Barking up the wrong tree
Activision Blizzard has quietly pulled a new DLC skin from its billion-dollar shooters Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone following accusations of plagiarism from an online artist.
The “Loyal Samoyed” skin is a bizarre conception that features a realistically depicted head of a Samoyed breed canine plastered on the body of a heavily armed mercenary. The strange look is part of a new range of in-game skins just released for Vanguard and Warzone — a pack that also includes looks stylized after characters from movies The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
However, artist and Call of Duty fan Sail Lin has expressed their disappointment, given that the Loyal Samoyed skin is, almost indisputably, pulled from Lin’s portfolio of animal-based Call of Duty characters. The series, known as “Monster Army,” features a Samoyed-based medic, who is depicted wearing almost the exact same gear as the new Call of Duty DLC skin — close enough to almost be 1:1.
“Even though I am also a COD player, I am very disappointed to see my work being plagiarized by a big company like Activision in this way,” said a dismayed Lin on their ArtStation. “As an individual artist, I can only do so much, and I have to speak out about this to stop things like this [from happening] again in the future.”
Activision Blizzard removed the Loyal Samoyed skin from its storefront yesterday, complete with a clunky apology that neither confirms nor denies that it openly copied the artist’s original design.
“We have the utmost respect for creativity and content creation,” wrote the publisher in a brief statement to Polygon. “We love the Loyal Samoyed, but regrettably we erred in our process and have removed this imagery from the game. We apologize for the misstep.”
The Call of Duty franchise has been embroiled in plagiarism controversies — some justified, others perhaps not so much. Regardless, Activision Blizzard is not the only publisher to openly copy the work of fans for profit without any credit or reimbursement — a reflection of the bizarre sense of entitlement that companies often believe they have to any and all works that are readily available in any capacity.