In 2023, the Kalashnikov concern began accepting pre-orders for the MP-155 Ultima smart gun with a futuristic design and the ability to sync with mobile devices. Indie studio Ward B claims the design of the MP-155 Ultima is stolen from their Oceanic game.
The head of Ward B Marcellino Sauceda reports: in early 2023, representatives of the Kalashnikov concern contacted the company and offered to create a real weapon based on one of the studio’s designs. The choice fell on the EPM28 Mastodon shotgun:
According to Marcellino, representatives of the concern promised to place the studio’s logo on the weapon, send three ready-made guns as a gift and tell that it is the design of the Ward B that underlies the real weapon. It was not planned to pay the studio a fee for using the design. But when it came to signing the contract, the Kalashnikov concern stopped communicating. Later, the concern announced the MP-155 Ultima shotgun. Although there is no question of complete resemblance to Mastodon, Ward B is sure: its design was created taking into account the solutions invented by the studio for virtual weapons:
Marcellino Sauceda draws the public’s attention to small design elements similar to the Mastodon and the MP-155 Ultima. From a functional point of view, these details do not matter, at one time the artists of the studio came up with them for beauty.
Representatives of the concern confirmed that they were negotiating with Ward B. During the negotiations, it allegedly turned out that working with the studio is risky: it has no investors and does not have enough own funds to complete the project. In addition, Ward B did not pay the concept artist who sketched the weapon, which made copyright negotiations difficult, the concern said in a statement. The studio claims that it was about a deferred payment and the artist has already received the money.
Having refused to cooperate with Ward B, the Kalashnikov concern began working with another designer from Russia, whose name was not disclosed. The MP-155 Ultima project, resulting from the collaboration, has been patented, but Ward B believes that this proves nothing. According to Marcellino, employees of the concern used images created by Ward B for an internal presentation, replacing the game’s logo with their own. Representatives of “Kalashnikov” did not comment on these accusations in any way.
In September 2023, Ward B sent a series of demands to the concern to discontinue use of the studio’s design. But this did not give any results, at some point the lawyers of the concern stopped responding. After that, Sauseda claims, Kalashnikov contacted the designer who created the Mastodon concept and tried to buy the rights to it in order to “end the conflict as soon as possible,” but at that time the copyright holder was already Ward B.
It is noteworthy that the MP-155 Ultima shotgun has a virtual version, the weapon was added to the shooter Escape From Tarkov. Representatives of Ward B contacted the developers and said that they considered the appearance of the shotgun as an unauthorized use of their design, but they did not receive a response. Ward B has no plans to sue Kalashnikov, as the studio simply does not have the funds to do so.