Author sues Ubisoft over Assassin’s Creed's Story

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by Wizerzak, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Wizerzak

    Wizerzak Because I'm a potato!

    May 30, 2010
    United Kingdom

    Science fiction author and product research engineer John Beiswenger has filed a lawsuit against video game publisher Ubisoft and website over alleged copyright infringement in the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise.

    Beiswenger believes there are similarities between the Assassin’s Creed storyline and his 2002 novel Link, according to the complaint filed in a Pennsylvania district court. The novel’s plot includes the creation of a device that allows people to access and relive ancestral memories. The video game series, first launched in 2007, features a similar device called the Animus that allows the protagonist, Desmond Miles, to relive the memories of his killer ancestors.

    The complaint states that characters in Link experience “notable and historical moments” through their ancestors’ memories, and the novel makes numerous references to assassins and assassinations.

    In Link, Beiswenger writes:

    "If John Wilkes Booth fathered a child after he assassinated Lincoln, and we found a descendant alive today, we could place Booth at the scene and perhaps smell the gunpowder. Ancestral memories? As far back as you want."

    The novel contains biblical and spiritual tones, referencing God, Jesus, the Garden of Eden, and forbidden fruit. Assassin’s Creed also makes use of religious themes. Players are often tasked with recovering mind-controlling artifacts called Pieces of Eden, and Adam and Eve are mentioned in the storyline as well.

    Beiswenger is seeking a minimum of $1.05 million in damages for 11 counts of copyright infringement. This includes every game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, as well as the official guide, the Assassin’s Creed Encyclopedia, the DC Comics series Assassin’s Creed: The Fall, and video trailers that appeared on On top of that, he wants to stop the release of Assassin's Creed 3.

    GamesBeat contacted Ubisoft for this story, but the company says it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

    Somehow I very much doubt the whole game will be halted, but I'm very intrigued as to how this will turn out - especially if this writer has a strong case.
  2. Thesolcity

    Thesolcity Wherever the light shines, it casts a shadow.

    Oct 2, 2010
    United States
    San Miguel
    Out of court settlement, I'm calling it.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Schlupi

    Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

    Aug 31, 2007
    United States
    Rozen Queen Co, Chicago Branch
    What a dick. It's not like he's the only one to ever make a "go back in time and see past events" story. This isn't going to get far.
  4. impizkit

    impizkit Lazy Lurker

    Apr 6, 2010
    I will tell you how it will play out. Ubisoft will pay big bucks to the Author and the game will still be made. Why did it take this joker 5+ years to file a complaint?
    2 people like this.
  5. Narayan

    Narayan desu~

    Sep 29, 2010
    he doesn't play assassin's creed?
    4 people like this.
  6. Qtis

    Qtis Grey Knight Inquisitor

    Feb 28, 2010
    The Forge
    Most likely this is another case of the typical "wait till it's really profitable!" It's not unheard of, but quite clearly stupid. I doubt this can be made into a solid case since it's a story. Kinda like the Da Vinci Code again. Won't happen..
  7. shakirmoledina

    shakirmoledina Legend

    Oct 23, 2004
    Dar es Salaam
    nah its not going anywhere. similarity does not mean same because then matrix and inception all have some ideas that are similar although this story is the closest. but then again reference to biblical things does not mean copying. having assassins even doesnt matter much but the specifics about assasins mentioned in the book has to be checked.

    if they say there was an assassin fighitng against templars and he required a device such as an apple that is that owned by adam then we can say real copying. this current info is quite hazy to be said to be copied.

    BUT ubi will have to work for it.
  8. Tsuteto

    Tsuteto GBAtemp Regular

    Apr 9, 2012
    United States
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Clearly someone from this community just needs to go and read the book and see if there is any direct similarities.

    But, yeah, I highly doubt the next game will be stopped. Furthermore, music somewhere and some point has copied another song in one fashion or another. Same thing with stories.
  9. TehSkull

    TehSkull Living the life

    Nov 29, 2009
    United States
    3 things.

    1. I'm sure he'll get damages, not quite 1.05mil, but a fair amount.
    2. The game won't be halted.
    3. The US government must be insane if they think its possible for any entity to be able to know with 100% certainty that an idea hasn't already been had by someone else. The law should be changed to reflect only deliberate plagiarism requiring damages, and accidental plagiarism being handled differently in some manner.
  10. Another World

    Another World Emulate the Planet!

    Former Staff
    Jan 3, 2008
    From Where???
    he will never be able to prove they intended to rip him off, even if they do have a copy of his novel on every dev's desk. the idea of tracing back events through memories is an old sci-fi trick. i can think of a few books that offered up a solution to time travel through these methods.

    good luck to this guy.

    -another world
    1 person likes this.
  11. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    This is a case he'd have no real chance of winning; the guy's probably pulling this stunt in the hopes of getting some free publicity and (if he's lucky) a lucrative settlement.
    1 person likes this.
  12. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

    May 6, 2009
    United States
    The Danger Zone
    So he waits until Assassin's Creed 3 to bring this up?

    Because there haven't been 4 other Assassin's Creed games featuring the same exact concept?

    Also, people rip themes and stuff from sci-fi all the time. God knows how many films and other sci-fi works there are that blatantly plagiarize ideas from Star Wars or Star Trek.

    Odds are Ubisoft will win with better lawyers and, even if they have to pay millions, they're gonna be making shitloads on AC3 anyway.
  13. nando

    nando GBAtemp Addict

    Jan 1, 2008
    United States
    so now no one can use biblical or spirtual tones or reference the bible because this guys will sue?
  14. gokujr1000

    gokujr1000 GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Oct 10, 2008
    Ehh his Novel and Assasins Creed aren't the only forms of Media who have used this idea. He's just seen how profitable the series has become and decided to give suing them a shot.
  15. Zetta_x

    Zetta_x The Insane Statistician

    Mar 4, 2010
    United States
    "I wrote it down...The idea should be entitled to me even if other people had thought about it... I wrote the motha down in a book" is what he shoulda said
  16. lokomelo

    lokomelo Edson Arantes do Nascimento

    Aug 19, 2009
    São Paulo
    this is ridiculous, I can made a hole game based on a music, book, movie, etc, since I dont copy the names and change the history a little. I've saw many games based on Lord of Rings for example.
  17. Actinopterygian Melospiza

    Actinopterygian Melospiza Advanced Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    United States
    Don't get me wrong, I think the lawsuit is stupid, but why do people keep saying things like this? Why do people assume everyone has heard of a game, much less knows what it's about? Go out in public and ask every adult what the game Assassin's Creed is about. The majority will probably be, "what's that?" or "I've heard about it but have no idea what it's about."
    2 people like this.
  18. The Milkman

    The Milkman GBATemp's Official Asshat Milkman

    Jan 12, 2011
    United States
    Throwing milk at the bitches!
    Wow. That's a real dick move. I would understand if he wasn't pretty much trying to sue because someone used the same Cliché as him. If it was about people reliving the memories of primaraly ASSASINS. Then it would have been more justifiable.
  19. GreatZimkogway

    GreatZimkogway Still a Touhou Fanatic

    Jul 21, 2009
    United States
    I'm kinda surprised people are saying that it's no case because it's been used before, and then mention time travel. Last I checked, there's no actual time travel involved. They're viewing events directly from their DNA. Using a specific machine, to view their ancestors memories. I can't say I've seen another thing with that exact plotpoint in anything else but AC3.
  20. MegaAce™

    MegaAce™ Steal back your future.

    Nov 28, 2008
    Gambia, The
    Well, every other AC game uses that exact plotpoint too, so he could have stopped the franchise after the first game, but he hasn't.