The No More Heroes 3
trailer that debuted at The Game Awards has been accused of plagiarism. However, a deeper look into the situation has revealed that the people who made the trailer may not necessarily have known they were plagiarizing anyone.
Utrecht-based animation house Studio Plumeau posted a tweet on December 13, 2019 that said an FX animation it had created was used without permission in the No More Heroes 3 trailer shown during The Game Awards.
“Biggest surprise @thegameawards last night was seeing our fx animation pop up in the #NoMoreHeroes3 trailer. Who do I bill for this?” read the tweet before it was taken down (via NintendoEverything). Studio Plumeau tagged the game’s developer Grasshopper Manufacture, its publisher Marvelous Games, and Nintendo America in the tweet.
The trailer also lists Japanese CG animation studios Kamikaze Douga and Shirogumi Inc. as having worked on it.
You can see the FX animation that Studio Plumeau claims to have made and not sold for commercial use at the end of the No More Heroes 3 trailer. It appears under the game’s logo as a quick flash of sharp white shapes made to look like an explosion.
When asked to explain how they originally created the animation, Studio Plumeau said “it’s an hand drawn logo animation I made for my animation studio back in 2013, no library or assets from another source used.”
On that same day, Twitter user @LokPolymorfa pointed out that the FX animation that Studio Plumeau says it created appears in a showreel video from 2014. It showcases 2D effects that are available from a digital marketplace called Envato that lets its users sell creative assets.
Studio Plumeau then deleted the accusatory tweet after having spoke to the person in charge of the FX animation on the No More Heroes 3 trailer. Another tweet was then posted on December 14 with an update on the situation.
Update on the whole #NoMoreHeroes3 fx animation debacle. We have received word from the person in charge of the fx animation in the trailer. The animation was indeed purchased on @envato. The user was selling lots of different assets made by many other fx artists as well.
— Studio Plumeau (@StudioPlumeau) December 14, 2019
It turns out that the FX animation was bought on Envato and the user it was purchased from has been selling lots of other animations that don’t belong to them. Animation website Catsuka claimed that the plagiarizing user was Denis Koyzon but Studio Plumeau says it isn’t as he was banned from Envato in 2015, meaning the source this time is someone else.
Envato has since then tweeted that it’s “definitely” looking into this user and seems to have now removed them from its marketplace. Whether there will be other repercussions for that user is to be seen.
No More Heroes 3 Screenshots
The whole situation is similar to a case of plagiarism that involved many animations being traced by a professional animator for a recent PS4 lineup trailer released by Sony Japan.
No More Heroes 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch in 2020. Its new trailer was one of the better surprises from Nintendo during The Game Awards last week.
Chris Priestman is a freelancer who writes news for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.