While Paladins: Champions of the Realm and Overwatch have always been frequently compared to each other, stealing has never been part of the equation. Paladins Strike, the mobile MOBA-like hero shooter iteration of Paladins, has changed that with some art that looks like it was directly lifted from Overwatch. As the gif below shows, the background for the new Lex skin is almost an exact copy of the Lijiang Tower map art from Overwatch.
However, while shady, it’s not as shady as it seems, at least from developer Hi-Rez Studios. Paladins‘ Art Director, who goes by ThunderArtBrush, responded to the matter on Reddit, explained that the art in question was outsourced.
“This art was created by a overseas partner studio for paladins strike [sic] and had not much in the way of oversight in its content creation by anyone internally at Hi-Rez,” stated ThunderArtBrush. “We will be looking into this immediately.”
While outsourcing is not uncommon, it is imperative to comb over imported assets to avoid hassles like this. ThunderArtBrush expressed his disappointed a little further down in the same thread and assured players that Hi-Rez will be better at catching this in the future.
“Having been an asset created for a separate project out of house it can be easy to make some level of assumptions content has gone through the usual safety vetting but this has been a very important lesson learned,” said ThunderArtBrush. “I have hinted at it in prior comments but there is a lot of new content in the pipe in terms of process and creation we have yet to share that will be better “quality controlled” moving forward.”
However, other Paladins Strike comparisons were not addressed. Some users pointed out that a glitch in Paladins Strike allowed players to see backgrounds that look awfully like the art in Blizzard’s other popular game, Heroes of the Storm. Users have speculated that they were probably placeholder assets during the game’s early days, but it is troublesome that they are still accessible, even if through a glitch.
Both mishaps are especially ironic given the frequent comparisons between Paladins: Champions of the Realm and Overwatch. Paladins‘ beta hit a little after Overwatch released in 2016 and the visual similarities attracted enough attention to get a response from Hi-Rez Studios’ Co-founder and COO Todd Harris on Reddit.
Getting inspired by the same games as Overwatch is not an issue but directly cribbing art and not taking out placeholder assets are both avoidable problems. We can only hope that Hi-Rez Studios, and other developers, will be more vigilant in the future.