Dr Disrespect‘s AAA game studio Midnight Society recently came under fire after Apex Legends Twitch streamer Inhuman called the company out for allegedly stealing digital artwork from the Cyberpunk 2077 teaser trailer and using it on their website to promote their new NFT game.
Midnight Society reportedly stole art from Cyberpunk 2077
In a 19th March Twitter post, Inhuman said, “The first frame on the [Midnight Society] website for Dr Disrespect’s new NFT game is from the Cyberpunk 2077 teaser trailer” and attached two side-by-side images (see below).
In the one image, we can see a still image from the Cyberpunk trailer at the 1:27 timestamp, and in the other, the same picture is used on the Midnight Society website. Given the irrefutable evidence, internet users quickly slammed the AAA studio for effectively stealing CD Projekt RED’s (CDPR) intellectual property.
“The absolute irony of stealing digital art for an NFT based game,” read the top comment on the Livestream Fails subreddit thread. “That’s not irony; that’s just expected,” replied another user. A third user criticised the Doc, noting that he’s “so f*cking rich” yet couldn’t hire an artist to design an original art piece. “That is so lazy,” they added.
Midnight Society responds to Cyberpunk 2077 theft claims
Following the immense public backlash, the Studio Head at Midnight Society, Robert Bowling, responded to Inhuman’s tweet on 20th March. “This has nothing to do with Cyberpunk. One of our web engineers pushed an optimisation that was meant to change to [a] fallback image for the video on the website and accidentally uploaded the incorrect image,” they confessed.
This was confirmed by a different Midnight Society spokesperson, who told Dexerto that the image “appears to be a placeholder image from early web design days. It was chosen to convey mood. It was supposed to have been swapped out with one of our own.”
“We are fixing that, and at this time, Midnight Society does not have plans to collaborate with CD Projekt Red,” the spokesperson added. Inhuman later tweeted, saying they were “really hoping for some kind of collab [with CDPR]” but were” still excited for the game either way.”
Update on 20th March: The image has been removed from the Midnight Society website
Although Midnight Society has confirmed that the image was a placeholder, it didn’t stop fan speculation of foul play.
“[I] hate when I accidentally upload a frame from the Cyberpunk, which I for some reason have downloaded and [put] in the same folder as another image I was supposed to upload without checking,” said one Twitter user unironically. “Gotta admit there’s some irony by stealing art from someone else for an NFT driven game which most NFTs are stolen art,” said a second user.
We’ll leave it to you to decide whether you believe the sceptics or accept the statement offered by Midnight Society.