Call of Duty Warzone: Plagiarism Accusations Surface Around New Dog Operator Design

A popular new furry Operator in Call of Duty Warzone has become the subject of plagiarism claims.

The new playable character, due to launch alongside the upcoming Terminator bundle, allows you to buy and play as a “Loyal Samoyed” – a soldier with the head of a very, very good boy. You can see the design below in a promotional image from developer Raven Software.

However, concept artist Sail Lin claims that the design has been plagiarised from a piece they created over two years ago:

“I am the original artist that the upcoming CoD Vanguard Samoyed skin was plagiarized from,” they said on Twitter (below). “Even though I am also a CoD player, I am very disappointed to see my work plagiarized by a big company like Activision in this way.”

“I have reached out to Activision for an explanation and/or compensation, and hopefully the situation will be settled soon,” they explained. “As an individual artist, I can only do so much, and I have to speak out about this to stop things like this happening again in the future.”

The artist uploaded their original design (called 'Samoye Medical') to online portfolio website ArtStation in December 2019, so there’s little arguing that their work preceded the upcoming CoD skin.

Even more interestingly, following these accusations, Raven Software has since removed mention of the “Loyal Samoyed” skin from its website. As noted by Polygon, a blog post announcing the skin has since been updated to remove images and mentions of the design. Additionally, tweets promoting the skin have also been removed.

We've contacted Activision Blizzard for comment.

Sail Lin is a concept artist from Shenzen, China, whose portfolio includes a whole catalog of gun designs alongside a range of cute puppers on combat gear.

Whether or not Lin will be contacted by Activision or Raven Software remains to be seen. But it looks as though this take on man’s best friend won’t be heading to the Warzone – at least, not for the time being.

Activision Blizzard has previously been sued for an Operator's likeness, after photographer Clayton Haugen alleged that the game's Mara character was based on images he'd taken of a cosplayer. That case was later settled.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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