Since the release of the first game in the series back in 2007, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has become a huge hit for developer/publisher Ubisoft. However, a recently filed lawsuit claims that the ideas that have driven the franchise to its success may not have come from the minds of Ubisoft at all.
John Beiswenger, American author and research engineer, has filed a lawsuit against both Ubisoft and Gametrailers, claiming that the storyline of the Assassin’s Creed franchise bears many similarities to his 2002 novel, Link. In the copyright infringement papers filed with a U.S District Court in Pennsylvania, Beiswenger is claiming 11 counts of copyright infringement against Ubisoft and Gametrailers across the entirety of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, including not just the video games, but the books and video trailers as well.
The claim is that numerous plotlines in Assassin’s Creed are borrowed (or at least resemble) scenes from his book. Like Assassin’s Creed, Link features a device that allows characters to relive the memories of ancestors. The device used by the characters in Link, Beiswenger says, is very similar to the Animus in Assassin’s Creed. There are also references to assassins and assassinations in the novel, another example the author is using to prove his case. There are dozens of examples in the infringement claim, which the author believes to be definitive proof that Ubisoft is parroting his storyline. Beiswenger is also suing Gametrailers for several video trailers that present the Assassin’s Creed franchise, including one for the recently released Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
The author is demanding damages of $5.25 million, and seeking a halt to any further infringements of his work. So far, Ubisoft has not commented on the development, and there is no word whether or not it will affect the October release of Assassin’s Creed III in any way.