True Crime taken to true court

L.A. crime author Robert Crais sues Activision over Nick Kang character.


Activision saw its drive to publish True Crime: The Streets of LA hit a pothole today as crime author Robert Crais reportedly announced that he is taking legal action to stop the game's November 4 release.

Crais filed suit in Los Angeles US District Court and is currently seeking an injunction to prevent Activision from shipping the game. The suit also seeks undisclosed monetary damages and "destruction of all infringing works."

What's Crais' beef? The writer claims that Nick Kang, the grizzled ex-cop antihero of True Crime, is a rip-off of Elvis Cole, the grizzled ex-cop antihero of nine Crais novels, including L.A. Requiem and Free Fall.

"True Crime is substantially similar to the Elvis Cole novels," states the suit, which accuses Activision of copying "protectable expressions." (Those who've read Crais' novels and seen footage of True Crime will notice Kang and Cole also share an affinity for mirrored sunglasses and beating criminals senseless.)

E-mails to Crais were not returned and Activision representatives wouldn't comment on the matter except to say it expected the game to ship as scheduled.

Developed by Luxoflux, True Crime LA is one of Activision's most heavily promoted Q4 releases. The title's combination of Grand Theft Auto-like shooting and driving with martial arts-influenced hand-to-hand combat has generated significant interest among gamers.

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