Assassin’s Creed 3: Author Claims Animus Concept Stolen
The author of the 2003 science-fiction book, Link, alleges that game publisher and developer Ubisoft ripped off the concept of the Animus from his book. In a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Ubisoft, John Beiswinger claims that the concept of using a device to access ancestral or DNA memories came from his book.
In the Assassin’s Creed series, the series’ protagonist Desmond Myles uses the Animus to access memories of his distant ancestors locked up in his DNA. The latest installment of the series, Assassin’s Creed 3, focuses on Connor, Desmond’s Native American ancestor at the time of the American Revolution. Beiswinger’s lawsuit was filed on April 17. Is this a case of coincidence or intentional infringement? We ask because most art is inspired by other art. This is usually the case. Completely original ideas do happen but oftentimes ideas are often iterations and re-adaptations of ideas that came previously. For example, did you know that the zipper was originally designed not for clothing but for opening and closing shoes? Also, almost all video game concepts are adaptations, improvements, and reiterations of previous concepts. What would the industry look like if someone won a copyright infringement claim for scrolling platforms? What about first person shooters? See where we’re going with this? While we don’t condone outright stealing of ideas and content, the realities of the creative process must be addressed and acknowledged.
Perhaps, the main focus here is one of intent and ability to know that the idea already existed. Either way, it should be interesting how this case will turn out and what its impact, if any, on Assassin’s Creed 3 or succeeding titles.