Yesterday, IGN's Filip Miucin posted written and video reviews for an indie game called Dead Cells. There was just one problem with his take on the game: it doesn't seem like he wrote it. Shortly after Miucin's review went live, YouTuber Boombstick Gaming uploaded a video titled "IGN Copied My Dead Cells Review," and the evidence provided is pretty compelling.
Boomstick's video compares sizable chunks of both videos to show that, in many places, Miucin's wording is almost identical to his own. To a certain degree, some kind of overlap is unavoidable. There's only so many words (like "Metroidvania") you can use to describe a game like Dead Cells, so a level of similarity between reviews is expected. However, the longer you watch, the more similar the two reviews turn out to be. For example, compare these pairs of quotes from the Boomstick and IGN reviews:
"This combat system is fast, fluid, and responsive, and one of the most rewarding representations of 2D combat of the entire genre. " — Boomstick Gaming
"Fights are fast, fluid, and responsive, and hands-down one of the most gratifying representations of video game combat ever experienced." — Filip Miucin
"Dead Cells only falters slightly with some repetition setting in, especially on the earlier areas and during longer play sessions." — Boomstick Gaming
"Dead Cells does falter slightly with some repetition, but it's only felt in its earlier areas and during extended play sessions." — Filip Miucin
Then there are these two quotes, which both begin at 3:07 in their respective videos.
"Dead Cells figures out an intriguing way to have your Rogue-lite and Metroidvania experience all in one by focusing on your failures and urging you to try something new the next time. " — Boomstick Gaming
"Dead Cells strikes a perfect and engaging balance between the Metroidvania and Rogue-lite experiences by focusing on your failures and urging you to experiment each time you do fail." — Filip Miucin
Since Boomstick Gaming's video has started to take off, IGN has removed both the written and video reviews in question. Filip Miucin is still advertising the article on his Twitter account, calling it "the first IGN video review I've edited myself." IGN has issued the following statement:
"Editor's Note: As a group of writers and creators who value our own work and that of others in our field, the editorial staff of IGN takes plagiarism very seriously. In light of concerns that have been raised about our Dead Cells review, we've removed it for the time being and are investigating." — IGN
These are just a few of the examples given in the video above. It's unclear at this time whether or not they will take action beyond removing the review. Filip Miucin was brought on to IGN as a Nintendo Editor last November, and before that he made game-related videos on YouTube.
For what it's worth, Gamnesia has also experienced problems with IGN giving credit where it's due. We were the first website in the world to report that Final Fantasy XV would be delayed (just months after Square Enix held a special livestream to announce its release date), and we received a lot of hate for it in the 72 hours before Square Enix confirmed our report. IGN copied all of our information and used our images (which our sources got for us at great risk), but they initially refused to source us in any way.
We reached out to the writer and were told his higher-ups (no names were given) specifically told him he was not allowed to source us because we were a small site, which is frankly disgusting reasoning. After repeated complaints, IGN eventually sourced us by spelling our name incorrectly. Days later they properly sourced us, but it was far too late for us to get any traffic from their article at that point. I can't help but wonder if that was planned.
If you'd like to check out Boomstick Gaming's full review of Dead Cells, you can do so by clicking here.
Update: On a slightly related note, this entire mess has led IGN's Andrew Goldfarb to clarify what happened with Gamnesia and the Final Fantasy XV article two years ago. After lots of dancing around the question, Goldfarb finally admitted point blank that IGN instructed its writer not to credit us, even though they were fully aware that we were the source. They deliberately used our images and our info and told their readers it came from Kotaku instead, because we were "less familiar."