Capcom has been sued for allegedly ripping off a copyrighted game character to create Nicoletta Goldstein, the witty craftswoman behind various cybernetic prosthetics and weapons Nero uses to hunt down demons in Devil May Cry 5.
The lawsuit was filed last week in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by Joseph Stallard, chief executive officer at publisher Osgoode Media, who claims that Nicoletta was copied from Maria, one of two female characters in a short game called Target of Desire: Episode 1.
Stallard states that Maria was graphically rendered from a 3D model for Target of Desire: Episode 1 which was released in 2017. She was used publicly in a lot of promotional materials. Her character model and rendered image were both used later on to copyright a graphic novel for the game as well.
Capcom released Devil May Cry 5 in 2019, around a couple of years after Target of Desire: Episode 1. Stallard notes that the facial similarities between Maria and Nicoletta are not a coincidence. He alleges that Capcom came across Maria online and “willfully copied it to create Nico” for Devil May Cry 5.
“Maria and Nico have the same look and feel. They have the same large toothy smile and tilted head,” reads the lawsuit. “They have the same glasses. They both have big hair. They both look to[the] side. They both have hair in their eyes.
“Also, Nico wears a crop top and short shorts. The other main character in [Target of Desire: Episode 1] besides Maria is Maia, and Maia also wears a crop top and a short skirt. That is more evidence that Capcom used Maria for Nico.”
Stallard has requested the court to rule in his favor and have Capcom pay “equitable relief to compensate for the loss of goodwill that cannot be recovered.” That alongside legal fees and costs, and “such other relief as the court deems appropriate.”
The timing of the lawsuit is interesting. It was only last month when Capcom “amicably resolved” a $12 million lawsuit with a photographer for using her copyrighted textures and images in Resident Evil 4 and various other games without permission.