Copyright Infringement in Tencent’s Red Alert Online

 

With the news regarding Red Alert Online by Tencent, it is with regret that we must inform you that the game, which can be publicly downloaded, has multiple instances of copyright infringement towards other parties. All information which you are about to see comes from anonymous, but reliable sources.

Copyright issues associated with the Command & Conquer series have sadly already occurred in the past, with the infamous moment from 2012 when Tiberium Alliances publicly announced two Forgotten units which were ripped from the Warhammer 40.000 IP by Games Workshop, but were hastily replaced by other units after a bit of backlash.

Below is a list of what was discovered to be objectionable. Affected assets are not only by parties like Blizzard Entertainment, Games Workshop and Activision, but also the very modding community of the Command & Conquer series.

Although the game advertises itself to be the only licensed mobile Command & Conquer title, the information about the connection with Electronic Arts has originally only surfaced on a site reporting on a Tencent-organized event where, among else, the game was advertised, and the Electronic Arts logo and license stamp in Chinese were added days after the news broke. Despite this, the bottom part of the page has no visible legal information related to Electronic Arts, which leads to confusion on whether or not the game is legitimately backed by Electronic Arts.

However, despite the game being covered by us and a few gaming news sites, Electronic Arts has yet to speak a single word about the subject.

 

Alexei Stukov from StarCraft II

 

Below is the appearance of Vice Admiral Alexei Stukov as he appeared in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm from 2012.

In the battle_full.mp4 file from an earlier version of Red Alert Online, we can see a character in the top right who unmistakably resembles him, only with cybernetic attachments instead of Zerg infestation:

The full drawing is also available in earlier versions of the game, as well as an in-game sprite which confirms the description.

 

Space Marines from Warhammer 40.000 / Banshee and Siege Tank from StarCraft II

 

This official screenshot of Red Alert Online shows multiple copyright infringements on the red army. The soldiers are actually Space Marines (more specifically, the Blood Angels chapter) from Games Workshop’s long-running Warhammer 40.000 franchise, with the telling points being not only their armour shape, but also the pieces on their upper backs.

Below is an example of what Blood Angels’ Space Marines look like in Warhammer 40.000:

In the very same Red Alert Online screenshot, in the upper right, an aircraft can be seen. It has been deduced to be the AH/G-24 Banshee unit from Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty from 2010. An example image from the game is shown below:

While twin fans instead of wings can be attributed to other designs, the exhausts just near the cockpit are a telling factor.

The Banshee’s appearance is not an isolated incident, as an earlier Red Alert Online screenshot shows an earlier version of the unit, darker, smaller in size and slightly altered:

This ties further to another unit from StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – a variant of the Siege Tank. Compare the large tank unit from the right screenshot above with the concept art piece by Blizzard Entertainment and the render taken from the game itself:

The telling point are the auxiliary treads on the sides, cannon structure and a cramped overall design.

This is also not an isolated incident, as it was observed in an official screenshot which has the current in-game logo as its watermark:

 

Planet pattern from Destiny

In a texture file showing a drone orbiting the Earth, the planet’s appearance has been directly taken from one of the variants of promo material for Activision’s Destiny from 2014.

The wallpaper in question is sourced here.

 

Wolf Business Group logo

There is a flag texture within the game files which looks like this:

The wolf’s head is apparently unmodified from the logo of a real-world company called Wolf Business Group.

 

Scud Launcher from Mental Omega

Red Alert Online has promo art and an icon showing a Scud Launcher (see vehicle just behind Yuri’s right shoulder):

This design was taken from the well-known fan-made modification for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 – Yuri’s Revenge, Mental Omega, which has been in production since 2005.

Below are the installer render and in-game appearance of the unit:

The only possible explanation for the presence of this unit in Red Alert Online is that the team sought references for Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge units, but since the left image is a mockup made in the exact style unit renders were made for the official games’ installers, they may have been confused. This still does not justify the action.

 

(POTENTIAL) Butch Gilzean from Gotham

It is believed that this is merely a beaten-up appearance of the character Butch Gilzean (Cyrus Gold) from Fox’ television series Gotham (as licensed by DC Comics) – with the original played by Drew Powell shown below:

 

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