Former Ubisoft developer accuses Shadow of Mordor of using code from Assassin's Creed

"I spent two years staring at AC2. I know it when I see it."

by

While many viewers commented that the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor video shown above bore a striking stylistic resemblance to Assassin's Creed, a former Ubisoft developer took those accusations one step further. In a series of Twitter posts today, Charles Randall, claimed that Shadow of Mordor was using code he worked on for Assassin's Creed II.

Randall is credited as a team lead in AI fight systems and senior gameplay programmer at Ubisoft Toronto according to his LinkedIn profile. His work on Assassin's Creed II focused primarily on combat.

Writing "Check it out guys! I apparently made a Middle Earth game" and linking to the Shadow of Mordor walkthrough video above, Randall followed up with the comment, "I know I don't have any legal rights to what I did on Assassin's Creed 2 but I sure hope I get a special thanks on that Middle Earth game." In the same thread, he clarified to another Twitter user, "I'm fine with it if people know what it is. But if they think they are going to sneak this under the radar... SO MUCH NOPE."

In another series of tweets, Randall wrote, "Seriously, can someone tell me how Assassin's Creed 2 code and assets are in this Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor game?" and, "Watch the video. That's AC2 stuff in there. Code/anim for sure." When another user claimed the battles bore more in common with Batman: Arkahm series than Assassins' Creed, Randall wrote, "I spent two years staring at AC2. I know it when I see it."

Despite the criticisms, Randall expressed his appreciation for Shadow of Mordor as well. "For the record though, that Middle Earth game looks pretty damn awesome. And I love AC2 so it's kind of a double win."

Representatives from Ubisoft had no official comment on the potential controversy. We've reached out to Warner Bros. Interactive (the publisher behind Shadow of Mordor) for further clarification, but have yet to receive a reply.

Discussion

319 comments
Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Warner stole or borrowed code from Ubisoft? Is that even possible?

macca366
macca366

That sneaking and the climbing animations looked directly ripped from AC, either that or very very closely copied. Obviously heavily inspired by it either way. But.. I almost don't care at all... This looks like a good LOTR game! I want it! I'm glad this little controversy brought it to my attention

Rage56
Rage56

I don't like the idea of people possibly stealing code or the work of others. The game itself may have potential and I am thinking I will want to pick it up in the future. Hopefully this will get resolved.

roganth
roganth

The Shadow of Mordor phone app has been openly reporting many articles about these accusations.  I hope they thank Randall for all this extra publicity.

Adenosine
Adenosine

After watching the video, I do agree that the animations for the hero character seem like they've been lifted from the Assassin's Creed games. Just look at the walk. Look at the run. Look at how the character climbs and navigates walls and edges. I do think those animations have been re-purposed. 


About other gameplay elements like this game's version of "Eagle Vision" and "Apple of Eden", I think the fighting system is more like what Batman games have. It looks like it's going to be fun.


wexorian
wexorian

All codes are borrowed , and he won't be able to sue em because code would been modified

croxus
croxus

Stolen code from Assassin's Creed he says??

Who would have guess that??

Gears189
Gears189

I can see the similarities especially at the beginning of the video and during the fight scenes but that shouldn't matter.  The game has other interesting ideas going for it like the rival system(if it actually works) and the wrath has possibilities(besides eagle vision).  If people are pissed off about SoM (yeah, already came up with a acronym for it(stick that were the sun don't shine)) then they need a history lesson in video games.  Most great games rip of ideas that have worked previously for past games like CoD ripped off Medal of Honor just adding the ability to look down the sights of your gun.  The there is Forza ripping of Grand Tourismo but Forza added that stupid line that told you when to brake and visually reminded you outside to inside to outside.  SoM is just doing the same thing every past game has down and I'm not saying it will be a great game either.  Mostly just pointing out what should be obvious.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

...ac combat sux ballz, shadow of mordor actually makes combat scenarios look exciting...and ac completely fails in that department

BetaVulgaris
BetaVulgaris

I don't about the codes, but it does look very AC. Climbing, balancing on a ledge and air assassinations look just like AC, only with not so smooth and realistic animations. And there even is eagle vision!

ps3gamer1234
ps3gamer1234

Lord of the Rings Conquest was a fun game.

FBohler
FBohler

I couldn't bother less if they stole the code from Assassin's Creed. Ubisoft can sue them and get royalties % from sales if it's true, simple as that!

Demanufactur3
Demanufactur3

It clearly contains aspects "borrowed" from assassins creed.

However, this looks very interesting indeed. May actually be worth buying.

Darth_Ultima
Darth_Ultima

So apparently Ubisoft developers think they own the intellectual property to climbing walls and running up behind people and stabbing them in the back.  Parkour fans look out Ubisoft is going to sue you.  Seriously just because the animations look similar does not mean the code that brings those animations to life are stolen.  Games copy each others style all the time without stealing each others code.  If that was not the case John Carmack would be the richest mofo in gaming because he could sue anybody making games about shooting guns from a first person perspective.  To me it looks like this game 'steals' aka draws inspiration more from Batman then it does AC.

Edge15
Edge15

Being a programmer myself, I can understand Randall's feelings on the code. But also knowing that the games use two different engines means that the code is most likely not the same code. I know I get inspired by other people's work at times and will attempt to emulate it, but that doesn't mean that I'm stealing it if it is implemented in a different manner. That is how intellectual property works in most of computer science. The code itself is what gets copyrighted, not the end results. All I know is that I am looking forward to Shadow of Mordor and I can't wait. You'd think that AC fans would actually appreciate a possible fantasy world like this instead of calling it "a shameless ripoff". Especially Middle Earth, which is so steeped in lore and detail that this game has true potential.


I almost think that Randall is shamelessly drawing attention to himself for publicity. Claiming something like that without proof can really hurt one's reputation.

serginho_scp
serginho_scp

I saw the video of the game and without knowing anything else about the game I immediately searched google for news about "ubisoft + shadow of mordor".. I think that says it all.
what a scandalous and absolutely nonsense ripoff.

three6click
three6click

I hope noone gets in trouble....I want to play this eventually...probably in 2015

al1972
al1972

3 words. Assassins creed ripoff. 


And Oh...Dark Souls 2 will be GOTY 2014. 

Code-Llama
Code-Llama

The combat doesn't look like Batman's at all. I don't even understand what the resemblence is supposed to be.

In Batman you're jumping around like crazy (which is very fun) to build combos. That does not happen here. It does look a lot more like Assassin's Creed, where you can wait to counter or just take the initiative of attack.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

True or not

This looks a lot more fun than AC

Seifer24
Seifer24

who the fuck cares.It looks great

NTM23
NTM23

I didn't care enough before to take a look at any of this games footage until now, and yeah, while it does look like AC, it also looks good. I also don't think you need the same code to make a game look very, very similar; otherwise Infinity Ward could have been complaining for years now. Furthermore, the combat isn't even the aspect that looks the most like AC, though it's part of it. It's more like AC and Arkham.

DarthLod
DarthLod

Who cares? It looks a hell of alot better than anything they have done with AC series SINCE AC2.

ccgod
ccgod

2 min in and yes its AC with LOTR skin lol

Harbinger_CR
Harbinger_CR

It might be copied, but you have to admit this looks like an actual good LoTR game.

camverge
camverge

All I heard was, "waaaaaaa, waaaaaa, waaaaaaaa". Do you hear Rocksteady complain about people trying to mimic their free flow combat? No, because similarities and idea sharing is part of the business, whether you like to admit it or not.

Alucard1475
Alucard1475

This doesn't look just similar; It might as well be the next AC game - Assassin's Creed: Shadow of Mordor.


ravenglass1
ravenglass1

They should put the best of all the best games into one. isn't that what all gamers want " the best of the best ".......that's a lot of best's

dethtrain
dethtrain

How does he know that line-by-line, source code from AC2 is in the game?

hitomo
hitomo

I would say, an attempt to cash in on the massive fan base of AC2 with this game also, but what do I know, I am paranoid ^^

monza1966
monza1966

I thought AC right away when I saw the video, but it still looks amazing.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@wizardboyus  What I was going to say. AC combat SUCKED huge balls from the beginning... 

benelori
benelori

@Darth_Ultima 


Didn't he just say that he knows that he doesn't have a claim over the "stolen" code?

sammoth
sammoth

@Edge15 This is what I been saying about this. He has no proof and acts like he never borrowed ideas. All programmers borrow or replicate code that looks the same. This has been going on for years. To make accusations without facts is just dub on Randall's part.

Another_Denshuu
Another_Denshuu

@camverge Except for the part where the article had absolutely nothing to do with "idea sharing" and everything to do with "using code you didn't write." Try reading the article next time.

ccgod
ccgod

@ravenglass1ask vanilla ice about using the best beat around for his song without permission

sammoth
sammoth

@E_J_S Saving face now Randall. Got some lawyer advice huih ?

undo
undo

@E_J_S Charles Randall: The Lawyer's Cut

sammoth
sammoth

@benelori@Darth_Ultima He doesn't even know if it's stolen. It's just an accusation. A bad one but, he should gather evidence before running his mouth.

camverge
camverge

Except for the part where there is ZERO proof they're using his code and it's all accusation. So if it's not proven to be the same code, what does that make it? First word that comes to mind is "similar". Now sharing on my part might have been a poor choice of vocabulary, lets say idea taking. This still does not defy the fact it happens everywhere, try not being an ass next time.