The recent patch notes for Call of Duty: Warzone revealed what operator skin would be coming next. Developer Sledgehammer Games shared Samoyed; an upcoming skin based on the dog breed of the same name. However, following the reveal there have been accusations that the Warzone dog skin was plagiarized.
Twitter user saillin has accused Activision of stealing their content. The posted tweet says “I have to explain this matter, COD Vanguard Samoyed skin plagiarism”. Attached is an image showing saillin’s original art next to Warzone’s Floof Fury Tracer Pack. It doesn’t take more than a glance to tell that the similarities go far beyond a coincidence.
Although it’s possible that both skins being a Samoyed dog is a coincidence that’s where the coincidences end. Both the original art and the Warzone dog skin have near identical clothing. That includes the same scarf, the same satchel, and the same elbow pad.
It looks as though the artist is being genuine too. A look through saillin’s ArtStation account reveals that their original work was posted in December 2019. That’s right the concept art that has been plagiarized is from over two years ago.
Activision hasn’t formerly commented on the situation yet but its actions scream guilty. For one, it has removed any reference of the dog skin from the Warzone patch notes. Also, saillin has since confirmed that Activision has reached out to them. Hopefully, the situation gets sorted out and saillin gets appropriately compensated.
Not the first time
This isn’t actually the first time Activision has run into legal issues with Call of Duty. In 2019 Call of Duty Modern Warfare introduced an operator called Mara. But it turned out that Mara’s appearance was taken from a real-life model called Alex Zedra. Zedra later accused the publisher of stealing and monetizing her likeness which is a breach of copyright.
Call of Duty series is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, but it is absolutely not a bad thing. Yes, the last four installments were just a copy/paste of one another with different settings and minor gameplay tweaks in the single-player campaign. Yes, the basic corridor formula hasn’t budged an inch in the last four years. And, yes, the set-pieces at times were ridiculously contrived just for the sake of showing them in first-person.
But at the end of the day even the most jaded and picky gamer (unless of course he’s a complete self-righteous individual) can agree that there is still some fun to be had there. The gunplay ultimately works, except for some guns sounding like broken pop-corn machines. The rapid changing of perspectives and the overall story delivery insure that the player is always kept on his toes. The controls are tight and responsive without exception. And the set-pieces even for the hardcore and casual gamers alike can deliver thrills and excitement.
Noticed how I used the term “casual gamers” in the last sentence? No, I’m not trying to segregate people to start an argument. I’m saying that there are those who are actually passionate about video games and then there are those who just merely find it as a fun pastime. And both viewpoints are justified. But in case of COD collocation “casual gamer” perfectly encapsulates the secret of its financial success. It structure appeals to everyone and especially to those who merely seek a short distraction from their everyday routine. I’m not saying it lacks depth or enjoyment. The multiplayer as a twitch-based shooter is really fun. Unlocking new weapons, gear, different perks and then using them is incredibly addicting There is even an amount of strategy to be found there, despite what some rage-fueled gamers might suggest. But the overall experience, both single-player and multiplayer, can be boiled down to one word – fast. And I want to stress this out – it’s not a bad thing. It’s just how all the games in the Call of Duty Series have been designed from the beginning and it works perfectly well. And because of this gameplay design it appeals to everybody.
Especially to those who just have an hour a day to relax and play one game. Because imagine you are a family man with a full-time job and you just want a short burst of escapism for two hours? What will you pick: a game where you have to learn basic mechanics and combos or a game where a machine gun is handed to you with a with one simple instruction “Go nuts!” There are obviously exceptions to this (like with every rule), but for the most part untutored gamers will pick the latter. And as we can see, they already do. Considering that around the world even those people who don’t know anything about videogames, heard of “Call of Duty”. And that’s a fact. It’s ridiculously popular for all the right and wrong reasons at the same time, and to sit in your room, merely flinging poo at it without any explanation will not benefit anyone. Of course it doesn’t mean that you need to bend over and let developers have their way even if you don’t like what the current game is offering.
No, it means that we need to make valid points, talk with developers using those points, make suggestions in general without resorting to verbal violence and, finally, vote with our money. I know it’s a very simple and obvious observation, but it looks like we have forgotten about it. And I don’t actually blame those who have, because partly they do have a point. Even if you are a long-time fan, you have to admit that the argument “every year, all the same” at this period in time is somewhat validated if articulated correctly. But we finally can fix it, right now. And you know why it not only might work, but is already showing results?
The latest “Black Ops 3” gameplay presented at E3. Treyarch finally decided to give player some choices in how to approach the game in the single-player campaign. What gear to choose, what weapons and augmentations to take into battle. Certain sections of the map will be an open playground. At last, all weapons sound like actual firearms and not toys for children. They are altering and changing-up what has become the routine of this series. Whether or not Treyarch will succeed is a totally different question. But from what has been shown, I have to state, that this is the first Call of Duty that I had interest in since the original “Black Ops”.
That’s the point of this article. To say that, yes, for the last four years (some would argue even more) the Call of Duty series has been refusing to evolve or change in any way. I am sure that even some of the hardcore fans can partially agree with that statement. But I am also sure that even those who don’t like Call of Duty can see the potential presented in the new gameplay videos. Because the developers are not only mixing up the stale formula, but actually doing something truly exciting with it – presenting gamers with freedom.
So instead of trying to yell against COD or one another and say that it’s popular for no apparent reason. Or simply outright ignoring it and not giving a blumpkin of whatever will happen to it. Let’s just take a step back and, if Treyarch delivers on what they have showed, see the obvious evolution of the franchise and future potential on display. “Why do that?” – you ask. Because, it will sell no matter what. The reputation amongst casual players has been built and people who simply want to relax for couple of hours will buy it for the reasons that I’ve mentioned above. So let’s not piss in the incoming tide for once, but to actually help it change its course, because now it seems to be possible. So that we will have something more to play that is not only entertaining or good but is genuinely fun.