Haugen claims that Mara is based on a character of his own creation, Cade Janus. Janus was the main character in Haugen’s November Renaissance story, which he was planning to make into a film, according to documents obtained by Torrent Freak.
It is alleged that in Activision’s search for a “strong, skilled female fighter” character, Twitch streamer Alex Zedra was hired to portray the character of Mara.
This was, according to Haugen, after he had already used Zedra’s likeness for Janus, and he asserts that the team scouting for Mara actively asked Zadra to access the same clothing and makeup as in her previous shoot.
According to the suit, “the resulting photographs were intended to be, and were, copies of Haugen’s Cade Janus Photographs.”
The suit goes on to state that the use of Mara as a ‘centerpiece’ of the game’s advertising campaign may have contributed to the elevated sales enjoyed by Activision for their first Call of Duty game featuring a female lead.
The complaint demands a trial by jury, asserting that Haugen be allowed to recover monetary compensation for the infringement, with Activision repaying any profits they may have gained as a result of it.
Activision has not yet made a public statement regarding the case.
“We are happy that the Apex Legends team liked Hunter’s style to the point of wanting to recreate it in Apex Legends,” NOWAA, the indie game company who made the accusation, said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, we are afraid that, as a small indie game producer whose game hasn’t been launched yet, we’ll be called a ripoff of Apex Legends, which is certainly not true.”