Attack of the Clones: Five Strange Cases of Plagiarism in the Gaming Industry

Borrowing ideas in the video game industry are very common. Many super-popular franchises are based on the foundation that other studios have created. The developer comes up with an idea that others then take and develop further, modifying or turning it into something new. Sometimes they just copy.

We decided to highlight several cases of plagiarism related to the video game industry, which we find strange, absurd or simply interesting. The selection does not pretend to be 100% objective, so suggest your options in the comments!

The Amazing Spider-Man / Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Studios Activision They love to copy the ideas of competitors. The company’s flagship franchise is Call of duty – was created as a killer Medal of honorand the shooters did the shooter from EA. The competition between the brands eventually led to the fact that developers are constantly circulating from one publisher to another, which constantly creates the effect of deja vu.

Someone was clearly not given rest and success. Batman: Arkham Asylum. Therefore, the elements of gameplay from the brainchild Rocksteady can be seen in games about Transformers, Spider man etc.

We will focus on the strangest case. In 2012, the studio Beenox releases a game The amazing spider-mancreated based on the movie of the same name from Sony with Andrew Garfield starring. Gameplay players waiting for a standard project about Spider-Man, diluted with elements from Arkham asylum. At the same time, the plot of the game is trying to continue the history of the film, although the sequel and zeroed efforts Beenox.

The most perplexing is the entry from the game. Gwen Stacy holds for Peter Parker laboratory tour Oscorp, demonstrating the results of genetic research on the cross of people and animals, as well as achievements in the field of robotics and augmentation. At this point, an incident occurs in which the mutants break free.

A good start for the game, that’s just the stage setting itself causes Vietnamese flashbacks about Deus Ex: Human Revolution (released in 2011). Beenox was clearly overly inspired by work Eidos montreal.

We dare to assume that the reason was not only the desire to copy the work of colleagues in the workshop, but also a banal lack of time. However, a piece of immersive sim in a spandex superhero game released as an appendix to a movie ticket looks foreign.

Thor 2: Kingdom of Darkness / Star Wars: The Old Republic

This example is not entirely related to video games, but it is the strangest one. In 2011, the studio Bioware introduced a spectacular CGI trailer for her ambitious MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. A four-minute video was dedicated to how the Sith squad, with the support of saboteurs on a transport ship, rams the Jedi Temple, after which the massacre begins.

And in 2013 Marvel studios releases the film “Thor 2: Kingdom of Darkness“. In it, the thunder god confronts the army of the dark elves, so as not to give their leader Malekitu take possession of the mysterious ether.

In the 37th minute of the film, a spectacular scene of the assault of Asgard, which was organized by the main villain, starts. Using the services of saboteurs, the transport ship of the dark elves rams the palace of Odin, after which the massacre begins. Copying is literally frame-by-frame.

If you delve into the facts, it turns out that Thor 2 and The Old Republic have one connecting link – Blur studio.

The company is known for the huge number of CGI videos that it made to order from gaming publishers. But the studio also works on films, including projects Marvel. Moreover, the founder of the studio Tim Miller acted as the creative director of the opening scene of the sequel to the Torah.

It is quite possible to imagine a situation where Miller decides to take advantage of existing experience on The Old Republic to save time. However, in our harmonious theory there is one gap: Blur was not the only VFX studio working on the Marvel film, and the scene with the assault on Asgard was not featured in the video dedicated to creating special effects.

However, it was not possible to find information that another studio was responsible for the scene. Moreover, since 2012 Disney owns franchise rightsstar Wars“. Since there were no accusations of plagiarism (the audience pointed to other suspicious borrowings), we can assume that the studio Mickey mouse reached some agreements with EA.

The Elder Scrolls Adventure Game / Dungeons & Dragons

Bethesda notorious for its lawyers, who are ready to condemn other developers for using words in the title of projects that at least remotely evoke associations with IP publishers. You can remember the story about Scrolls from Mojang or Prey of godsrenamed to Praey for the gods. However, such a peculiar “patent trolling” eventually fell in love with Bethesda employees.

As part of an ad promotion campaign Elsweyr for IMO The elder scrolls online in 2019, the publisher released a script for a board game The Elder Scrolls Adventure Game. The nuance was that the developers simply copied the text from the module “Black road“for Dungeons & dragonsreleased back in 2016.

We are talking about plagiarism: the scenes and text were copied with minimal diligence. The authors drew attention to this “Black roadBen heisler and Paige Leytman, after which they were supported by colleagues in the workshop who raised a scandal in social networks.

As a result, Bethesda was forced to remove links to the module, initiating an internal investigation. Such a hack on the part of the publisher is surprising, because The elder scrolls boasts a very elaborate lore, which allows you to create exciting and non-standard stories.

Limbo of the Lost

A funny and somewhat tragic story. Consisting of three people Majestic studios in the early 90s of the last century, began developing a text quest about the captain of a ghost ship “Maria CelesteBenjamin Briggs. The target platform was initially selected. Atari stthen – Amiga 500, a little bit later – Amiga 1200 and Amiga cd32. But here’s the bad luck: as the game was created, the popularity of these systems rapidly declined.

In 2003, development Limbo of the lost has been restarted, and the concept has been redesigned. As a result, the humorous quest came out in 2008 on PCafter which Majestic Studios was accused of plagiarism.

The developers had little experience with a modern PC, so to speed up the process, they borrowed interface elements, backs and models from other games and even films. Among the victims were The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Black & white 2, “Beatlejus“,”Pirates of the Caribbean“and so on. Plagiarism begins right in the intro, for which a piece of video from the ending of the film was borrowed”Spawn“that ran in a frame stolen from World of warcraft. Even the fonts were stolen from “Lord of the rings“!

Under pressure from the publisher Tri synergy Discontinued Limbo of the Lost. Majestic Studios employees themselves said the problem was with outsourced outsourcers.

However, even copying assets did not help make Limbo of the Lost better. The graphics were terrible, the gameplay was buggy, but for its delusional plot, the game gained cult status in the narrow circles of gamers. People who have tested the creation of Majestic Studios compare it to the legendary “The roomTommy Vaiso.

The sad truth is that the original concept from the 90s looked very good for its time, and the developers should have left a retro touch. However, plagiarism and inability to work with 3D ruined the game.

Ubisoft and its Pocket Clone Factory

At the end of May 2023, the world spread the news that the French publishing house Ubisoft sued Apple and Google. The reason was available for review in App store and Play market shooter Area f2 from a chinese studio Ejoywhich was a clone Rainbow Six: Siege.

The Chinese initially denied allegations of copyright infringement by Ubisoft and told stories that Area F2 had been “under development for two whole years.” The absurdity is that Siege came out in 2015 – long before the launch of the Chinese project. As a result, the servers of the Ejoy project were closed.

The issue of releasing Chinese clones of Western games for mobile devices in recent years has been very acute. So, in 2017, the company Blizzard and her chinese partner NetEease have removed the shooter from the App Store and Play Market Heroes of warfarewhich was a clone Overwatch.

But not everyone remembers that at one time it was Ubisoft that established the conveyor for the production of mobile clones of competitors’ games. It’s about a subsidiary of a French giant called Gameloft.

In the 2000s, the capabilities of smartphones and other portable devices were constantly expanding, which opened up new perspectives for developers. The boom began after the start of sales of the iPhone and iPad: Apple introduced its digital store AppStore, in which gadget owners could purchase not only useful applications, but also games.

This is now the majority of mobile projects created with the intention of luring as much money as possible from the pockets of gamers. But initially, you could pay for the game and play without any microtransactions, or try out the first levels for free, then to pay extra for access to the rest of the content.

Not all developers managed to quickly adapt to new conditions. And Gameloft has become one of the largest publishers on the platform due to the fact that the company has been releasing games for portable devices for years.

The company directory for iOS were: demake Splinter Cell: Convictionfull port Prince of Persia: Warrior Withinspin off Assassin’s creed and much more. Enough and third-party orders from Marvel and other companies. But Gameloft’s activities were not limited to the release of projects under official licenses.

Quickly realizing that there was a demand for quality projects, the publishing house launched a conveyor for stamping mobile clones of famous games. The scale of activity is striking: in a fairly short time, analogues were released Resident evil, Starcraft, Diablo, World of warcraft, Crysis / halo, God of war, The legend of zelda, Uncharted, GTA etc. Games were also released on Android, but iOS remained the main platform.

The company is still releasing projects for mobile devices, but the specifics of its activities have changed. Firstly, in the 2010s the distribution model of games changed: B2P was replaced by F2P.

In addition, Ubisoft has not controlled subsidiaries since 2016 due to conglomerate Vivendiwho bought the shares of a mobile publisher on the market, forming a controlling stake and squeezing out brothers from Gameloft Guillaume. Ubisoft itself almost suffered the same fate, but the publisher’s leadership began a war with Vivendi and was able to defend independence.

Looking back, we can conclude that Gameloft avoided lawsuits due to the fact that its projects still did not slip into 100 percent plagiarism. Moreover, her clones turned out to be more playable than the originals on smartphones (hi, mobile version Resident evil 4)

Read also: The future of Ubisoft after the failure of game services: A new strategy, an old leadership and a course on diversity

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