Author Files Lawsuit Over Assassin’s Creed Story
In my opinion, the whole Animus memory-machine business that features heavily in the Assassin’s Creed storyline is absurd, and pretty much unnecessary. Why can’t the game just follow bad-ass assassins through time and be done with it? Is the Desmond component really an integral part of the whole experience?
Well, regardless of how I feel about it, American author John Beiswenger has filed a lawsuit against Ubisoft, alleging that the Animus plot device is ripped off from his 2002 novel Link, in which people use a laboratory machine to relive the experiences and memories of their historical ancestors. Beiswenger alleges 11 counts of copyright infringement, says a post on Gamasutra. The post mentions that Link also features references to assassins and assassinations.
Interestingly, Gametrailers is also mentioned in the suit, apparently because they hosted trailers for games in the Assassin’s Creed series. All told, the author is seeking damages of up to $5.25 million and for an end to be put to these alleged copyright infringements.
After searching Amazon for Beiswenger’s book, it doesn’t come up unless you add the author’s name. Part of that is probably because “Link” is not a particularly unique name for a book. But once I did find it, I saw that it had one review (five stars!) and was self-published by the author.
Now, I’m not going to come out and criticize a guy who wrote and published his own novel. Just the act of writing it is a ton of work, and book publishing is a ridiculous field to break into. But I also kind of doubt that a claim of intentional infringement can be established here—if that is, in fact, a claim that Beiswenger’s attorneys would have to prove. Moreover, there have been pop culture references to using machines to experience past lives for a while. Albert Brooks’s great comedy, Defending Your Life comes to my mind:
So far, Ubisoft has yet to comment on the suit. What do you think?