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Why This Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Trailer Has Fans In An Uproar

Bungie released a new promo for the upcoming "Destiny 2" expansion "The Witch Queen," which will arrive in February 2022, but some eagle-eyed fans spotted something strange about the trailer. Some fans claimed that some of the art used in trailer's gritty conspiracy theory style board — which might be a test for "Destiny 2" moving to the silver screen–was not official Bungie art, but instead fan art. The fan art can be seen here, originally posted on Twitter a year ago by artist Mal E. As for if this was a simple mistake on Bungie's part or an intentional usage of fan art without permission, Mal E thinks this was more than likely an accident.

Mal E confirmed to Forbes that Bungie did not contact them to use the fan art. "I don't think it's any foul play at all, 100% some kind of crazy mistake. I'm absolutely not claiming any theft of design, my art is referenced from the illustrated grimoire's section on the Book of Sorrows and the sisters, which is one of my favorites! I just wanted to try my hand at drawing my vision of her face but facing forward," Mal E told Forbes.

While Mal E's Xivu Arath fan art is certainly their own, it is a very faithful recreation of Xivu Arath's design, so it's not too far of a stretch for someone in the marketing department to not realize the image isn't official. As always, fans had very specific thoughts about the incident and didn't hesitate to sound off on Twitter.

Fan reaction to the 'stolen' image

Fans of "Destiny 2" and Bungie seemed to agree almost unanimously that the photo was most likely accidentally included in the trailer. Even the tweet pointing out the use of Mal E's art suggested it was an accident. Over on the DestinyTheGame subreddit, users who discussed the fan art in the trailer seemed to think this was an accident as well.

"It's 100% an unintentional production mistake. I'd wager the trailer team put it in there as a placeholder until the artists handed them an officially approved design for Xivu-Arath and got the clearance to reveal it via that trailer. Something probably got lost or obstructed in the production pipeline and they couldn't get it all together in time, or something was overlooked, so the placeholder was left in. Bungie should absolutely credit and compensate the artist though," u/DredgenStrife wrote.

Other users trusted that while Bungie made a mistake, gamers should be concerned about art theft in general, especially considering that similar situations have happened with other large IPs and companies. One user lamented the fact that other big IPs, like "Star Wars" have taken fan art and used it in canon projects without compensating or crediting the artists. Copyright issues affect the gaming industry, too. Things weren't looking good for "Resident Evil" after a lawsuit alleged that game developers used art without crediting or compensating its artist.  

The lead community manager at Bungie, Cozmo, said on Twitter that the art was used accidentally and that Bungie has received permission from Mal E. and properly credited them since news of the incident broke. It seems like Destiny 2 players were right to not be furious, this time.