Mobile companies are often known to embellish marketing materials to make their games more appealing to prospective audiences. This includes running ads featuring misleading gameplay, hiring influencers to run over-the-top promos, and - in this case - using imagery from other IP entirely.
Yes, as reported by Automaton, a mobile game called Battle Warship: State War.io has been spotted using official Nintendo imagery from its 3DS eShop title, Steel Diver: Sub Wars. It wasn't spotted by your average gamer either, but rather Sub Wars' director and ex-Nintendo veteran Takaya Imamura - awkward!
Roughly translated, the tweet reads:
"What is this! A Nintendo game is used in an advertising video for a different app! And it's a game I directed!"
It looks like Battle Warship: State War.io and Steel Diver: Sub Wars share similar themes and gameplay concepts, with both featuring a heavy focus on naval battles, but it certainly seems rather asinine - not to mention entirely illegal - for the former to utilise imagery from an official Nintendo product without the publisher's express permission. Indeed, we find it highly unlikely that Nintendo would ever grant permission for a third-party entity to use its imagery for a separate IP.
It's also been pointed out that Battle Warship: State War.io has utilised imagery from EA's Battlefield 2042, with footage from the game inserted into a mobile ad, likely without permission from EA itself. Observe:
Now that Steel Diver's imagery has been spotted by Imamura-san, it's likely the offending material will be taken down at some point, if it hasn't already. As for the man himself, he resigned from Nintendo back in 2021 but leaves behind a sterling legacy, including extensive work on iconic characters such as Fox McCloud, Captain Falcon, and Tingle.
What do you make of this whole debacle? Do you think platform holders need to implement stricter policies to prevent this kind of marketing practice? Let us know with a comment!