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They also accused the gun manufacturer of unfairly licensing said gun design to popular online shooter Escape from Tarkov.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

December 7, 2021

2 Min Read
Two versions of the Mastodon, as developed by Ward B
Image by Ward B

IGN has done some digging into a strange set of claims made by independent game developer Ward B. The team at Ward B, which includes a mix of amateur developers and triple-A veterans, has been working on a science fiction shooter called Oceanic, and had spent its early developing building interest in the game by showing off its intricately designed gun models. 

Though the game hasn't released yet, its makers were apparently approached by a Russian design producer interested in licensing their designs --a shotgun called the "EPM28 Mastodon"-- for a collaboration with gun manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern, (the inheritors of the business that once produced the AK-47). 

But after sudden silence from said producer, and the reveal of Kalshnikov's new gun titled the "MP-155 Ultima," Ward B began to worry that it had been ripped off. That worry was only compounded when Kalashnikov licensed the image of the MP-155 Ultima to another video game maker--Battlestate Games, the makers of Escape from Tarkov.

The makers of Oceanic apparently have more than superficial similarities to back up their claim (though they're pretty strong similarities). They and IGN were able to get their hands on a number of documents and messages indicating that the design producer who originally pitched them had been soliciting work from other concept artists to recreate the Mastodon's look, and had apparently prepared a pitch deck using renders of the Mastodon with Kalashnikov branding on it.

Kalashnikov Concern has denied all claims of copyright violation to IGN, and said the MP-155 Ultima is an original design. They however did not respond to IGN's queries about messages and documents that seem to back up Ward B's claim.

However this claim is resolved, Ward B has apparently decided that because they are not physically located in Russia, it isn't financially possible to file a legal claim against Kalashnikov Concern. It remains to be seen if Battlestate Games will take any cation to remove a weapon that may have been inspired by another shooter in development.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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