The author of a science-fiction novel has sued Ubisoft over the alleged plagiarism of his ideas for the popular Assassin's Creed game series and is looking for the release of the third installment of the franchise to be blocked.
The author of a science-fiction novel has sued Ubisoft over the alleged plagiarism of his ideas for the popular Assassin's Creed game series.
John L. Beiswenger wrote the novel Link and self-published it through Infinity Publishing in 2003, years before the first Assassin's Creed game was launched. Beiswenger claims that much of the game's ideas and setting is stolen from his book.
The story involves a Bio-synchronizer, which can allow people to explore their ancestors' memories in a similar fashion to that employed in Assassin's Creed. His book also involves assassins, though these do not appear to play as big a role as in the game.
Beiswenger even goes so far as to accuse Ubisoft of copying thematic elements such as biblical references, but this might be stretching his case a little far, as biblical allusions are made in a wide variety of books, games and movies, and no on can claim copyright over them.
However, the machine that allows people to experience the life of their ancestors could be a deciding factor in whether Ubisoft is found innocent or guilty of plagiarism, as this is a pivotal element of the game and appears to be equally important in Beiswenger's novel.
If Beiswenger believes he has such a good case it's not clear why he waited so long to launch his lawsuit, considering the first game was released in 2007. It may be that he was not aware of the story elements of Assassin's Creed, was researching how strong his case might be, or was simply waiting for the most opportunistic time to bring Ubisoft to court.
The author wants damages of no less than $1.05 million, but the figure could rise to as much as $5.25 million. He also wants the third installment of the game, due out on 30 October, to be blocked, which could cause a nightmare situation for Ubisoft and might result in negotiating some kind of licensing deal if the judge finds the game studio guilty of copyright infringement.