US science-fiction author John L. Beiswenger is attempting to sue Ubisoft over what he claims is willful infringement of copyright. Beiswenger feels Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series (yes, all of it) copies aspects of a novel of his called Link (uh oh, maybe he’ll be going after Zelda next).
Link was released in 2002, five years before the first Assassin’s Creed title. The novel features the premise that ancestral memories can be “accessed, recalled, relived and re-experienced”; somewhat similar to the ‘animus’ system in Assassin’s Creed. Apparently, it also mentions a couple of assassins.
A thrilling extract, quoted in the court documents for this case, reads as follows:
“‘If John Wilkes Booth fathered a child after he assassinated Lincoln, and we found a descendant alive today, we could place Booth at the scene and perhaps smell the gunpowder.’ ‘Ancestral memories?’ ‘As far back as you want.'”
Other similarities cited include, err, the fact that both Assassin’s Creed and Link feature a battle between good and evil. Case closed, clearly.
Beiswenger is asking for a total of $1.05 million USD in damages if Ubisoft infringed his copyright by accident, and a mere $5.25 million USD if he can prove they did it on purpose. Those costs are spread across each of the Assassin’s Creed releases (including trailers and strategy guides).
In other news, Philip K Dick has risen from the grave and is suing every other science-fiction writer in existence.
Image taken from Assassin’s Creed 3.