Updated: Jan 21, 2021
This news came as quite a shock and it doesn't seem to be incidental by any means. Respawn Entertainment, developers of Apex Legends have reportedly stolen the character design for their Season 8 legend Fuse from independent studio NOWWA.
The character of Fuse draws a lot of similarities from Bulletville's Hunter character, who has been the face of the game for nearly 2 years! There was even an original design concept for Apex Legend's Fuse on Reddit that bears no resemblance to their character now. We reached out to NOWWA for a quick Q&A about the situation.
Q.) What was your initial response when you saw the Apex Legends announcement of their character Fuse?
Disbelief - I logged into Slack and the team were sharing images and talking about it. I've had people warn me for years against posting all the development of BulletVille on Twitter because "a big studio could rip us off" and I always thought that was dumb since big studios can pay for their own art and develop their own ideas. But here it was, a clear copy of Hunter, stylized for Apex.
Q.) Have you seen Respawn Entertainment's original concept for Fuse?
Never seen this one and I hope they go back to it! looks nothing like our character.
Q.) Does it feel like this was intentional and Respawn Entertainment stole your character Hunter's likeness?
Q.) Often we hear about smaller studios "ripping off" AAA studios. Do you think larger studios do this more often than not because they don't think anyone will notice?
At the end of the day, we're all just people taking ideas from each other. Big studios can afford great artists to produce great art, so of course, they are going to be copied more. But it also happens that artists at big studios take / rip off ideas from smaller ones, and when that happens going against them is a David vs Goliath situation.
Q.) Has Respawn Entertainment reached out to your studio or mentioned it in any way?
Not at the moment.
Q.) What steps will your studio take now against Respawn Entertainment?
We're considering options with our lawyer.
Q.) What would you say to gamers and independent studios right now about this situation?
This sucks. It's confusing too - if we had let this go, would their next hero be another one of our characters? What is going on?
Below you can see the two characters and the striking similarities between them. It seems obvious this was not a mistake on Respawn Entertainment's side.