Oh, Activision you never learn.
We all know developer Activision is no stranger to controversy. If anything, they thrive from it to a degree as it brings in more consumers and attention to their titles like Call of Duty, that will forever be infamous for its “No Russian” mission. But one would think they would learn from past mistakes in the realm of copyright infringement, after their debacle with famed wrestler Booker-T and his accusation against them for their design of Prophet in Black Ops 4. And yet here we go again.
Everyone who has played the extremely popular WARZONE game mode is familiar with unlockable character Mara who has become wildly popular since her release and is now the source of a much bigger issue.
Writer and photographer Clayton Haugen has alleged that developer Activision Blizzard has modeled their character Mara off his own original character Cade Janus, who is the central character for his work November Renaissance. In the 22-page complaint (Source Torrent Freak) Haugen points out that he: “created photographs of the Cade Janus character so that he could present November Renaissance to film studios. He recruited a talent to be the closest representation of how he wanted to portray his Cade Janus character.” This talent happened to be Twitch streamer and cosplayer Alex Zedra whom he worked with back in 2017. She is also the same model Activision Blizzard tapped for their character Mara.
Looking into the complaint it does not take much to see the similarities between the two characters and how they are presented when viewing Haugen’s work on his Instagram where he posted pictures of his character. It is even mentioned that Activision Blizzard went as far as to use the exact same make-up artist that Haugen used to bring his character to life. It is also stated that both Zedra and the make-up artist had to sign non-disclosure agreements. “To conceal their planned infringement of Haugen’s Cade Janus Photographs and his Cade Janus character, Defendants required the talent and the makeup professional to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements,” the complaint states. It also goes on to claim that, “he believed that November Renaissance could be a successful film and the unique female lead would distinguish it from an over saturated market of action and science fiction movies.”
And with WARZONE having made billions of dollars in sales after Mara’s release…he might be right.
With multiple sources reaching out to the developer for comments and being answered with silence, this does not paint a pretty picture.