BulletVille developer claims Respawn lifted the design for Apex Legends character Fuse from their game

Respawn Entertainment have been accused of lifting the design of their latest Apex Legends character, Fuse, from indie game BulletVille by its developer NOWWA.

They state that Fuse looks “weirdly similar” to BulletVille’s main hero, Hunter, noting the eyepatch, biker attire, skull belt, mechanical arm, moustache, grenade belt, gloves, necklace, vest jacket with circular symbol on the back, leg holsters, red/grey colour scheme, and grey stripe of hair.

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Not only that, but Hunter is armed with a pistol and rocket launcher in their game, while Fuse’s ultimate will see him whip out a rocket launcher as well

Does the parallel hold up? Judge for yourself:

NOWWA believing that this might have led to the design filtering through to Apex Legends’ design team at Respawn following some playtests that they held with EA back in October 2020. “It seems unlikely that it’s a coincidence,” they say.

Even as a coincidence, they worry that, despite having revealed their game and characters quite some time ago, they will be the ones branded a rip off:

We are happy that the Apex Legends team liked Hunter’s style to the point of wanting to recreate it in Apex Legends – we were even hoping for an eventual crossover! Nonetheless, we are afraid that, as a small indie game producer whose game hasn’t been launched yet, we’ll be called a ripoff of Apex Legends, which is certainly not true.

Unfortunately for NOWWA, while there are some similarities, there’s also plenty of differences that will make it very hard for this to stand up to any serious scrutiny – and stranger coincidences have happened. Fuse’s cybernetic arm is on the opposite side, he doesn’t have rocket feet, the design in general is more grungy, with the character having plenty of tattoos and a hefty afternoon shadow instead of having chops alongside the moustache. Then there’s the backstory that Respawn have fleshed out for the character and his Aussie accent. Oh, and Fuse has a good old mullet instead of a fade.

To boil it down even further, Hunter is far from the first video game character to have a prosthetic arm and eyepatch combo either, with Billie Lurk from the Dishonored series and more notably Venom Snake from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain both having similar prosthetics.

BulletVille is still in development at NOWWA, and set to launch out of beta sometime this year. Apex Legends is building up to the start of Season 8, in which Fuse will become a new playable character, on 2nd February – a gameplay reveal trailer is due later today.

Source: press release

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2 Comments

  1. I think the one thing that definitely isn’t a coincidence is that “a small indie game producer whose game hasn’t been launched yet” magically finds something they can get some publicity from, however dubious their claims are.

    What do they want from EA? Publicity? Big bag of money? To be bought by them?

  2. They do seem pretty similar, they even have the same white streak in their hair!

    I imagine it is more a case of accidental infringement where the design was unintentionally biased by their previous exposure to the BulletVille character.

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