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AK-47 maker denies accusation of stealing gun design from video game

Kalashnikov’s MP-155 Ultima – a real world pistol

Real-world weapons found in video games are nothing new, but IGN has an interesting and very strange report on the process going the other way. This is a shotgun called EPM28 Mastodon in a game called Oceanic, currently in development at independent studio Ward B, and Kalashnikov Concern, a Russian defense company known worldwide as the original creator and manufacturer of the AK47.

According to Ward B CEO Marcellino Sauceda, he was contacted in 2020 by an entrepreneur from Kalashnikov Concern, who wanted to transform the Mastodon, a brutal and futuristic shotgun that was revealed in concept art in February 2020, into a real gun. Naturally, that kind of exposure would be a huge PR gain for the studio and its largely unknown game, and the entrepreneur assured Sauceda that Kalashnikov “will feature your name, [and] you will have a mark on the weapon. “

However, nothing more happened and it seemed like the end, until Kalashnikov unveiled the new MP-155 Ultima. According to The gun blog, it’s based on the popular MP-155 shotgun but features a revised alloy and polymer chassis, and sports an on-board computer with compass, stopwatch, timer, ammo counter, and WiFi and USB connectivity. It wouldn’t look out of place in a Colonial Marine squad, and in fact Kalashnikov said on Facebook that the design is inspired by video games.

Ward B thinks he looks a bit too much like one particular video game gun: the Mastodon. Sauceda said he initially thought he may have missed confirmation that the licensing deal was on-going, but when he checked Kalashnikov’s website there was no mention from the game or Ward B. The studio at first remained silent in the hope that it was all a misunderstanding. , “but I already had an idea in mind that [the contractor] Certainly was not going to come back, “Sauceda said.” They completely stole it. “

Of course, Kalashnikov denied any wrongdoing, and although legal wrangling ensured, in the end he continued with the weapon while Ward B went headlong for about a year, continuing to work on Oceanic but paying much more attention to sharing. “We loved showing off what our talents can accomplish during development, but this approach was necessary to avoid future cases like this,” Sauceda said. The studio has also waived the possibility of legal recourse, as it cannot afford to pursue the case in Russia.

Oceanic’s EPM28 Mastodon – a video game gun

It is very difficult to say whether the Ultima is in fact a direct lift from the Mastodon. The galleries and comparison images on IGN show that the guns are definitely similar in their overall style, but it could emerge from the amalgamation of countless sci-fi and pop culture influences. Some details, like the presence of a particular indentation above the trigger, are suspect, but others, like the quick-release stock, are just a good idea. And as we’ve seen with characters in games like Apex Legends and League of Legends, the occasional crossover and overlap is pretty much inevitable.

Whatever the truth, there was another unpleasantly ironic twist for Ward B: In June, PvP shooter Escape From Tarkov added branded (and presumably licensed) mods for the MP-155 Ultima, the Kalashnikov design, including a rail camera, pistol grip, and polymer clay.