Was Assassin's Creed "inspired" by the 2003 novel Link?

John Beiswenger–author of the novel Link–is suing Ubisoft for stealing story ideas from his book for use in the Assassin’s Creed games.  Mr. Beiswenger’s complaint details his novel’s inclusion of a device that allows the user to relive ancestor’s memories, similar to the Animus device in Assassin’s Creed.  Other elements Mr. Beiswenger claims are ripped from Link include spiritual and religious tones, assassinations, and the reliving of historical moments through ancestor’s memories.

Filed in a Pennsylvania court, Mr. Beiswenger’s complaint seeks $1.05 million in damages and up to $5.25 million if the court rules that Ubisoft knowingly stole from Mr. Beiswenger’s book.  Worst of all, though, the complaint also seeks to halt the release of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III game and any related products.  Link was first published in 2003.

-Nick’s take:  Assassin’s Creed was released in 2007, whereas Link was published in 2003.  Uh oh.  While I haven’t read the novel, a lot of the plot elements in Link sound awfully similar to things in Assassin’s Creed.  It’s entirely possible that people at Ubisoft read Link before developing Assassin’s Creed and took inspiration from it without realizing it.  Ubisoft will need to prove somehow that Assassin’s Creed is different from Link or risk having to delay/change Assassin’s Creed III, though it seems more likely that the two parties (Ubisoft and Mr. Beiswenger) will reach some kind of settlement before that happens.

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