Earlier this week, news broke that Activision was alleging that a dinosaur shooter game stole assets from Call of Duty, and contacted Steam to take down the game. While shock and outrage was initially felt by the developer and echoed by fans of the indie title, the developer has now revealed that Activision’s assets were indeed copied.
Orion developer David James released an official statement on Steam, acknowledging everything that has happened up to this point with the takedown request. According to James, Activision contacted him personally to discuss the matter, and detailed the assets in Orion that were stolen from Call of Duty. David James has since confirmed that the assets were stolen, but claims ignorance in the matter, explaining that a third-party freelancer created – or, apparently stole – the assets for the game.
James explained that since everyone on the team works remotely, it’s impossible to know exactly how each team member is working and creating the material for the game. In addition, he claims that since he’s working on Orion full-time, he doesn’t have time to research other games in order to recognize any potentially-stolen assets. The situation has put him in a tight spot, as he points out that he doesn’t know how to prevent this from happening again. While he’s fired the person responsible for stealing the assets and removed them from the game, any other freelancer could potentially do the same thing.
In the meantime, Activision and David James have come to an agreement that with the removal of the stolen assets, and Orion has since been placed back on sale on Steam. It would seem that Activision isn’t interested in pursuing further legal action, and considering that Orion is selling for merely 50 cents on Steam, it’s a rather rational decision.
While James was initially furious about Steam taking down the game, the gaming platform had the right idea. Although Activision didn’t provide proof to the platform with their takedown request, Valve has previously experienced the trouble that stolen content can cause on the Steam platform. Part of the reason why the Skyrim paid mod workshop was shut down was due to modders uploading mods that contained other creators’ works without proper attribution or compensation.
With a vast array of video games out there to potentially steal material from, it may be nearly impossible for game creators to guarantee that nothing produced for their games was stolen. Activision’s decision to issue a takedown to Steam was probably the best course of action, and hopefully any other developers and publishers that find their assets in a small indie game like Orion will also be willing to work with the developer at fault.