The clone wars

One of the iPhone’s biggest developers, Gameloft, have sat down with IGN to discuss the company’s future and what ceo Michel Guillemot thinks of the accusations of IP theft. Some of Gameloft’s biggest selling App Store games, N.O.V.A, Modern Combat and now Shadow Guardian have more than a striking resemblance to Halo, Call of Duty and Uncharted respectively. Guillemot was asked what he thought about the criticism Gameloft receives when their corporate goal appears to be a mimicking of other already established franchises, his response was simple: “The video game industry has always played around a limited number of themes. There is maybe one new idea a year.” To him, this is good enough reason.

Guillemot mentions the explosion of open-world games after Grand Theft Auto and how most games just copy one another. Guillemot also argued that Gameloft are simply giving its fans with games that wouldn’t necessarily come to the iPhone without their intervention and: “If a type of game is not available, then you should make it. The damaging thing is if you do a bad expression of a good idea.” Inspiration is one thing and continuing a tradition of reusing ideas another but these games go beyond that level of replication. And if you truly believed that only one new idea comes out a year, isn’t the cure to this a dedication to come up with new ideas and not become part of the problem yourself?

I agree and even commend the company for providing gamers with the chance to play these experiences on a system that isn’t their usual habitat but it’s the artistic similarities that a lot of people take exception to. The Uncharted clone, Shadow Guardian could have merely used the idea of Naughty Dog’s adventure game and created its own character and art-style but instead chose to use a protagonist that even shares the same half-tucked shirt as Nathan Drake. And GT Racing, a game that replicates the menu system from Gran Turismo as well as the ideas behind the racer is why the word ‘shameless’ is often used when describing Gameloft’s ethics.

But maybe we’re just viewing them all wrong and these are more of an homage to console and PC greats rather than a profiting off another’s IP. Most if not all the reviews found on the App Store of Gameloft’s prized inspired games are highly positive with gamers stating the similarities are a good thing. So their fans are happy which in tern makes them happy and if the developers of the cloned titles were too bothered, a court case would have happened long ago. And some of the game in question, like N.O.V.A for example, really are very good…


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