructions on FOM’s part, or a sense of urgency for Reiza Studios to get the game back on Steam’s store as soon as possible.
Regardless, there are cars inside Automobilista which still infringe on FOM’s copyrights, and it will be only a matter of time before Bernie’s boys find out. Again.
Does this mean Reiza is in the clear for all future activities? Not entirely. Even managing to clear things up with Formula One, Reiza can still face an onslaught of copyright claims from auto racing series such as V8 Supercars, Speed Energy Formula Off-Road, and even the automaker Porsche, as Reiza Studios have included unlicensed knock-offs of the aforementioned vehicles within Automobilista, or plan to do so in the future. One PRC.net reader claims to have actually notified V8 Supercars of the potential copyright infringement, but it remains to be seen whether the Australians will take that Email seriously.
As Automobilista fans rejoice, studio spokesperson Renato Simioni has remained strangely silent on the game’s official forums – slightly odd given how many will see this as a victory for sim racing now that the dust appears to have settled.