Activision has recently confirmed that the next Call of Duty title would see the series returning to World War 2, and the publisher even gave fans a glimpse of the upcoming title’s cover. It featured a dirtied American soldier, with the US Army’s signature helmet donned, staring straight forward with dog tags wrapped around his hands just above the stock of his rifle. The cover to Call of Duty: WW2 sets the tone while bearing few surprises, and it turns out that it’s also not the first game image to be structured exactly like it is.
The similarities didn’t escape Gearbox Software’s own Randy Pitchford, who tweeted an image showing that artists working for Activision or Sledgehammer Games may have taken a significant dose of inspiration directly from promotional material for Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway, a 2008 release which had two very familiar-looking images used to market the game. Both of these images feature a helmeted and war-torn soldier clutching dog tags, looking thoughtfully forward.
Gamers can take a glimpse at Randy Pitchford’s tweet below, which seems to imply that Activision knew what it was doing when it created the familiar-feeling box art for Call of Duty:
I'll just leave this right here. pic.twitter.com/Id29bfTaU7
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 21, 2017
Of course, game covers aren’t typically known for their diversity or uniqueness, and one can see clear patterns throughout the last several years of video game releases – especially when considering covers that feature just one character, or even the copy-and-paste ‘brown-haired working man’ look in game protagonists themselves (something which we took note of a few years ago). The industry frequently hedges its bets based on what audiences have previously responded well to, so it’s no real surprise that game covers themselves have begun to look like sequels of each other – even if the titles aren’t even developed or published by the same companies.
So far, it seems like no one from Activision has responded to Pitchford’s tweet, and it’s not currently known if anyone from Gearbox or Ubisoft will pursue any legal avenues officially alleging that Activision stole the box art from an existing intellectual property owned by another company. This is likely far from the last similar-looking cover gamers will see in the coming years, but it’s still worth taking note when it happens.
What do you think about the Call of Duty cover, Ranters? Do you think it took some heavy inspiration from Brothers in Arms?