An indie studio has accused gun manufacturer Kalashnikov of not only stealing one of the guns it designed, but also granting Escape From Tarkov the rights to use it.
Indie developer Ward B says that a contractor involved with Kalashnikov, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the world, approached the team asking if it could turn one of its fictional guns – Ward B’s EPM28 Mastodon shotgun – into a real weapon. The gun was designed for an upcoming game called Oceanic, and the contractor apparently wanted to pitch Kalshnikov the fictional design as a gun kit for the MP-155 shotgun.
Speaking to IGN (where further images of both weapons can be viewed), Ward B CEO Marcellino Sauceda says while the studio was excited to carry out the idea, it never received formal contracts and neither the contractor or Kalashnikov contacted them.
Some time later, Kalashnikov revealed an MP-155 Ultima that looked very similar to Ward B’s design for the EMP28 Mastodon. Sauceda alleges that the MP-155 Ultima used Ward B’s design, and states that there are several aesthetic decisions on the MP-155 Ultima that have no practical serving in real life. This includes the receiver on the Ultima, which Sauceda says “I kind of feel they have the [Mastodon 3D model] and they forgot to exclude that part – because they did remove it on the other side with the bolt”.
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”.
Even stranger, Ward B says that Kalashnikov has granted hardcore shooter Escape From Tarkov rights to use the design of the MP-155 Ultima, with Sauceda claiming that Ward B’s own gun design ended up being released in someone else’s 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”.
The contractor that Ward B spoke with has defended the Ultima, and told IGN that he created the Ultima’s design “from scratch”. Similarly, Sauceda says Kalashnikov claims that it has developed the Ultima from scratch and that executives have never seen Ward B’s design.