Max McGee is a plagiarist and a fool.

He’s a plagiarist because he stole ideas and storylines directly from a popular fantasy series for use in his new RPGMaker game. He’s a fool because he either thought nobody would notice, or that nobody would call him on it.

I want to preface this post by saying that homages, references, and subtle winks are some of my favorite parts of fiction. When an author clearly identifies what influenced him he is at once acknowledging the giant shoulders he’s standing on, and putting a fun little easter egg in his work for his readers to share. We see examples of this in practically every work of modern fiction. You don’t have to spend long exploring The Tommyverse to see just how true that is.

There is a line, though, between a friendly homage and blatant plagiarism. And this fellow Max McGee has crossed it.

For those of you outside the RM community: every RM game contains stolen material. Within the community the use of copyrighted resources (such as sprites, music, or sound effects) is pretty much a given. Drawing pictures and composing music are hard, and people who can do those things well are rare. Plus, that sort of artistry is pretty far removed from the development of RPG mechanics or the crafting of a good narrative, which is what most RPGMakerers are interested in. There is a subtle art to using resources from obscure sources that can’t be immediately identified, but very rarely does anyone actually try to pass off a Crono spritesheet or a Xenogears composition as their own work. When it happens, it’s met with all the scorn and contempt something of that nature deserves.

So when I say “Max McGee’s new RMVX title To Arms! is the most shameless example of plagiarism I have ever seen in the RPGMaker community,” know that I am not referring to his use of music from Final Fantasy Tactics.

Max McGee, formerly known in RM circles as Legion, is a fairly polarizing figure. He believes his authorial vision to be utterly beyond reproach, and this attitude applies both to his writing style and his application of game mechanics. More aptly put, he is very much like me. He and I are alike in that we both felt that our players should approach our games with a very specific mindset, and that any errors or flaws they found were the result of mistakes on their part. We were both very fond of the “you are playing it wrong!” mantra, and if that made you not like our games, well, your loss.

We were so constantly and thoroughly confused as to why our unbelievably brilliant games weren’t more popular than they were.

I like to think I’ve since grown out of that mindset, but Max certainly hasn’t. If you take issue with his game mechanics he will politely and repeatedly inform you of the correct way to play the game. If you take issue with his writing he will drag out his Creative Writing degree as though it were a shield. If you press the issue you’re likely to be debased and insulted.

As a result, many of Max’s works are good games with deep, glaring faults. Again, much like my own.

Since distancing myself from the RM communities I’ve considered Max something of a curiosity. On a bad day I might call him a pretentious hack and have done with it. The RM community is full of pretentiousness and full of hacks… kind of comes with the territory. But Max has something a lot of guys there don’t — genuine talent. The man can tell a story and do it well. Ever since playing Max’s earliest games I’ve felt that if he could just get over himself a little bit he could dramatically improve his output. I would have put him on a short list of people I thought might someday have a real career in game design, once he grew out of his RM phase.

I no longer believe that’s true, now that I’ve caught him plagiarising. Practically everything about Max’s newest game, To Arms! is lifted wholesale from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

First and foremost is the general tone of the work. It’s clear that Martin is one of Max’s biggest influences. He himself admits so in a comment on one of his game pages:

Martin himself was influenced by a boatload of writers (as was Stover); it’s just kind of how this whole creating thing works. I was not as forthcoming about my influences as I was on Wanderer when I noticed that wearing my inspiration on my sleeve kind of increased the “lol ripoff” effect rather than defusing it as I originally intended.

The game does not take place in an alternate Westeros, it in fact takes place in an alternate Bravia (my D&D campaign setting, not that there was any reason you’d know that, which in turn borrows more from Dwarf Fortress than from Martin) but I can see how you would think that. I’ve taken my naming conventions straight from Song of Ice and Fire and I’m aping his writing style a bit but I’m not sure what you mean about “terminology”. Martin talks a lot about the Vanguard and Foot vs. Horse but these are hardly his inventions; they are real components of medieval European military tactics, as are the royal houses, etc. Likewise the low fantasy milieu which To Arms! embraces is not an invention of George R.R. Martin’s.

It’s true that many of the ideas and concepts Martin uses in A Song of Ice and Fire are drawn from historical concepts and the great Well of Fantasy Tropes. Having played through Max’s game, though, I am quite certain that the entirety of his understanding of mideival tactics, royal houses and other such “low fantasy milieu” come directly from Martin’s work, rather than independent research. This is not how “this writing thing” works! Martin was absolutely influenced by a great many writers, but he did not steal storylines from them. And when he crafted his world, he did it in such a way that it absolutely had its own flavor. There are many fantasy settings out there that have their roots from historical records, depicting feudalism and royal politicking and describing military affairs.

To Arms!, sadly, isn’t one of them; its roots are firmly in Ice and Fire specifically. In Max’s world the dead are tended to by holy sisters. The title denoting a knight is “ser”, rather than “sir”. Mercenaries are known as “sellswords”. And so on.

The most blatant example of theft are the character names. There are more characters in To Arms! with names stolen directly from Martin’s books than aren’t, beginning with the protagonist:

Janos isn’t exactly a common name, but neither is it exclusive to Ice and Fire. In the books Janos Slynt was a major enough character that Max could not have used the name without conscious knowledge… but a minor enough character that its use as an homage would have been appropriate. It would have been similar to the Final Fantasy series’s use of the names Biggs and Wedge. However…

…Grenn, Kevan and Gregor all fit the same description as Janos. These are names lifted directly from the book and put into the game. Four instances already, and we’re still in the game’s intro scene.

It should be noted that Gregor is a generic recruit, assigned a name pulled from a random list. Out of the forty-ish names on the random list, twenty-one came directly from Ice and Fire. Not even the spelling had been changed. They are: Chett, Cortnay, Dunsen, Eddard, Harlen, Hobb, Jon, Ygritte, Tysha, Tansy, Shae, Palla, Obella, Nymeria, Margaery, Myrcella, Lyanna, Jayne, Genna, Daena, and Catelyn.

One of the things Martin does quite frequently in his work is to take a somewhat common-sounding name and change the spelling and/or pronunciation slightly. Just enough to make it exotic looking without looking completely made up. The various regions of Martin’s world, and the families and houses therein, each have their own pool of naming conventions which fans of the series can recognize and get a sense for. This is something a lot of fantasy works do; note that Ice and Fire’s made-up names look and feel consistently different than made-up names from Dragonlance, or Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.

Using these names is neither paying homage to Martin’s work, nor is it the application of any kind of knowledge or imagination. And it doesn’t stop there:

Aemon, Osmund and Tommen are, again, all stolen. As are various objects and game concepts:

Longclaw, of course, is Jon Snow’s blade from Ice and Fire.

“Snarks and grumkins” is used in the Ice and Fire books as we might use the word “bogeyman”. Martin didn’t invent the term grumkin, and Max at least added a letter to it, but I know of no other fantasy world that uses the term outside of Ice and Fire. I’m betting Max doesn’t either.

Again, “milk of the poppy” wasn’t invented by Martin, but his is the only world where it is used in this context; a medicine given to the sick to alleviate pain, and to the well to aid in sleep.

Kryllor, the Burning Lord, is a deity in the world of To Arms!. This may be an original invention of Max’s, or it may be a generic fantasy adaptation… but my money is that it’s just a slight recolor of Ice and Fire‘s R’hllor, Lord of Light and God of Flame and Shadow.

So, yes, Max stole a lot of names from some books he read. That would be enough to comment on, but he’s not done. Right now you can only play the beginning of To Arms!; only Episode One is available. All of these examples come from about one hour of gameplay. There’s not much actual plot to be had in this one episode, but I’m sad to report that, like the endless list of names, what is here was blatantly ripped off.

Janos and his men are sent by their lord to accomplish some errand. On their return…

…they learn that the lord has been killed in a hunting accident. His wife, who bears no love for him, poisoned his wine, you see. The story fed to the smallfolk (itself a term used extensively by Martin, though not coined by him) was that he was gored to death by a wild boar.

In Ice and Fire, this is exactly the scenario between Queen Cersei and King Robert. Cersei does not love her husband, and so arranges for his wine to be strengthened, so he would be killed by a boar while hunting.

This is a major plot element. In To Arms!, like Ice and Fire, this scenario is the lynchpin for the entire plot. It is the genesis of the rest of the story. If either Eddard Stark or Janos Blackthorne had been able to prevent the woman from tampering with the wine before her husband’s hunting trip, the story would have had a much earlier and much happier ending. And what does the wife have to say about the whole thing?

Cersei gives this same speec in Ice and Fire. Duke Mandon, like King Robert, is a fat, hedonistic lout who keeps whores and takes his wife by force. So not only is Bethany’s method identical to Cersei’s, but her motive is as well.

Then we have poor Kevan, Bethany’s cousin, who was charged with protecting the duke’s life with his own. Unable to do so, he is now disgraced and utterly consumed with his own lost honor. This is simply the plight of Ice and Fire‘s Jaime Lannister, turned around and transplanted. Jaime killed his king willingly, and for his own reasons, and is thus doomed to forever have “shit for honor”.

Kevan’s character is the most interesting, to me, because as presented in To Arms! I would have instantly recognized his plight parallel to Jaime’s, though not identical. If Kevan had been the only instance of borrowing from Martin, I would have been able to nod and forgive it. To contrast the two characters, though:

  • Kevan is Bethany’s cousin; Jaime is Cersei’s twin brother.
  • Kevan and Jaime are both in charge of their lord’s personal protection.
  • Kevan was not complicit in Mandon’s death; Jaime was not complicit in Robert’s.
  • Neither Kevan nor Jaime much cared for their lords, but both disapprove of the method in which they were dispatched.
  • Both Kevan and Jaime would have openly opposed their lords, had Bethany/Cersei asked them to.
  • The loss of Kevan’s honor is undeserved. Jaime’s was deserved, though he gave it up because the alternative would have been reprehensible.
  • Kevan immediately turns against Bethany; Jaime only disavows Cersei after both distance and time separate them.
  • The concept of regaining lost honor is central to Jaime’s character, and that seems to be where Kevan is headed as well.

And finally:

The house Kevan and Bethany belong to, House Morrigen, is the richest house in the land… much like Jaime and Cersei’s House Lannister is in Ice and Fire. This makes them the most powerful house in the land in all but title — which both Bethany and Cersei deal with by killing their husbands and putting their son immediately in the high seat. All we need is evidence that Kevan and Bethany were lovers and we’ll pretty much have the complete package.

Phew, this is a long post. The question now is… why do I care?

The truth is, I thought Max McGee had more artistic integrity than this, and I’m disappointed he doesn’t. I’ve never liked his work, as I’ve never liked Max himself, but I’ve always respected it in the sense that it was very much his work. In the world of video game development you can make up for a lot of even critical design flaws with a few fresh, original ideas. This is why games like Ico, Psychonauts and Little Big Planet are all well thought of despite severe gameplay issues.

Artistic vision is a very powerful thing, as every artist knows. To get a concept in your head, to see it forming, and to want to defend it from all outside forces, even if those forces are pure, is a sensation I’m very familiar with. I’ve read the pages and pages and pages Max has written in defense of To Arms!‘s crippled gameplay. I didn’t agree with him. Hell, I even trolled him a little. But I understood him. I looked at his tirades and I thought, yeah, that’s the kind of thing I was telling people back in 2004 when KC(A) was being poorly received.

KC(A), though, was the culmination of my own original ideas. I drew heavily from many sources, yes. I patterned my writing style after many authors I admired, including George R. R. Martin. There is terminology in KC(A) that I grabbed, unaltered, from D&D books and sci-fi movies. If I’d gotten far enough in it to start introducing knights and paladins, you would have seen me use “ser”. These things stood alongside what I did invent, though. Each was used with its own twist. I stole the term “cipher” directly from Planescape — but KC(A)’s ciphers and Planescape’s ciphers are entirely different.

And that’s what bugs me. I defended my game because I felt like a critique of it was a direct attack on my original ideas and concepts. To Arms! doesn’t have any original ideas or concepts. What, then, is Max defending?

More to the point, though: I know Max McGee has long-term goals of being a for-real game designer someday. A well-made RPGMaker game in your portfolio is a good thing, and I don’t want Max to be able to use To Arms! in that capacity. Absolutely everything in this game is stolen, and I want to make sure a document exists that makes that fact known. That an artist would steal another’s work and try to pass it off as mere “influence” or “homage” is reprehensible to me. I cannot abide it. My big regret here is that I don’t have a solid bead on Max’s real name, or I’d include it here so future potential investors or employers could find it.

My advice for Max: make a public apology for trying to claim the characters and story of To Arms! as original work. Then, rewrite it completely so that the work is original and the homages and references are used appropriately. Own up to your mistake, fix it, and move on.

To everyone else: thank you for reading.

54 comments to Max McGee is a plagiarist and a fool.

  • Karsuman

    I have never read A Song of Ice and Fire (I have been told that I should since many have said that some of my stories are reminiscent of it), but I must say that I was surprised to find out how similar this game’s plot is. And the names. I mean it would have been acceptable had their been one or two similar names, but pretty much every one? Jesus.

    This is not the only Legion game to be ‘inspired’ by other subject matter though.

    Iron Gaia, for example, lifts a lot of plot points from System Shock – including, but not limited to: sentient space stations with AI that went nutso, people being transported in cryopods, a plan of ascension into godhood, etc.

    I doubt it was as egregious as this occurence here (I am not sure I would call it straight up plagiarism, either), but it is perhaps uncomfortably familiar.

  • Max should stick to making fun mario levels (The slope one mind you)

    As someone who has hundreds of unfinished projects I know how hard it is to come up with original material. This is actually a very familiar problem for me. There have been a bunch of projects where I had to stop halfway through because I was basically rewriting other games/stories. It’s not intentional but it happens. I do think a creative person should take note of that however and if necessary go back to square one and try again. releasing something and claiming the story and characters are your own original creation when they are very clearly not is pretty much unforgivable in my book. It’s not as if I were planning on playing To Arms! But I’m sure as hell not going to now. Might pick up A Song of Ice and Fire though. Sounds interesting. So I guess I owe Max something for that at least.

  • Harmonic

    Good catch, BR. I respect your reason for posting this article. Unfortunately, the commercial RM market has already had its share of egregious user agreement and copyright violations without a hint of real consequences. In reality, Max could easily get away with this (perhaps even including the ripped off Fire Emblem faces) without a worry in the world, in the commercial RM world. …Probably because it is such a small niche market that it will eternally remain under the radar. Even so, I very much support this article in its entirety.

  • Strange

    Wow. And to think he wanted To Arms to go commercial…

  • Ossobucco

    Max’s real name is listed as Devon Oratz in the game’s readme and on his web site. Or do you know this to be a pseudonym?

  • emirpoen

    I’m pretty sure that is his real name. I know I’ve seen it mentioned in his earlier works as well, probably even as far back as Iron Gaia. If it isn’t, then I’d have to say that Max is way more clever (and possibly paranoid or devious as well?) than anyone realized.

    As for the small niche market point made by harmonic, I find myself somewhat agreeing with it, though I also think it has to do with people not bringing it to the attention of the owner’s of the original work(s).

    Thank you Brickroad, for bringing attention to this.

    (Looks like I should really read the “A song of fire and ice” series; in order that is.)

  • 4StarMisao

    i am glad you can put this much energy into trolling legion, and yet can’t produce a game that can exceed over 200 downloads. grats bro, you’re a super star.

    • Brickroad

      Thanks! My mom sure thinks so.

    • Ossobucco

      At the time I am writing this, Kinetic Cipher is holding 222 downloads to To Arms!’s 221. Not that this indicates anything significant (KC has been out much longer and is/was available from other sources), I just thought it was funny that they were so close.

  • Wow, that’s sad…and very disappointing. We all have influences, but if all this is accurate (and I doubt it would have been posted if it wasn’t), this has gone way beyond that. I haven’t read those books, but I know they have a huge fanbase and I’m perplexed that Max/Legion thought it would go unnoticed. Even though I find all the post-review meltdowns just as frustrating as anyone else, I always did kinda root for him to churn out another project that would get the same clout as Iron Gaia. But this ain’t cool, and it’s not redeemed by a large download count.

    • Anonymous

      The problem a simple google search are asking anyone who plays FF Tactics will show that a lot of this is outright wrong, while parts are true. In short its a bunch of overinflated “facts” about similarities in names, and styles..Nothing more nothing less.

  • kentona

    See, the trick is to plagiarize from DOZENS of different sources! That way people will recognize some of the works but chances are they will not recognize ALL of them, and then no one will call you out!

    …erm… I mean..

    I would never do that.

    On a more serious note: Nearly all RM games have SOMETHING lifted wholesale from other works (be it a fantasy novel or commercial RPG). Spells, items, characters – even plot ideas. I think we are just taking this latest instance of this a little too far, based not on the work of To Arms! itself, but on Max’s ambitions for it.

  • I feel the same way as Volrath. Max has come a long way keeping his ego in check (compared to how he used to be) and has come down to a level that a great number of people are on (including Ricky at one time): stout defense of stylistic choices. Because I’m one of those people that sometimes kinda prefers story over gameplay (or rather can forgive some poor or boring gameplay in lieu of a good story), I find myself wanting to see what new stuff Max comes up with, as writing is supposed to be his bread and butter.

    But I didn’t expect this. It’s surprising this didn’t come up until now, given how popular ASOIAF is. I am a big fan of the series, and let me tell you that specific plot point in question (not much of a question really) was glaringly obvious and immediately recognizable. In a post on RMN I had also laid out a very similar difference between “homage” and “rip-off,” right and wrong, and acknowledged that this line was crossed.

    Like Karsu, I have reservations about calling it plagiarism directly. It IS plagiarism, but the mere addition of a label that says “this is a fangame” tends to make it acceptable in the community. If Max would have done that in the first place, I doubt this article would have existed.

  • Billy Bob

    So is the whole conversation moving over here?

  • GameOverGames Productions

    The label “fangame” tends to carry a negative connotation in this community though, so I can see why someone would try to pass it off as not being one.

    I feel that it’s notable that if this game was exactly the same, and was presented exactly the same, but was not Max McGee’s, there would not be near as much drama over it. Probably even if someone noticed how much was taken from the books.
    Probably would be pretty devoid of comments and reviews too.

  • To me, all of this just says that you people care far too much about Max… and in a negative way. None of this makes his game bad. And that plagiarism wouldn’t get nearly as much attention if done by someone else. I’m one of those people who are very obnoxious about demanding creativity and originaly from amateur games, but I’m used to browse through games of which 90% are pure copy-paste and showing lack of the slightest imaginative effort. That’s how it is. Seeing a game with names and story directly copied from a book wouldn’t surprise me at all. But “hey, it’s Max McGeeeeeeeee”. Good job on the ego-feeding.

  • Yes, Calunio and GOG are right. The only reason this is such a big deal is because it’s Max McGee. That’s the point. “Inspiration” (rip-off) is common in the community to provide a basis for making a game. The difference is, that unless you have a creative writing degree, then, like Brick said earlier, his “authorial vision” is “utterly beyond reproach.”

    You’re thinking that this is way too big a deal to call someone out for doing something that any other person in the community would do. And you’d be right. Who it really matters to is Max. He feeds on his audience that trusts in the words he writes. Look at F-G’s review of To Arms! in terms of story and dialogue. It’s absolutely glowing, he loved every line written. Words befitting a professional, and F-G was none the wiser that half of this praise belongs to someone else.

    The only person that cares about being thrown in with the rest of rip-off RPG makers is Max McGee.

  • Max McGee

    Grow up people. I didnt plagerize shit.

  • Ciel

    your reply to mounds of irrefutable evidence is ‘no ur wrong’? ok.

    unfortunate that not even your incredible creative writing degree allows you to spell plagiarize correctly, let alone produce an original work. what are americas community colleges coming to!

  • silver4donuts

    Although I am not well-known friends with Mr. Max Mcgee, I have heard about his work on such sites like RMN, and RRR before…and I do find reading this a bit hard to believe, but wow…the argument here is quite strong towards “To Arms!” being possibly involved with the use of “Plagiarism.”

    I know my response won’t do much for this situation, but I believe Max Mcgee — even if a lot of the evidence that supports multiple usages of “Plagiarism” in his game may be true — we shouldn’t put Max on trail here considering that all of us can commit to using some form of “Plagiarism” in our lives and games in the past — so, I find it a bit wrong to judge somebody based on all this for one game! Max has made a lot of games that involve a great deal of creativity; this is probably just a conscience that so much of the material is the same as with the book. Things like that can happen all the time with some people… Why, I remember one of my upcoming projects to be almost similar with someone elses’, but doesn’t mean I plagiarised him! It was just a funny conscience that it happened to be true…

    I believe Max did no wrong. He simply wanted to make a game, tell a story, for everyone on the sites to enjoy and have fun with. I don’t believe he did it just to “Steal ideas and head towards the top of the mountain.” I believe he just happened to run into one of these everyday consciences…

    Max! Don’t worry about this stuff. You just do what your heart tells you to do, and have fun with your projects! I know I am, and I believe you didn’t mean to steal anything.

    You guys can judge for yourself. I’m not saying to believe me, or in Max, but to just keep a positive outlook towards the subject.

    …Max Mcgee! You owe me a drink, buddy! 😀

  • Darken

    I’m pretty sure that the Max in this comment box is a fake, just throwing it out there…

  • Darken

    Also s4d what the fuck are you talking about…

  • I highly doubt that was actually Max. But maybe it’s just a “conscience.”

  • what

    wow you guys are raging about this, huh. here is a hint, this is rpg maker nobody actually cares about it.

  • hey, nice game review, i think i will try this game, looks cool.

  • You know, I can pretty much own up to this. I think at this point that is the best thing I can do. But I do object to the use of the word plagiarism.

    I took a lot of flavor, approximately two intact characters, and a handful of plot points from A Song of Ice and Fire. I don’t think this was plagiarism and I do not think it was a secret. I acknowledged it several times in writing in game literature. I am not really sure how to respond. Yes, I have ALWAYS been heavily and obviously inspired by the ideas of others. So, I think, has every other creator. The same is true of George R.R. Martin and pretty much everyone you can point to. There is no such thing as a 100% original idea. What would have brought it closer to plagiarism is if I never mentioned ASoIaF in connection at all.

    For what its worth, Iron Gaia stole things from a boat load of places and was initially inspired by the opening cutscene of Xenogears (a game I never even got close to finishing) but insane AIs and sleeper ships are the bread and butter tropes of science fiction as a whole. One reason I think that Iron Gaia is fairly original is that there is absolutely no consistency with what it is accused of ripping off–everything from System Shock (which I hadn’t played when I made it) to

    Backstage “plagiarized” from the Silent Hill series even more. Almost every worthwhile thing I’ve made is clearly inspired by the ideas of others–as one of my favorite authors says, you could “make a parlor game of guessing what I stole from where”. The only thing I object to is the use of the word “plagiarism”–because this is something that every single creator does. On top of the conscious borrowing, it is something the human MIND does subconsciously, and many times ideas that are “yours” are really just the resurfacing of thoughts propagated by others that your mind has already digested.

    It is worth mentioning that I am MUCH LESS RIGOROUS ABOUT ORIGINALITY in my implicitly not-for-profit-video-game-design than I am with my writing. I am even MORE willing to steal whatever I can get my grubby little paws on–characters, story arcs, scenes, etc.–when I am GMing a tabletop RPG. Video game making falls somewhere in between. But even in terms of my writing I admit what I said–there is no such thing as a 100% original idea.

    Also I would not misspell “Plagiarize” or restrict myself to one sentence: the above commenter is obviously not me.

  • [quote]It’s true that many of the ideas and concepts Martin uses in A Song of Ice and Fire are drawn from historical concepts and the great Well of Fantasy Tropes. Having played through Max’s game, though, I am quite certain that the entirety of his understanding of mideival tactics, royal houses and other such “low fantasy milieu” come directly from Martin’s work, rather than independent research. This is not how “this writing thing” works! Martin was absolutely influenced by a great many writers, but he did not steal storylines from them. And when he crafted his world, he did it in such a way that it absolutely had its own flavor. There are many fantasy settings out there that have their roots from historical records, depicting feudalism and royal politicking and describing military affairs.

    To Arms!, sadly, isn’t one of them; its roots are firmly in Ice and Fire specifically. In Max’s world the dead are tended to by holy sisters. The title denoting a knight is “ser”, rather than “sir”. Mercenaries are known as “sellswords”. And so on.[/quote]

    Were I feeling petty, ser, I could elucidate on just how few of the tropes and terms you have mentioned were in fact invented by Martin.

    • nunya

      I am feeling petty and a mite ticked. Just to say that while I have read the first book of the series, I couldn’t get into it and gave up. I prefer other fantasy novels to Martin’s works.

      ‘Ser’ is not native to George RR Martin’s works. Nor is the word ‘sellsword’. Both have been used in and out of fantasy many times before. Ser is how the word was used in ye Olde English. In the real world.
      The ‘milk of the poppy’ is also used in other fantasy books as an alleviate of pain. It’s opium. Also used in the real world and many other fantasy novels.

      Granted, the storyline or parts of it were probably, not ‘lifted’, but a major inspiration to this game. Perhaps a little more effort could have been made to differentiate it a bit. Still, even then it gives you no cause to call him out for blatant copying. Or are you above such copying yourself?

  • I think that the venom with which your original article was written originates from exactly this place: you and I obviously would not agree about the limits of “homage”. Many of my borrowing of terms and names was transparent, obvious, and intentional. You have not discovered some great conspiracy here.

    “Again, “milk of the poppy” wasn’t invented by Martin, but his is the only world where it is used in this context; a medicine given to the sick to alleviate pain, and to the well to aid in sleep.”

    It’s opium, champ.

    “It should be noted that Gregor is a generic recruit, assigned a name pulled from a random list. Out of the forty-ish names on the random list, twenty-one came directly from Ice and Fire. Not even the spelling had been changed. They are: Chett, Cortnay, Dunsen, Eddard, Harlen, Hobb, Jon, Ygritte, Tysha, Tansy, Shae, Palla, Obella, Nymeria, Margaery, Myrcella, Lyanna, Jayne, Genna, Daena, and Catelyn.”

    Yes, I literally assembled the list of random recruit names by looking at a wikipedia page called something like “List of Minor Characters In “A Song of Ice and Fire””. It SAYS THIS on my game page. Where is the SECRET here?

    “Kryllor, the Burning Lord, is a deity in the world of To Arms!. This may be an original invention of Max’s, or it may be a generic fantasy adaptation… but my money is that it’s just a slight recolor of Ice and Fire’s R’hllor, Lord of Light and God of Flame and Shadow.”

    It is actually a straight lift of Khryll, the god of war from the Acts of Caine series.


    “Bethany/Cersei, Mandon/Robert, and Kevan/Jaime”

    I am not sure what an appropriate response would be. I do, if that was your aim, feel somewhat ashamed. YES I WAS OBVIOUSLY AND GLARINGLY INSPIRED BY ONE OF THE MAJOR PLOT POINTS OF A GAME OF THRONES.

    But I do not think this is really an incredible crime or sin here. I think all of the tropes that these characters and their relationships are built upon are somewhat universal. Bethany as a vile backstabbing bitch is a character that has been bouncing around my work for literally over a decade–from Martin I take only the idea of a sympathetic motive. Mandon could be called Robert but he is just as much Eddard or my own invention or the character of J.B. Hickock as portrayed in my favorite television show, H.B.O.’s Deadwood. He is the “lord”, charismatic but not PERFECT, who to incite the story MUST die, and who must then be replaced and/or avenged! This stuff goes back to the hero’s journey and is a common dramatic trope!

    Finally, Kevan…who could be seen, if you are intent on seeing it this way, as a conflation of Tyrion and Jaime and who could I be to argue with you? But Kevan is most importantly a scapegoat and serves a purpose in To Arms! that I think has no direct analogue in ASoIaF although of course I could be wrong. (Janos and Grenn and Horace IMMEDIATELY blame Kevan for the death of Mandon because of the innate sexism that acts as blinders for them. It is inconceivable to them that BETHANY could be herself a motivating force. She cannot be anything more than a puppet of a MAN, acting for his ends.) Additionally, when we talk about Kevan regaining his honor, that is such a common dramatic trope that it had not occurred to me as a similarity to a George R.R. Martin character at all. In fact I was thinking of the character of Cogliostro from the late 90s/early 2000s HBO Spawn Animated Series, whose soul is so thoroughly stained that his sole purpose for living is that he “cannot die until [he] gets [his] honor back”.

    My point is…yes…obviously this is an important issue, first off. Unlike all the other names and terms (“sellsword” is a common-as-dirt euphemism for mercenaries throughout the fantasy genre, and “Ser” is a common fantasisization of “sir” that may not even have originated with Martin and was certainly used by others, and as for “Longclaw”, that was an obvious and intentional homage–I could certainly have come up with another name for a sword HAD I WANTED TO) which are obvious and transparent homage, yes this is a significant plot point that bares a significant and not coincidental resemblance to one from A Game of Thrones. Furthermore, I was much less transparent about this…obviously. How could I explain the borrowed plot point without it being a DOUBLE spoiler?

    Part of the imitation was conscious, and part of it was unconscious. All of it was, I thought, well within the innately symbiotic (parasitic?) nature of creativity, and all of it drawn from what seemed to me like common, nascent dramatic tropes. My intent, certainly, was not to “plagiarize” and while I will freely admit to having borrowed ideas (who hasn’t?) obviously I am hurt and dismayed by the title of the article. I do regret skirting the line too closely–something that, even in my own mind, I have done–and…

    As for the future of To Arms! (should it have one) the best that I can say is that every intention is to have the story resemble A Song of Ice and Fire less and less as it progresses, and not more and more, even if they share a strikingly similar inciting event.

  • I can’t forgive bad guys like this guy. I wish that there was more justice in the world.

  • King Arthur

    I cannot help but giggle when I think that this ridiculously hilarious piece of internet drama is being escalated unnecessarily by the parties involved for more drama. Keep it up, this is comedy gold.

    And yes, I realize I sound like a complete asshole saying this.

  • Lol

    You guys should go fight Dragon Age while you’re on your crusade for twice the lulz.

  • Kerry

    Seriously, owned. This guy ripped every damn thing from the series

  • Edward

    he also coppies names from rangers apprentice (horace, etc) and the dragon age series. Morrigan(spelt morrigen… ohh fancy) and bethany, a main character in dragon age 2

  • what

    plagiarism is not stealing,

    Read up. And I guess I suppose that people have a hard time trying to find something original. I know there’s bad plagiarism, who don’t admit to stealing from some book, game or movie.

    Brett Keane, you can search him and it had four or so different results of him being more then just stealing, he even wrote his own reviews of his books saying they are the best.

  • what

    I’m not going to Max’ rpg maker profile and send him threats or anything.

  • Liberty

    Oh my God! Someone was inspired by something?! Say it ain’t so! Am I so glad I never finished that Harry Potter fangame I started at one point when people like you are out here, trolling away.

    Here’s a little thought: Every person who uses a game making program is doing so because they saw something they wanted to replicate. Every damn one of us. Whether it be a Final Fantasy fangame, an ode to the games of old, using systems like in popular commercial games or even a book that we enjoyed. Get off your high horse and get over it. Idiot.

  • Deckiller

    What Liberty said.

  • XRumerTest

    Hello. And Bye.

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