December 7, 2021

A game studio claims that a real-life gun manufacturer stole its weapon design

Kalashnikov is also accused of handing 'Escape From Tarkov' the rights to use the disputed weapon, according to the studio.

An indie studio has accused Kalashnikov of not only stealing one of its firearms, but also of handing Escape From Tarkov the rights to use it.

Ward B, an independent game creator, claims that a contractor from Kalashnikov, one of the world's largest gun manufacturers, approached the company and asked if it could adapt one of its fictitious weaponry, Ward B's EPM28 Mastodon shotgun, into a real weapon. The gun was created for an upcoming game called Oceanic, and the contractor supposedly planned to sell Kalshnikov a gun kit for the MP-155 shotgun based on the fictional design.

Ward B CEO Marcellino Sauceda told IGN that while the studio was thrilled to carry out the idea, it never received formal contracts and neither the contractor nor Kalashnikov contacted them.

Kalashnikov later presented an MP-155 Ultima that looked strikingly similar to Ward B's EMP28 Mastodon design. Sauceda claims that the MP-155 Ultima was based on Ward B's design, and that the MP-155 Ultima has various aesthetic judgments that have no practical purpose in real life. "I kind of feel they have the [Mastodon 3D model] and they neglected to eliminate that component – because they did remove it on the other side with the bolt," Sauceda says of the Ultima's receiver.

In a trailer for the Mastodon, a disclaimer from Ward B claims that “due to unfortunate events regarding large scale IP theft, Ward B will be undergoing private development for Oceanic to protect its property and rights”.

Ward B claims that Kalashnikov has given hardcore shooter Escape From Tarkov permission to use the MP-155 Ultima design, despite Sauceda noting that Ward B's own pistol design was released in another game before it could be released in Oceanic.

Sauceda says Ward B has “dropped the goal of reclaiming our property legally” due to significant legal difficulties with Kalashnikov being based in Russia. However, Sauceda wants to raise awareness of the issue and says that “unfortunately this is something that happens a lot in the indie development scene”.

Ward B met with a contractor who defended the Ultima, telling IGN that he designed it "from the ground up." Similarly, Sauceda asserts that Kalashnikov built the Ultima from the ground up and that company management have never seen Ward B's design.

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