An artist going by the name of Mariana “Haku” Villanueva is being accused of having plagiarized art from DeviantArt regular Martin de Diego. Keen users made comparisons between the official art used in the Mexican launch of Gears of War 4 and Martin de Diego’s works and discovered undeniable similarities, prompting Microsoft to make an official statement on the matter.
Spanish gaming website Atomix.vg reported on the incident, which they picked up from a Facebook post made by a certani Mario S. Nevado, who did a breakdown and comparison of the art that “Haku” supposedly made for Gears of War 4 and the work by Martin de Diego. You can check out his comparison below, which he posted on October 12th, 2016, to see the similarities.
It’s hard to deny the similarities after taking a look at the images. The teeth in the skull from Diego’s piece seem to be replicated over the Juvie Swarm member in the Gears of War 4 promo piece.
The teeth making up for the entrance and exit in Diego’s “Hells Gate” cover and back also seem to be almost identical in the promo piece for The Coalition and Microsoft’s new Windows 10 and Xbox One third-person shooter.
According to Atomix.vg, Mariana “Haku” Villanueva originally denied the accusations of plagiarism and simply stated that she was inspired by Diego’s work and that it wasn’t plagiarism. After certain individuals showed the diagrams with red lines on them (the bane of fact dodgers), “Haku” deleted her comments and ducked out of the conversation.
This led people to take the issue up with Microsoft, who made an official announcement on the Xbox Mexico Facebook account on October 12th, 2016, six hours after Nevado posted the comparison, where they wrote…
“Intellectual property is a strategic asset that provides significant value for Microsoft, their customers and partners. In Microsoft we are in favour and in favour of respect for the intellectual property and that is why we will investigate and take the necessary steps to fulfill and to respect the rights of authors and artists related to our products.”
Gears of War 4 recently launched for the Xbox One and Windows 10 on October 11th, so we’ll see how they deal with the issue of plagiarism or if they’ll bother to commission Mariana “Haku” Villanueva to do work on future iterations of the series, especially after they had her work on Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.
(Thanks for the news tip Bitterbear)