Apr 20, 2012

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Assassin’s Creed Accused of Being Derivative Work

Assassin’s Creed Accused of Being Derivative Work

Controversy exploded among gamers after author John Beiswenger alleged copyright infringement against Ubisoft and Gametrailers for similarities between his novel Link and the Assassin’s Creed video game series. Both works of fiction employ themes of ancestral memories, assassins, and Christian mythology, but Beiswenger’s Link was published in 2003, four years before the release of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series.

Link’s Amazon listing continues to be bombarded with one-star reviews from angry fans. Reviewers argue since fictional works such as Alan Hathaway’s “They Died Twice” and Frank Herbert’s Dune also use the concept of ancestral memories, the themes that Beiswenger intends to claim damages over are not all that original after all. Still, Link and the Assassin’s Creed series do seem to share a number of a similar plot points beyond just the ancestral memory technology, including secret organizations, “subjects,” and unraveling mysteries behind creation.

Enough similarities between Link and Assassin’s Creed could spell trouble for Ubisoft. A successful lawsuit could mean major delays for Ubisoft’s recently announced Assassin’s Creed III, as Beiswenger intends to prevent future copyright infringement. Most skepticism surrounding the claims thus far is based in speculation. This is because Beiswenger’s book is not well read. In fact, prior to April’s news, the book had accrued only one Amazon review since its time of publication. How likely it is that Assassin’s Creed is a derivative work from a previously unheard of work of fiction is still up for debate.

The complaint document in question has several excerpts from the book, comparing them to events in the Assassin’s Creed series; however, the list of similarities seem to be grasping at straws in some areas, including plot points such as “good vs. evil theme” and “historically accurate persons, events, and times.”

[Source: Gamasutra]