A copyright claim by Activision claiming an indie shooter game used some assets from the Call of Duty franchise causes the game to be pulled from Steam.
The game in question is called Orion. It’s an open-world sci-fi shooter developed by Trek Industries and a $0.99 game on Steam. It was also available this week for half that price, making it $0.49 during the ongoing Steam Summer sale. However, Orion has been pulled from Steam after Activision filed a copyright claim against the game, saying Orion used art assets from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
The art assets in question have to do with Orion‘s weapon art, which Activision claims is a direct infringement on weapons from Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare. David Prassel of Trek Industries says the DMCA takedown request by Activision calls out three weapons specifically:
“[…]on behalf of Activision, who alleges that the game Orion uses weapon art content from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The weapon art in question includes the M8A7 rifle, the Haymaker rifle, and the Bal-27 rifle.”
Prassel says Orion was pulled from Steam without any notice from either Valve or Activision. Polygon reached out to Trek Industries, and the developer says the copyright claim and takedown of the game is causing serious issues for Trek Industries:
“[The takedown of Orion has] caused monumental damages to both revenue and brand to Trek Industries by wrongly slandering and defaming us by accusing us to be thieves.”
Trek Industries claims no wrongdoing and that no weapon art was pulled directly from any Call of Duty game. Polygon gathered these images comparing Orion’s weapons with the Call of Duty weapons in question.
In a full statement, Prassel said both the weapons of Orion and Call of Duty are based on classic, real-world military weapons, which could explain where the similarities are coming from:
“The sight is the only similarity we can see. Even if it was a 1:1, that’s not enough for a design infraction, even by legal standards and by a significant amount.”
“And the sight is just a futuristic M1 Garand, so either way both are ripping off a real world property, the only thing that could actually hold up and is the only one without a dog in this fight.”
“If anything you can argue the gun on the left is different enough, no gap on the rail, no racking bolt, missing bolts on the upper, the markings, even the actual body of the gun is quite different, the rails and front sights look very similar to the M14.”
“Regardless, an invalid and malicious act from Activision on wrong or non-existant [sic] evidence. They are are multi-billion dollar company coming over what is currently a 50 cent game, without contacting us or requesting anything of us NOR providing any specific assets or images of the offensive content to begin with.”
“That being said, if our community finds our weapons or content offensive we are of course always listening and will integrate feedback/suggestions based on such. If you want weapons changed, we are a developer that reads what you write. This is where we are most different when compared to Activision.”
Activision has not offered any additional comments, and Orion continues to be missing in action from Steam.
Do you think Orion copied assets from Black Ops 3, or is it just a coincidence? Let us know in the comments.