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Call of Duty accused of swiping another skin, this time from a former employee

Unlike the Samoyed skin, the Doomsayer is a bit more complicated

A still of the Malware Tracer Pack skin from Call of Duty: Vanguard/Warzone Image: Raven Software/Sledgehammer Games/Activision
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

A new skin for Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Vanguard is getting suspiciously side-eyed for its similarity to a different game’s character skin, just weeks after publisher Activision was accused of copying an artist’s work for Call of Duty cosmetics. One of the people who appears to take issue with Call of Duty’s new Doomsayer operator skin is a former Activision employee who used to work on the first-person shooter franchise.

On Monday, the official Call of Duty Twitter account promoted the Malware Ultra Skin Bundle, showing off the Doomsayer skin for an operator named Shigenori Ota. Doomsayer wears a hood and black body armor, whose most distinctive feature is a glowing, hologram-like skull projecting through its helmet.

Call of Duty fans quickly noted the Doomsayer skin’s similarity to a cosmetic revealed in July from the in-development game Deadrop, which is being developed by the studio Midnight Society. That studio’s co-founders include popular streamer Guy “Dr DisRespect” Beahm and Robert Bowling, the former creative strategist and community manager for Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward. (Bowling left IW in 2012.)

Bowling appeared to take issue with Call of Duty’s Doomsayer character skin and its similarity to Deadrop’s “Four Zero Two” Variant look, tweeting early Tuesday morning, “At least name it after me.”

Unlike the Loyal Samoyed skin added to (and quickly pulled from) Call of Duty: Warzone and Vanguard last month, the Doomsayer skin has some level of precedent in Call of Duty. One of the series most recognizable characters is British special forces operator Simon “Ghost” Riley, who has been the beneficiary of a number of hooded, skull-faced skins across multiple Call of Duty games. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, the operator Weaver got a spooky, glowing-skull Ghost-like look called Disciple of the Dark Aether. Vanguard and Warzone have also recently experimented with LED-infused faces (Type Face) and futuristic helmets (Violet Stealth, High Bitrate), despite the shooters’ World War II-inspired setting.

Still, the similarities between Deadrop’s Variant skin and Call of Duty’s Doomsayer are stark, enough to rile up a segment of the player base with accusations of plagiarism for the second time in a month.

Polygon has reached out to Activision for comment on the allegations and will update when the company responds.

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