Metroid Dread caught plagiarizing

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Dragonmoony

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#1  Edited By Dragonmoony

Saw this video just now

At first I thought there was going to be a vague connection between the two, but when you look at everything put together, it's undeniable.

However, I don't think the design is identical enough to get sued over.

Would love to hear the GB staff discuss this somewhere (maybe during Bombcast?)

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paulwgraham

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#2  Edited By paulwgraham

Ethics and legality aside I feel like this stuff happens all the time. Heck some of the bosses for Contra III: The Alien Wars look like they were taken straight from Terminator and Aliens.

The one that I noticed that no one else really seems to talk about is how much the Titanfall/Apex universe seems to lift from the movie Elysium. There are all kinds of settings, set pieces, characters and weapons that you can spot if you look for them. For example:

Arc Star anyone?

Devotion? No it's a CHEMrail

Well, if you have to crash your dropship you may as well crash on Olympus...I mean Elysium.

I didn't know Spitfires could shoot around corners. I hope pathfinder is alright.

I remember Gibraltar's shield being bigger.

Duel-wielding RE-45s. Bold move.

Edit: GBs video player doesn't like YouTube's time param

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darkholmme

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#3 darkholmme  Online

I’m not convinced. I can understand why someone would read the torso movement as plagiarism based on the video, but the youtuber demonstrates only a surface level understanding of plagiarism and ends up weakening his own argument in spots, especially towards the end. For example, equating “Amee” and “Emmi” privileges a mere phonetic echo when acronyms are often chosen because they resemble words: in this case, perhaps the Japanese “emi,” which is connotatively different from what’s likely a reference to the French word “amie.”

The video is also actually a little deceptive with its key point: while the Emmi torso undergoes a full shift from an upright position between the legs and through them in Metroid Dread, the Amee starts in a boxed up state, and unfolds forward: a very dissimilar motion when taken as a whole. The youtuber just chose to start the animation at the moment from Red Planet that would most support his argument.

Is it possible that the game’s designers were influenced by a movie that failed to make back its budget, or have much of an international audience? Sure. But it’s way more likely that the film and this game are just drawing from similar archetypes and cultural influences; we only have so many ways of signifying terrifying alienness. The Illusionist and The Prestige moments happen more often than you think without actual plagiarism happening.

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Camosid

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Fuck that Red Planet movie was so bad. I remember watching it as a Friday Rental Night movie.

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Daveydave

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The video itself is awful. Really don't see much of an issue here.

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development

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@daveydave: yeah it’s bad. I like the part where he explains acronyms.

I wouldn’t say it’s plagiarism as much as it’s just creatively bankrupt and boring. Clearly it is indeed a ripoff of the design of that robot, but they changed it enough that it’s probably legally clear. Pretty much all non-gameplay elements of Metroid games have been bad or forgettable so I’m not really surprised or bothered. As long as it’s not as boring to deal with as it looks I’ll be happy.

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Dragonmoony

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I’m not convinced

I don't think there's any room for plausible deniability here, as everything including its name is a direct reference or rip-off however you look at it.

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darkholmme

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#8 darkholmme  Online

@dragonmoony: as I mentioned, that’s actually an argument against it, in part because it ignores possible differences between the movie and the game’s cultural backgrounds. More importantly, if you were going to rip off this movie, wouldn’t you at least change the name?

Plagiarism is hard to prove for a reason; similarities don’t necessarily imply theft. The video presumes what it seeks to prove, and tilts the evidence in that direction while ignoring pretty strong counterclaims, such as whether or not this movie would have ever reached a level of prominence to be considered worth copying, or heck, if it was even likely to be seen by the developers.

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Dragonmoony

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#9  Edited By Dragonmoony
@paulwgraham said:

The one that I noticed that no one else really seems to talk about is how much the Titanfall/Apex universe seems to lift from the movie Elysium.

I don't think that checks out, games take many years to make, and concept art is one of the first stages. Titanfall was released in March 2014, meaning they probably started around 2010, yet Elysium was released in August 2013. No game can or will re-do its entire art direction and design 1 year before release.

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Dragonmoony

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#10  Edited By Dragonmoony
@darkholmme said:

@dragonmoony: More importantly, if you were going to rip off this movie, wouldn’t you at least change the name?

Yes, they "changed" the name from Amee to Emmi.

It's arguable if it's plagiarized so much that they can be sued, but the fact that they did plagiarize (from visual design of the character to the way it moves and attacks) is undeniable. They didn't try to actually hide that fact (probably because it's not a popular and beloved movie and it came out 21 years ago).

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UnrealDP

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From what I gathered, really doesn't seem like plagiarism as much as it's just uninspired and generic? I feel like I should just nod and move on though. This video is so poorly made that I'd rather ignore this as a controversy until someone makes a concise argument that isn't 25 minutes of meandering.

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Dragonmoony

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@unrealdp said:

This video is so poorly made that I'd rather ignore this as a controversy until someone makes a concise argument that isn't 25 minutes of meandering.

Does that mean you didn't even hear the entire argument (and examples)?

Also, how exactly is it generic? It's very specific, and specifically based on Amee.

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Justin258

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OP is picking and choosing points to respond to and wholly ignoring what he has no response to.

Anyway, pretty much any successful thing is directly lifting at least a few of its elements from something else so... whatever. The term "plagiarism" is usually more concerned with academia and journalism. A few years ago, the IGN review of Dead Cells used similar verbiage and talking points from a small-time Youtube reviewer and they got called out on it - that's plagiarism. Meanwhile, the Pelican spaceship from the Halo games was lifted almost directly from Aliens and nobody batted an eye. This isn't any different.

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cornfed40

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I didnt know the My Pillow guy had moved from politics to video games

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FinalDasa

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#15 FinalDasa  Moderator

This is grasping at straws at best. The way the robot moves reminds me of General Grievous as he ran away from Kenobi. So clearly since they move the same and have similar hands, it must be stolen.

Lack of originality doesn't immediately mean plagiarism.

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monkeyking1969

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To use the word plagiarized, or other legal terms, when we are not lawyers is tricky. I've watched enough of Lawful Masses with Leonard French or LegalEagle to know that with issues of Trademark, Copyright, and what is protectable Art it is often more complex and subtle than, "This looks somewhat like this."

To be honest, I looked at teh video with the sound off and at then end said to myself, "Uh, I don't see it."

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tartyron

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#17  Edited By tartyron

It's similar for sure, but plagiarism is a specific thing, where you actually use the work itself and claim it's your own, copying or aping a design isn't plagiarism, at least not in a court of law sort of way. If Nintendo actually took the original cgi assets created for the movie itself and used that code or visual assets or whatever that would be and stuck it into they game, something I don't think would really do doable, then that would be plagiarism. As it stands, it's like saying The Vast of Night plagiarized Independence Day because of flying saucer UFO design.

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GTxForza

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#18  Edited By GTxForza
@finaldasa said:

This is grasping at straws at best. The way the robot moves reminds me of General Grievous as he ran away from Kenobi. So clearly since they move the same and have similar hands, it must be stolen.

Lack of originality doesn't immediately mean plagiarism.

Not to mention that Edelgard from Fire Emblem Three Houses also didn't copy everything from Daenerys Targaryen.

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cikame

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The video's a bit meh, i wouldn't say any part of it is straight ripping off anything it's just similarities, what i will say is that the game's design is guilty of just being a bit uninspired.
You're being chased by a dorky looking shiny future robot, which they already did in Fusion except you were being hunted by a parasite replicated version of Samus with scary eye balls and even scarier footsteps, WAY better, and they didn't have much else to show in the trailer besides your standard Metroid gameplay and some Wii era graphics, apparently the game began development on the 3DS so that maybe explains a bit, but calling it "Metroid 5" in the trailer is a bit much, it looks like a remaster of something that came out over a decade ago.

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TheRealTurk

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@monkeyking1969 said:

To use the word plagiarized, or other legal terms, when we are not lawyers is tricky. I've watched enough of Lawful Masses with Leonard French or LegalEagle to know that with issues of Trademark, Copyright, and what is protectable Art it is often more complex and subtle than, "This looks somewhat like this."

To be honest, I looked at teh video with the sound off and at then end said to myself, "Uh, I don't see it."

Keep in mind this is super-high 10 mile view of the issue, but as far as copyright law is concerned, the words "original" and "novel" are not synonymous. Again, glossing over a lot of the detail, you can think of asking "is this original?" as asking "was this made with independent effort?" whereas you can think of asking "is this novel?" as asking "how different is this thing from something else?"

As an example, assume that two people are at a national park and decide to write a poem about a mountain they see. They could theoretically compose the exact same poem word for word, and, as long as they did so independently of one another, both of their works are copyrightable. That's because while they are not novel (because they are exactly alike), the poems are original (each person wrote their poem independent of the other).

So really, what the OP is complaining that the Metroid robot isn't novel, which, to be fair, isn't a crazy position to take. The design isn't super-inspired and it has a lot of superficial similarities to the movie-bot. But a lack of novelty is irrelevant to deciding whether there's some sort of copyright violation going on here. It's far more likely that the Metroid designers wanted a slightly-creepy but still humanoid looking robot and came up with a design that happens to look vaguely like something in a 20+ year old movie.

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apewins

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#21  Edited By apewins

Picking up small elements here and there is not plagiarism, it is what pretty much every artist in every field does. Video games especially are full of stuff that is clearly copied from movies that they emulate, for example I recently played the original Halo and was shocked at how much it directly lifts from Aliens. It would be sad if we couldn't have a certain type of robotic enemy in any product because a movie that nobody saw already did it.

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#22  Edited By brian_  Online

As someone who has no interest in playing Metroid Dread, the Metroid series, or any of Mercury Steam, or Nintendo's games not named Kirby, I don't see anything here that I would qualify as plagiarism. Honestly, I don't even think the robots look that similar.

I mean, I assume this game isn't being made by just one person. It's probably made by a bunch of people all bringing different ideas to it. I assume the project lead didn't just sit the entire team down, make everyone watch this movie, and tell every department, "I want a one to one, complete copy of this movie. Design team. Writers. Advertisement. Everyone."

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paulwgraham

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@dragonmoony: Good point. It does seem to me like the influence becomes more apparent in TF2 and Apex.

As for TF1 a year certainly isn't enough time to add/remove any large systems like wall running or to completely rework the games aesthetic. But given that Titanfall was already a future based sci-fi game a year would have definitely been enough time to add a bunch of things like throwing star grenades and energy SMGs if they seemed cool enough.

And then there is stuff like this:

No Caption Provided

https://twitter.com/RaymeCVinson/status/768990584375615488?s=20

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omatictoast

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I felt like I was watching a Neal Breen movie...

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RobertForster

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Was Red Planet the one with Val Kilmer or was that Mission to Mars. I always get the two mixed up. Which one had the Mars Tornado?

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Came to this thread expecting a total waste of time, was not disappointed.

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FinalDasa

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#27 FinalDasa  Moderator

@robertforster: Red Planet had Kilmer, but Mission to Mars had the tornado scene.

Honestly, I don't remember anything from Red Planet other than it exists.

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I liked when the author of the video pointed out an emblem on the chest as a sign of plagiarism, instead of thinking that that's just where emblems go when you're making a humanoid design.

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#29  Edited By Giant_Gamer

I don't know how you guys watched the whole thing as I couldn't see myself doing that.

He could have said the design is inspired by the movie but a rip off? seriously? If he had suspensions he should have at least waited until next month to see how they pan out!

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BrittonPeele

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I know it's only the first of multiple pieces of "evidence" this guy presents, but kicking his argument off by saying both robots are "owned and used by government for research" as the first bullet point for plagiarism is pretty eyeroll inducing. Hello, welcome to the world of evil sci-fi robots, where the vast majority of them are research projects gone wrong.

Even when he gets to the animation comparisons (which are much more interesting and maybe what he should have started with), it feels more like, if anything, the two robots have a "common ancestor" in the sense that this is just a direction that robotics could be headed.

Then he goes off on a tangent about how he just doesn't think the EMMI design is scary or dread-inducing, which... fine. It's OK to disappointed in something like that, but that's just subjective.

The video's argument just isn't strong at all, IMHO. Echoing what others have said, if anything this is all evidence that parts of the Metroid Dread design are relatively uninspired. There's nothing new under the sun, everything is a remix, etc. etc.

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I skipped around the video and checked out when the dude decided he didn't know what the words "extraplanetary," and "multiform," mean so they must've deliberately plagiarized the name.

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I liked when the author of the video pointed out an emblem on the chest as a sign of plagiarism, instead of thinking that that's just where emblems go when you're making a humanoid design.

Yeah, the whole thing comes off like someone pointing out how similar Warhammer 40K is to Starcraft and claiming ripoff.

They're MAYBE onto something in terms of homage VS inspiration VS theft MAYBE, but their foundational arguments are completely incorrect and inaccurate.

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nawl

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@el_blarfo: This is a ripoff of what I was thinking. You will be hearing from my lawyer.

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El_Blarfo

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@nawl said:

@el_blarfo: This is a ripoff of what I was thinking. You will be hearing from my lawyer.

I'm countersuing. You used the letter "E" in your post. That's my thing.