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Riot sues mobile game studio for alleged Teamfight Tactics clone

Imba Network is accused of blatantly copying Teamfight Tactics character and art for its game I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

January 21, 2022

1 Min Read
Key art of Teemo, a League of Legends character

Riot Games is suing Vietnamese game developer Imba Network for allegedly copying characters, art, and more from its idle arena battler Teamfight Tactics.

Imba Network is the developer and publisher of the free-to-play mobile game I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight. Imba's game is billed as an "idle RPG," but in Riot Games' lawsuit, it calls out several instances of character design and backstory that seem a bit too-inspired by its League of Legends spinoff.

As spotted by Polygon, Riot has filed its lawsuit in California and is seeking $150,000 for each instance of copyright violation.

Riot's lawsuit contains side-by-side images showing Teamfight Tactics characters and I Am Hero characters and the results are (almost hilariously) convincing. League of Legends heroes Heimerdinger, Vi, and Teemo are all paired up with characters named Dinger, Vy, and Tomee.

Tomee's backstory and subhead are egregiously similar to Teemo's. Teemo is "The Swift Scout," while Tomee is "The Hasty Scout." The rest of Tomee's backstory is literally word-for-word what Riot Games wrote for Teemo, with various proper nouns like "Yordle" swapped for equivalents like "goblin." 

A comparison of Teemo and Tomee showing the copied text.

Some character abilities and icons have also allegedly been copied.

Riot's been in the courtroom before in its quest to defend against foreign-made clones of its games. In 2017, it sued Shanghai Moonton Technology over its game Mobile Legends: 5v5 Moba.

And of course we should note that Riot's most recent legal troubles over alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the company led it to recently settle for $100 million with staff, contractors, and former employees. 

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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