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World of Tanks developer sues Chinese company over 'disturbingly similar game' Project Tank

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Wargaming filed a copyright infringement suit against a pair of Chinese companies in a U.S. District Court in the northern district of Illinois this week, alleging that Gamease's Project Tank is "disturbingly similar" to its popular online game World of Tanks.

Project Tank, which operates under the name Tanks Ground War and plans to operate under the name Ground War Tanks, according to Wargaming's complaint, is "an unoriginal and disturbingly similar game directly based on the World of Tanks." Wargaming's suit alleges that Gamease's tank game, which has been playable in a closed beta on Facebook, "copied the plot, theme, dialogue, mood, setting, pace, and character of World of Tanks, in addition to copying specific features, items, tanks, and artwork."

The complaint filed by Wargaming against Limited and Beijing Gamease Age Digital Technology Co., Ltd. outlines a list of similarities between the companies' two tank-based shooters. Both games, Wargaming alleges, start with players viewing their tanks in a garage, with similar UI layouts. And both games features similar depots, stores, service screens, tech trees, vehicle research screens and more.

Wargaming also alleges that tank models and textures were copied by the developers of Project Tank, detailing its claims with images of tanks in both games and supporting evidence.

"Copying is evidenced by the fact that the designers of Project Tank copied historical inaccuracies found in WoT," the complaint reads, "each of which does not affect game play, but which was included in WoT to simplify the tank modeling and rendering process. Copying is further evidenced by the fact that the designers of Project Tank copied tanks from WoT that never existed in real life, and which included features original to WoT."

The World of Tanks developer alleges that one of its patents, US8425330, for "Dynamic battle session matchmaking in a multiplayer game" has aspects being utilized by Project Tank.

Wargaming is seeking damages and an injunction against further acts of infringement in the suit.

Changyou, which also developed action RPG Wartune, wrote on the Gamebox website — which hosts games such as Odin Quest and General War — that Wargaming has "recently launched a series of underhand [sic] actions against Project Tank, including using their connections to shut down our Facebook page, over PT's purported infringement' of their intellectual property rights."

The developer claims it has "never intended to pose a threat or compete at any platform with World of Tanks."

"We feel truly shocked and bullied by Wargaming," a statement reads, "a giant company of the gaming industry who is apparently 'threatened' by a closed beta phase browser game aiming to provide a cheaper, fairer, and more accessible war game to players around the world."

Polygon has reached out to developers of World of Tanks and Project Tank for comment and will update with any response.

Thanks for the tip, Fan Zhang.

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