In a nutshell: The video game studio claims that the weapon maker Kalashnikov, the AK-47, stole the design of a weapon featured in one of its games. But the Russian company denies any wrongdoing.
Speaking in an interview with IGNWard B CEO Marcellino Sauceda says he was contacted by Kalashnikov’s contractor Maxim Kuzin in early 2020 asking for permission to turn the fictional shotgun – the Mastodon – that will appear in his upcoming FPS Oceanic, into a real weapon.
In return, the Ward B was promised full credit for the design, the logo on the shotgun, and three finished weapons, giving Oceanic a lot of publicity. Unfortunately, the contracts for the deal were never received, and Kalashnikov never got in touch. Ward B simply assumed that Kalashnikov disagreed with the contractor’s claim that the Mastodon would function like a real gun.
This was expected to be the end of the story, until August 21, 2020 Kalashnikov announced the MP-155 Ultima model. It is based on the MP-155 hunting rifle, but has a redesigned aluminum-polymer chassis and an on-board computer that displays ammo, compass, stopwatch and timer. It also has Wi-Fi and a rail camera, making it look very much like a video game. In fact, he is very similar to Mastodon. Kalashnikov even said that the MP-155 Ultima was “inspired by video games” in the marketing of the shotgun.
Souseda says that certain aspects of the MP-155 Ultima make it a clear copy of the Mastodon. The forend, receiver and other elements have the same functions, some of which were added to the game version only for aesthetic reasons and have no practical use. But the most striking feature is the L-shaped notch above the trigger, which Ward B uses as a motif on many of its slot machines.
“The fact that they included this indentation is kind of … it’s sketchy because I kind of feel like they have [Mastodon’s 3D model] and they forgot to exclude that part – because they removed it from the other side with a bolt, ”Sauceda said.
Kuzin claims the deal fell through because Ward B lacked the funding and investment to complete the game and the release date was unknown, which meant it was too risky to work with the company. He also argued that Ward B never paid the conceptual artist to create the weapon, so there were no clear licenses or ownership rights. The studio reports that the artist was on deferred payment terms from the very beginning, and now he was paid.
Kuzin added that he consulted with “another designer from Russia” to create the Ultima design from scratch. But what really influenced Ward B’s wound was that Kalashnikov licensed the Ultima design for another video game, Escape From Tarkov, ostensibly completing his journey from game to real weapon to game.