A new lawsuit comes to light against Lester Speight, the actor behind Gears of War‘s Augustus Cole, claiming that the actor stole the character from one Lenwood Hamilton.
Lawsuits are a dime a dozen within the gaming industry, as they are assuredly for most billion-dollar mediums. With that said, every once in a while there’s a legal snafu that’s noteworthy because of its seemingly outlandish premise – at least in the eyes of gamers – with the recently dismissed case of Rockstar Games v Lindsay Lohan over accusations that an in-game character was based off of the actress being a prime example of this. Not to be outdone, another charge claiming a similar issue has sprung up over Gears of War focussing on the franchise’s beloved character Augustus “Cole Train” Cole.
The lawsuit in question isn’t specifically against the series’ newest developer The Coalition, current publisher Microsoft, or even former IP holder Epic Games (based on reports from TMZ) at this point in time, but it includes the voice actor responsible for bringing life to Cole Train, Lester Speight. Lenwood Hamilton is the man behind the claims, stating that the creators of the game stole his likeness and voice and inserted them directly into the game.
Specifically, Hamilton claims that the character of Augustus Cole matches him in terms of “race, derby hats, wrist bands, and a gold front tooth.” Those familiar with Gears of War may have been able to piece together that this look for the character is derived from the multiplayer-only ‘Superstar Cole’ skin featured within the third entry of the series, which features the former Thrashball player-turned-soldier decked out in a little more bling than he traditionally dons.
Not stopping there, a “forensic voice examiner” has allegedly confirmed that the voice of Cole Train and Hamilton are essentially the exact same – with little to no difference separating the two. Whether or not these claims hold up remains to be seen, however, as the case inevitably progresses towards a verdict. In the meantime, it’s important to note that Hamilton is hoping to receive a chunk of the profits generated by the Gears of War property thus far, which would be rather substantial since the notoriously Xbox-exclusive IP has grossed over a billion dollars and sold over 27 million copies to-date (via ICXM).
While fans wait to see how this rounds out, there’s no immediate concern that the lawsuit will impact their ability to play Gears of War 4 with friends. This option is even more appealing now that two new maps and even more unlockable multiplayer skins have been added into the mix. With that said, it could be a while before players are suiting up as ‘Superstar Cole’ again.
Gears of War 4 is currently available on PC and Xbox One.