Developer Trek Industries woke up yesterday to some bad news from Steam. The developer says that one of its games, Orion, has been removed from the storefront following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint from Call of Duty publisher Activision.
A post by Trek’s David James details how the situation unfurled from the developer’s perspective. Following Activision’s DMCA complaint, Steam opted to remove the game from sale, which is one of the options available to the storefront.
The specific complaint focuses on weapon art that Activision alleges was taken from Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare. Images provided by Trek make it hard to draw a comparison, but thankfully users on NeoGAF have matched angles so people can get a better look.
Activision was unable to be reached for formal comment, however Game Informer can confirm that the publisher did issue the DMCA complaint. According to James, Activision has 10 days to provide Valve with a copy of a legal complaint. If the publisher fails to produce one, Orion will be re-listed on Steam.
Trek Industries denies it has used art from the two Call of Duty games. “Regardless, an invalid and malicious act from Activision on wrong or non-existant (sic) evidence,” James says. “They are are multi-billion dollar company coming over what is currently a 50 cent game, without contacting us or requesting anything of us NOR providing any specific assets or images of the offensive content to begin with.”
Trek Industries, which used to be called Spiral Games, has been embroiled in controversy before. The company used lifted art for an older, since replaced set of achievement icons. It was also accused of using art assets from Tribes Ascend, Natural Selection 2, and Primal Carnage (via Gather Your Party).
We’ll update should Activision provide comment.
Activision is a sleeping giant that is only rarely roused to make a move like this. You rarely hear the company mention other companies by name, preferring to run its own race. The fact that the publisher is taking action here shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I’m interested to see if Activision follows through with a formal complaint or simply chose this moment to send a message. Having a game delisted during a Steam sale is a particularly crafty way to make your point.