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PUBG Accused Of Ripping Off An Indie Game

"PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (a.k.a. "PUBG") has taken inspiration from other properties in the past, basing its core concepts off of the Japanese "Battle Royale" franchise and even seemingly taking cues from "Among Us" when adding new content to the game. However, it seems that "PUBG Mobile," which is published by Tencent and developed by Krafton, may have gone a bit too far in flaunting its inspirations this time, offering up a skin that looks a little too similar to a character in the indie game "Hypnospace Outlaw."

"Hypnospace Outlaw," released in 2019 on PC and in 2020 on consoles, has a very distinct color palette and retro style. A new character skin being offered by "PUBG Mobile" not only shares the distinct yellow face and neon purple color scheme of some of the game's key art, but it is also called the "Hypnospace Diva Set," which makes it even harder to call this a total coincidence. 

"Hypnospace Outlaw" creator Jay Tholen pointed out the similarities in a thread on Twitter, which led to an interview with Kotaku about the whole situation. According to Tholen, his gripe with "PUBG" goes beyond the design similarities.

Gambling is more offensive than idea stealing

"I got a bit perturbed when I saw a few YouTube videos [about the skin] because it's definitely linked to some gambly shenanigans," Tholen told Kotaku. "It annoys me that there's a skin thing bearing a close visual resemblance to my game and its name that may encourage folks to gamble."

The skin is available through loot boxes in "PUBG Mobile," and loot boxes have frequently caused an uproar by being linked to gambling. As noted by Kotaku, acquiring this particular set from the loot box could end up being costly, as it requires players to spin an in-game wheel of prizes. Each spin costs in-game currency, which translates to real world money being spent in the hopes of acquiring the "Hypnospace" set.

The mechanic used to get the cosmetic is far more offensive to Tholen than the thought of the design being stolen. He told Kotaku, "In general I'm fine with ideas being taken and developed by others, but this seems to only involve the image and name and none of the actual idea. Also I'd never allow a gambling adjacent game to feature it."

Tholen has reached out to the developers of "PUBG Mobile" in the hopes of getting the name of the cosmetic set changed.