AK-47 maker denies accusation of stealing gun design from video game

Kalashnikov’s MP-155 Ultima – a real-world gun

Real-world weapons making their way into video games is nothing new, but IGN has an interesting and very strange report on the process going the other way. This is a shotgun called EPM28 Mastodon in a game called Oceanic, currently in development at indie studio Ward B, and Kalashnikov Concern, a Russian defense company known worldwide as the original creator and manufacturer of the AK47.

According to Ward B CEO Marcellino Sauceda, he was contacted in 2020 by a Kalashnikov Concern contractor, who wanted to turn the Mastodon, a brutal and futuristic shotgun revealed in concept art in February 2020, into a real weapon. fire. Naturally, this kind of exposure would be a huge PR gain for the studio and its largely unknown game, and the entrepreneur assured Sauceda that Kalashnikov will “present your name, [and] you will have a mark on the gun.”

Nothing else happened, however, and that seemed to be the end, until Kalashnikov unveiled the new MP-155 Ultima. According to The Firearm Blog, it’s based on the popular MP-155 shotgun, but features a revised alloy and polymer chassis, and sports an on-board computer with compass, stopwatch, timer, ammo counter, and WiFi connectivity and USB. It wouldn’t look out of place in a colonial marine squad, and in fact, Kalashnikov said on Facebook that the design was inspired by video games.

Ward B thinks it looks a little too much like one video game gun in particular: the Mastodon. Sauceda said he initially thought he might have missed confirmation that the licensing deal was in the works, but when he checked Kalashnikov’s website there was no mention. of the game or Ward B. The studio initially remained silent in the hope that it was just a misunderstanding. , “but I already had an idea in mind that [the contractor] definitely wasn’t going to come back,” Sauceda said. “They completely stole it.”

Of course, Kalashnikov denied any wrongdoing, and although legal wrangling ensured, in the end he continued with the weapon while Ward B remained headlong for about a year, continuing to work on Oceanic but in paying much more attention to sharing. “We loved showing what our talents can accomplish during development, but this approach was necessary to avoid future cases like this,” Sauceda said. The studio has also waived the possibility of a legal remedy, as it does not have the means to pursue the case in Russia.

Oceanic’s EPM28 Mastodon – a video game pistol

It’s very hard to tell if the Ultima is actually a direct lift from the Mastodon. Galleries and comparison images on IGN show that the guns are definitely similar in overall style, but that could emerge from the merging of countless sci-fi and pop culture influences. Some details, like the presence of a peculiar indentation above the trigger, are suspect, but others, like the quick-release stock, are just a good idea. And as we’ve seen with characters in games like Apex Legends and League of Legends, the occasional crossover and overlap is almost inevitable.

Whatever the truth, there was another unpleasantly ironic twist for Ward B: In June, PvP shooter Escape From Tarkov added branded (and presumably licensed) mods for the MP-155 Ultima, the Kalashnikov design, including a rail camera, pistol grip and polymer stock.

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