A new project from the devs behind God Eater accused of plagiarism, issue an apology

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-05-25 18:07 JST)

Character illustrations from TVT’s recently announced Project Shaz are accused of being plagiarized from the works of other artists. TVT has since issued an apology and offered an explanation for the events.

TVT is a game studio being led by Toshiyuki Yasui, a creator known for their involvement in the God Eater series and Freedom Wars, that was founded in 2019. The studio recently announced two upcoming projects, including Project Shaz, which has found itself at the center of a controversy.

Project Shaz is a multiplayer action game being made by staff that participated in the development of God Eater. The game is being produced by Yasui with Tomokazu Fukushima of Metal Gear Solid and Freedom Wars fame onboard as the scenario writer. The game is being directed by Kenei Nakasha who is known for their work on .hack//G.U. and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, with Kususaga Rin from Lord of Vermilion and Fate/Grand Order acting as the art director.

For the character illustrations in question, let’s start with Yoko Kirishima, the second character from the left. It’s been pointed out that the illustration is similar to the one posted below from the gothic fashion seller Glitzy Wonderland. On the retailer’s website, we can see a model wearing the “Nighthawk Military Lolita Style Outfit (BJ02)” with similarities between the outfit itself and the model’s pose when compared to the illustration.

Image Credit: Glitzy Wonderland

It’s also been pointed out that Skull, the third character from the left, is similar to the “lancer” image by esuthio. And the fourth character from the left, Mireia Cardero, is similar to “The gunner in uniform” image by Jinyoung Son. Jackal, the fifth character from the left, is also accused of being a copy of an illustration by 药锅锅, with the artist also expressing concern over the matter.

After receiving these accusations, TVT went to the illustrator in charge to confirm what happened. According to them, the team gathered up reference materials as they were searching for the art direction and put them together using a method called “photobashing” when making their rough drafts.

Photobashing is a common method used when putting together concept art and image boards. During this process, TVT says the posing and figures ended up being used as is. In other words, a provisional image that was intended for internal use was made public without obtaining the rights needed to do so, leading to this current issue.

TVT explains that when they released the image, they didn’t check with the illustrator on how it was made and mistakenly thought it was something they could use publicly. Yasui took responsibility for the incident and apologized saying their workflow for verifying their work and information was lax and created a problem.

Project Shaz has met trouble right out of the gate since being announced, so it will be interesting to see if they can earn back trust from players as development goes on.