God of War ‘stolen’ from movie pitch, claims lawsuit

SCEA and God of War designer David Jaffe are reportedly being sued over claims that the PlayStation franchise stole its plot and themes from work that was sent to Sony Pictures.

Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Jennifer Barrette-Herzog filed the suit in February, claiming that Sony thieved elements of “plot, character relationships, themes, settings, mood, pace and dialog,” from works they had previously sent to the company’s movie division. 

The work includes the screenplay Olympiad and a map called Island at the Edge of the Living World. They were created for Bissoon-Dath’s The Adventures of Owen: Owen’s Olympic Adventure. The material was sent to Sony in 2002, while God of War came out in 2005 and took three years to make — INTRIGUE!

Naturally, Sony and Jaffe have denied the allegations, noting that much of the disputed work lies in the public domain. Both the game and Bissoon-Dath’s work are based on Greek Mythology, so there is bound to be similar themes regardless of whether or not Sony committed any shenanigans. If you look at the plaintiff’s claims, some of the “links” between God of War and the “original” work are pretty weak at best. It’s probable that this one can be chalked up to money-grubbing on the part of a desperate writer.

A list of some of the “similarities” between God of War and Owen’s Olympic Adventure:

  • Plaintiff’s works tell the original story of how a champion saves Athens from destruction by the invading Spartan army that has been sent by Ares… [GoW]… is the story of how a champion chosen by Zeus and Athens saves Athen from destruction by an invading army sent by Ares…
  • In plaintiff’s original work and God of War, the Champion’s family is hacked to death in a one-room building in a small peaceful village. In both stories the Champion feels partially responsible even though he is not really to blame…
  • In exchange for Kratos’ pledge, Ares gives him… the Blades of Chaos… two massive, glowing, sword-like blades fastened to chains fused to Kratos’s wrists… These Blade of Chaos are taken directly from a scene in Bissoon-Dath’s work… “As Zeus strides forward… his hands MORPH into two massive swords that glow like light sabers…”
  • …Owen must cross the Bottomless Valley over a long, sagging suspension bridge, shown on Barrette-Herzog’s map… in God of War Kratos must cross the Bottomless Chasm on a long, sagging suspension bridge…

Jim Sterling