Mobile game

It’s crazy that such bad mobile game scams are allowed to exist

Oh nice, a new Witcher mobile game? That’s the only thing this cool Geralt artwork (opens in a new tab) I spotted on Reddit this morning might indicate.

The logo says it’s called Rise of the Kings and is apparently available in app stores everywhere. It wasn’t until I scrolled down that I realized I was looking at yet another trashy mobile game that blatantly tears up other people’s works.

The offending artwork clearly took creative liberties with its non-Geralt design, mimicking actual art from The Witcher 3 while using armor from the Netflix series. Dare I say, this swordsman’s face is even supposed to mimic the impeccable Henry Cavill, a slight that PC Gamer can’t live up to (opens in a new tab).

This ad from Gerald of Riverboat apparently promotes a Rise of the Kings update that’s been out for months, but it only recently caught the eye of r/Gaming. The commentators are laughing (opens in a new tab) at the expense of the ad with some quality zingers. “Including everyone’s favorite card game, Qwert!” wrote drawtheblueduck. “His trusty steed, Coach,” 8bit4brains added.

“I think The Witcher ripped this game apart,” Crazescape said.

Mobile scams are so common at this point that it seems better to use our time to just laugh it off rather than complain about it to an internet vacuum. That said, if you allow me to be annoyed by an already well-known problem beyond my control, it is absurd that these scams continue to make money on major app stores.

For how many platforms like Apple’s App Store pride themselves on verifying apps, theft is unfortunately common. This update has been released since March! And Rise of the Kings isn’t a random ad game, either. It has over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone, a stat I pulled from the game’s store page which is currently auto-playing a trailer featuring the fake Geralt.

rise of kings

I would gladly play this moment in a real Witcher game. (Image credit: Onemt)

It would be nice to see these shady games get a long and expensive storefront timeout when they commit theft, but given that Apple and Google automatically pocket up to 30% of everything Rise of the Kings does , there is not a particularly strong motivation.

Maybe the near-Geralt here is something CD Projekt doesn’t think is worth going for, or isn’t close enough to be copyright infringement. If so, is it weird that these kinds of shady mobile games don’t take off the same way on Steam? Valve’s hands-off release rules seem like fertile ground for intellectual property theft (and it certainly does happen), but games that do don’t seem to attract 10 million players over six years. Maybe it’s because most of the time, trashy vapor knockoffs are clearly more of a joke than a business strategy. (opens in a new tab).

We’ve reached out to CDPR for comment and will update if we hear anything back.