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Take a quick look at the character-packed image above. That’s a whole lot of faces, right? And in the 20 years since Sony’s first video games console was released, they’ve all appeared on some PlayStation platform or other. Even if you’re more of an Xbox kid or a PC gamer, you have to admit that’s an impressive lineup, and for older PlayStation fans especially it’s bound conjure up a lot of happy gaming memories.

But in creating this image in honour of 20 years of PlayStation, it would seem that someone over at Sony Europe struggled to source one or two character images that really fit in with their vision. You’d think that being on the inside, an artist working for Sony would have access to a whole host of officially licensed images, but it looks like they decided to turn to the internet for help, using an image of Mega Man as he appears only in Nintendo’s latest edition of Super Smash Bros, and even borrowing a piece of fan art created by a Japanese Pixiv user, who later spotted their work on Sony’s official site. Awkward.

Brought to the global community’s attention by a user of gaming forum NeoGAF, it would seem that Sony, understandably wanting to include arm-cannon-toting Mega Man in their celebratory character lineup, decided to use an image of the famous Blue Bomber taken from a more recent outing. Sadly, that outing happened to be only on competitor Nintendo’s Wii U console as the image they selected shows a character model from chaotic fighter Super Smash Bros for Wii U.

▼ A close-up of Sony’s anniversary image showing Mega Man behind Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud

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▼ The newly rendered Mega Man as he appears in Wii U Smash Bros

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To be fair, Mega Man doesn’t belong to Nintendo; he’s actually the property of multi-platform developer Capcom, and has graced dozens of consoles in some form or other in his 25+ years of service. But it is nevertheless embarrassing that Sony’s celebration of PlayStation games should include an image of the character taken from a competitor’s newly released title, especially when one considers that Mega Man has starred in more than 50 games over the years, dozens of them on Sony’s own consoles.

This isn’t the first time a video game company’s art department has borrowed images from elsewhere, of course. Back in 2008, Mega Man’s parent company, Capcom, itself famously released copies of action adventure game Okami for Nintendo Wii which shipped with box art that clearly featured images taken from entertainment website IGN, watermark and all. Careless though they may be, these things happen, so it’s hard to be too critical of Sony for the misstep, but even so gamers across the globe were quick to comment on the inclusion of the image, joking that the montage’s creator may have just googled a bunch of character names and not really known much about the games themselves.

The inclusion of images belonging to amateur artists in the montage, however, is a slightly more troubling.

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Western gamers may not be as familiar with the character as they are with the likes of Leon S Kennedy and Lara Croft, but the image of green tracksuit jacket-wearing Chie Satonaka used in Sony’s montage, it seems, is actually the work of a Japanese Persona fan going by the name Akou Rousi, who shared this exact image of the character over on Pixiv some three years ago.

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With over 12 million members and billions of page views per day, Japanese art submission site Pixiv is submitted to by up-and-coming creatives the world over, making it one of the best places for people to showcase their work and get noticed. While few artists have a problem with their work being featured or embedded on other sites–indeed, with proper citation many are glad of the free publicity–Pixiv’s terms of use make it explicitly clear that users should not take or insert a featured artist’s work in another product without prior permission.

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It’s understandable, then, that Akou Rousi should be surprised to see their work on a stage as large as Sony’s official PlayStation website. “The overseas official PlayStation 20th anniversary site has slipped in my drawing of Chie Satonaka,” the shocked Pixiv user wrote in a tweet late last night. “What’s that all about?”

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Thankfully, artists like Akou are rarely quite as lawsuit-happy as our corporate friends, and seemed more irked than outraged over the use of the image, later commenting: “Surely there are better images out there?” Even so, if you’re reading this, Sony, you might want to drop the guy a line and send over a free game or something…

Source: Jin