Fallout: New Vegas official merchandise suspected of using Japanese fanart without permission [Update – resolved]

Image Credit: Nukapedia Fallout Wiki

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-09-02 19:35 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

[UPDATE 2021/09/07 10:40 JST]
Shuka reported that the issue has been resolved, and the text “Alternate face art by Shuka” was added to the store page.

[Original Text 2021/09/03 12:59 JST ]
A new Fallout: New Vegas statue is scheduled to release on Bethesda Softworks’ official merchandise store and there are suspicions that a piece of fanart is being used without permission. The truth of the matter is unclear at this point, but the fan artist and statue maker are now in contact and holding discussions.

The problem centers around the official statue for Yes Man, a character from Fallout: New Vegas. In the game, Yes Man is a type of Securitron robot that, just as the name implies, can’t deny a request. Between its unique personality and the smile that’s constantly stuck on its face, Yes Man is a very memorable character. Yes Man can also play a very important role near the end of the game depending on the route of the player.

The supply of the Yes Man statue is limited to only 1,000 and the Official Bethesda Gear Store is currently accepting pre-orders at $115.00. The statue also includes various face stickers that give numerous expressions to the otherwise constantly smiling robot.

These stickers are where the alleged use of fanart comes in. Shuka, a Japanese Bethesda fan, pointed out the resemblance between fanart they had posted in the past and the designs of the stickers in a tweet.

In addition to posting guides for The Elder Scrolls series and translations of the in-game books on their website, Shuka has also made and shared a large amount of Bethesda fanart. It’s hard to deny they are a big fan of Bethesda. According to Shuka, the stickers of Yes Man’s various expressions are similar to fanart they posted to Deviant Art in 2011.

Image Credit: Shuka on Deviant Art

Firstly, Shuka’s fanart uses the Yes Man face that appears in the game and makes other expressions from it. The Poker-faced expression in the top left corner is from the game, but Shuka made the other expressions by editing and adding to the original one. If you compare the stickers that come with the official statue and the fanart, it’s hard to deny the striking resemblance. When comparing the images with photo editing software, there are some curves and details that differ, but parts like the eyebrows and things Shuka seems to have added line up almost perfectly.

It’s fanart based on Yes Man’s face so it’s natural that the designs would be similar. But when you look at just how similar the expressions are represented, it’s hard to say it’s just a coincidence. Shuka has also stated that the Bethesda side didn’t reach out to them beforehand regarding use of their fanart for the statue. If what they’ve stated is true, Bethesda could likely be using fanart without permission for a product.

The Official Bethesda Gear Store is operated by merchandise manufacturer and seller Development Plus. The company also handles merchandise for other big game companies such as 2K and Electronic Arts and made pack-in merchandise for limited edition releases such as Doom Eternal and Titanfall.

Shuka tried reaching out to Bethesda and received a contact from the Official Bethesda Gear Store Twitter account in a tweet thread so they are likely discussing the matter now. Shuka has also asked that others not attack or harass Bethesda or the store. We hope their discussions continue smoothly, the facts regarding unauthorized use are revealed, and that Shuka can continue feeling good about supporting Bethesda.