Game developers this afternoon found themselves engulfed in justified anger when an e-mail advertisement from a Massachusetts Ford dealership was found to be using key art from the indie game Firewatch
The software development company Panic, which helped produce Firewatch, posted a copy of the ad on Twitter this afternoon, which identified the responsible dealer as Quirk Ford of Quincy Massachusetts.
Developers from Campo Santo, who have repeatedly seen Firewatch's art show up over and over again on other company's websites, were not pleased.
Firewatch's art, chiefly illustrated by Olly Moss and translated into 3D by Jane Ng, has previously showed up on Destiny's Twitter page, and Redditors spotted some of its current website art used on Renderforest's pricing site.
Speaking to a marketing representative from Quirk Ford, we learned that the promotion was sourced with art discovered on widewallpaper.info, which the representative said was "usually pretty good about about making sure [images] don't violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
He also said he had never heard of Firewatch before this was produced.
When pressed on if Quirk Ford would be editing the image, the representative was non-committal, but said they would not have used the image in the first place had they known it was copyrighted.
However, Campo Santo's Sean Vanaman tells Game Informer that the image contains elements from the company's website, that could not have been made available on a wallpaper site.
@Futterish that "Update" is bs as their mailer actually includes elements from our old website that aren't available on any wallpaper site.— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) June 27, 2016
Though the ad was produced by the local Ford dealership, Ford the car-making corporation may still have egg on its face, as Polygon's Nick Robinson quickly discovered that a video from the official Ford YouTube channel
also appears to make use of Firewatch artwork. (See update below)
Update #1: Chris Cannavo, manager at the local Ford dealership, called us back regarding the promotion, and initially stated that their promo art for these sales comes from Ford HQ.
When asked about the marketing representative's comments, he requested a link to the image so he could verify if it was his marketing department or Ford's who generated the image.
Update #2: Sara Tatchio, a representative from Ford's communication group, reached out to Gamasutra to provide a statement on the advertisement. Tatchio states "Ford was not involved in creating the Quirk dealership advertising, our dealers are independent businesses."
Furthermore, Tatchio clarified that the YouTube video discovered by Nick Robinson contains original artwork comissioned for their ad campaign, and is not sourced from Firewatch.
Update #3: Quirk Auto Dealership has apologized.
We will update this story if more information is provided.