Artist Sail Lin took to Twitter on July 29 to allege their original work from 2019 had been stolen by the company, pointing out clear imitations by Activision for the “Loyal Samoyed” skin in Call of Duty: Warzone.
Lin told Kotaku that they hadn’t been in contact with Activision and had no idea that the publisher was going to add the skin to the game. Both versions have the same backpack, hip pouch and elbow pad as well as clothing being virtually identical, with no colour changes being made.
At the time, Lin had reached out to Activision for an “explanation or compensation” and hoped the situation would be “settled soon”. They said that despite being a Call of Duty player themselves, they were “very disappointed” to see their work stolen by a “big company like Activision in this way.”
Activision has now released a statement (via, Polygon) taking accountability, saying: “We have the utmost respect for creativity and content creation. We love the Loyal Samoyed, but regrettably we erred in our process and have removed this imagery from the game. We apologise for the misstep.”
In response to the apology, fans of the series have speculated that this may have happened due to an employee being “overworked and underpaid.”
The suggestions of negative working conditions come as Nintendo face a second complaint against them to the National Labor Relations Board which alleges that the company, alongside a contracting firm, established “coercive rules”, and that employees were dismissed, disciplined or faced retaliation for discussing working conditions.