Former IGN Reviewer Responds To Plagiarism Allegations: 'Not At All Intentional' [Updated]

Former IGN editor Filip Miucin, who was fired this week after an investigation into allegations that he had plagiarised a video game review, responded yesterday on his YouTube channel, telling viewers that there were "a lot of circumstances" surrounding the review and that he did not intend to plagiarise from another channel.

UPDATE: The video is no longer on Miucin's channel, however, you can find a reuploaded version here. Original story follows:

"The bottom line is that what happened with the Dead Cells review was not at all intentional", he said. "So, with that said, I just want to apologise to everybody at IGN for all of the undeserved criticisms and doubt that may have been sparked in their credibility as a respected source for games media".

On Tuesday, a small YouTuber named Boomstick Gaming published a video with the title "IGN Copied my Dead Cells Review: What do I do?" In it, he laid out a compelling case that the official IGN review of Dead Cells, written by Miucin, was a rewritten version of his own review, published several days later. On Wednesday, IGN investigated and the outlet fired Miucin that evening.

Miucin had not publicly responded until yesterday's video. In it, he also apologised to Motion Twin, the maker of Dead Cells. He did not apologise to the YouTuber Boomstick Gaming, but he said he has "nothing but the best wishes" for him and offered him advice for the future.

He added that people have been sending nasty messages not just to him but to his family members' social media accounts. The video has not been received well and is currently sitting at around 1700 upvotes and 8300 downvotes.

Miucin also mentioned Kotaku's reporting on the story, naming me specifically. On Wednesday, we learned that before he was hired at IGN, Miucin had put out a video review of FIFA 18 on Switch that was full of striking similarities to a Nintendo Life review published a few days earlier.

"You can keep looking, Kotaku and please let me know if you find anything," Miucin said in yesterday's video. "Which, by the way, their news editor, Jason Schreier, tried to imply that my FIFA 18 review was also inauthentic by claiming that I copied it from Nintendo Life and that's just so not the case.

"Maybe he was implying that if you have similarly opinionated reviews, then you're just plagiarising, or maybe he's just trying to get as many clicks off my name right now as possible, or maybe he just likes kicking people when they're down. I don't know - check it out for yourselves and you be the judge".

Here's one example of what we found:

Nintendo Life:

It actually works well; as long as you aren't a stickler for intricate animation detail, you're going to have fun here. It runs smoother than a greased-up jazz musician too, with a full 60 frames per second in both docked and handheld mode making for a silky performance and the general feel that you're playing a high quality product.

Although its (slightly less silky-smooth) cutscenes and other close-up moments reveal that the character models are a good deal less detailed than their Xbox One and PS4 counterparts, squint a bit during normal gameplay and you'd genuinely struggle to tell the difference.

Miucin:

But when you're playing the game, it actually works really well and it's easy to look past the graphical setbacks. Because whether you're playing docked or undocked, the game seems to run at a consistent 60 frames per second, which looks silky smooth and really leaves you feeling like you're having a true triple-A home console experience but on a console you can take with you on the go.

However, when you get up close and get a good look at some of the character models, it's pretty clear they do have a good amount of less detail than the Xbox One and PS4 versions do, but any imperfections are pretty much unnoticeable during gameplay.

Chris Scullion, the freelance reviewer who reviewed FIFA 18 for Nintendo Life, also chimed in yesterday to respond to Miucin. "I can't believe you're actually suggesting that you didn't plagiarise my FIFA 18 review for Nintendo Life, and claiming that plagiarising the Dead Cells review 'wasn't intentional'," Scullion wrote on Twitter. "You have completely failed to accept and understand what you've done".

Scullion went on to make a video highlighting the many similarities between Miucin's review and his own:

Publicly and privately, IGN employees have been fuming about Miucin's video, with some reaching out to me yesterday to express anger and bafflement at how the former reviewer has handled this situation.

"I haven't seen an apology this poorly received since Kevin Spacey," wrote IGN reviews editor Dan Stapleton on Twitter yesterday, adding in response to another Twitter user: "What can I say? Getting stabbed in the back and lied to doesn't bring out my best qualities."

"Just to be abundantly clear, plagiarism isn't a mistake: it's a choice," wrote IGN PC editor Tom Marks.

IGN has also re-reviewed Dead Cells. To hear more of our thoughts on the matter, check out this week's episode of Kotaku Splitscreen.

Another tipster reached out to Kotaku last night with a third example of a Miucin review that looks very similar to another outlet's work. On 8 September 2017, Engadget posted a review of Metroid: Samus Returns. On 13 September 2017, Miucin posted his own video review of the game.

Here are some comparisons we've transcribed:

Engadget: Samus Returns takes the hero and the franchise back to its roots - from level design that encourages exploration and satisfying enemy encounters to the traditional 2D platforming style that helped birth the term "Metroidvania".

Miucin: Samus Returns takes the legendary hero and franchise back to its roots, with everything from its satisfying enemy encounters and intelligent level design that encourages exploration to the traditional 2D action platforming style that literally helped define an entire genre of video games.

Engadget: Samus needs to plunder the depths of planet SR388 and exterminate the Metroid, but this time players have extra tools to keep the experience from being frustrating.

Miucin: Samus is sent down into the depths of planet SR388 on an extermination mission to eliminate the Metroid threat. However, this time around, players have a few extra power-ups to keep their experience feeling fresh and up to par with the modern standards of gaming we've all quickly grown to love.

Engadget: For veterans of the franchise's more traditional games, it feels like coming home. Samus Returns builds on the tight, exploration platforming of Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission and then adds to it.

Miucin: For fans of the more traditional style games in the series, you'll immediately feel right at home playing Samus Returns, because it shares the same near-perfect formula of exploration platforming with the other entries in the franchise like Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission, but then greatly builds upon it with some really interesting new gameplay mechanics.

Engadget: Samus can still shoot up, down and diagonally, but holding R activates a precision-aiming mode with full range of motion and a targeting laser. There's also a new counter-attack move that can knock back an enemy. Time it just right and it'll throw an attacker off balance and set them up as a perfect target.

Miucin: In terms of combat, Samus can of course still shoot up, down and diagonally, but holding R now activates a precision aiming mode that allows for full range of motion and some extremely precise aiming. There's also a really cool new counter-attack that adds a completely new dynamic to the combat itself.

I've again reached out to Miucin for comment.


Comments

    The dudes a weasel, every part of that original "apology" video was so thought out and acted that it pretty much cements this idea that you can't trust a single word coming out of his mouth.

      He put more original thought into that "apology" than his review.

      But at least the apology video wasn't plagiarised from another disgraced reviewer, right?

        The part where he started apologising for making Nazi jokes and for paying poor people to hold up signs saying "death to all Jews" was very original and heartfelt, I thought.

          This made me snort a little in laughter. Well played.

      Are we sure about him not copying the apology too?
      A lot of you-tubers have made apology videos. We need to find the apology video he referenced! Was it a logan paul apology, a pewdiepie apology, it couldn't be too hard to find!

      Circumstances he copied a single paragraph of a review was a possibility, but to have phrase for phrase video structure and wording of a video is hard to claim circumstantial reasons... but it isn't a surprise it would be many of his earlier reviews/videos... its your "style" your "work process" and its telling of how you got where you are.

        You think this guy is intelligent enough to understand how specific vocal/thought cadence isn't something we all do the same way and thus can't hide behind? lol.

      Turns out his apology video was monetised too, before he took it down. Hoo boy.

    There are enough differences in the FIFA 18 review that you could almost argue it was coincidental. But those excerpts from the Metroid: Samus Returns review are almost word-for-word, leaving no plausible excuses whatsoever.

      When there is more than 1 work, it is no longer coincidental.

      He is just being a douche that he got caught. Playing the victim card.

      Last edited 12/08/18 12:14 pm

      Yeah I was gonna say that...there's enough differences between those FIFA 18 reviews, at least the ones posted here, for me to say that that's a 50/50. It looks like he no doubt did at least use the review as a base for his though.

      That Samus Returns one though, as well as the Dead Cells review that started all this? They are practically word for word in many places. No "circumstances" involved, those look pretty black and white to me.

        I'd say it's been his modus operandi for years. That explains why he's not taking ownership, it's easy to deny and obfuscate when you've spent years rationalising what you're doing as being OK.

        As Costanza said "It's not a lie, if you believe it."

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqfgOlm-w2U

          It could be just that he hasn't been taught creative writing properly. These reviews look like the sorts of papers my students give me, where they rewrite science articles in their own words. Which is fine for science and literature reviews but no good for creative writing.

            It's not fine for science articles, but you are correct that, in my experience at least, it is indeed not that uncommon, particularly at the undergraduate level.

            It appears to me that a certain proportion of university students started summarising papers this way in first year and were never called out on it by university lecturers who either don't read the papers close enough to notice, or simply don't see teaching students how to properly write papers is a part of their job. The students involved later express genuine surprise when someone finally does make an issue out of their plagiarism a couple of years later.

            Interestingly, I once ran a case on behalf of a PhD student who did get called out for the same thing. In formulating her defence she went through her supervisor's published papers and established several similar examples in his work as well. The university had a hard time treating her too harshly after that, however they did still require her to delete and redo from scratch the offending sections.

              Yeah good call. Sorry, to be clear I'm talking high school, so we are often just trying to get kids to try writing things in their own words (year 8/9)

            Well I know I could do alot better on my writing as a whole if i could get some tangible feedback other than what I have done wrong. If it was something abit more constructive by stating things where i could improve or what i should of done in certain situations it would help not doing similar things in other papers.

              Sure, but in this case we're not talking about the difference between good and bad writing, where helpful pointers may be relevant.

              Plagiarism is actually pretty simple. Substituting words and phrases by going through an original with a thesaurus, perhaps swapping a couple of sentences around here and there, does nothing to establish that you know anything about the topic you're writing about or that you put any work at all into understanding it yourself.

              Writing documents one's own thought process, and it's only possible to document your own thought process, and to demonstrate that you actually understand the topic you're writing about, by writing the entire thing from scratch youself. Writing from scratch is like a fingerprint, it's virtually impossible for two separate individuals to end up with the same structure and phrasing even when discussing extremely basic concepts.

              I often hear students justify this kind of plagiarism with "but they say it much better than I ever could". This may or may not be the case, but regardless, is irrelevant to the exercise. If this were the outcome people were looking for we may as well all just submit a photocopy of the original article and be done with it.

                Oh yeah, I was just discussing that one aspect. Plagiarism is so ingrained in study that you're seeing first hand the ramifications of plagiarism.

                  Still wrong though. I knew when i was doing it at uni that it wasn't right.

                  Last edited 14/08/18 9:50 am

      There aren't enough differences at all because he lazily neglected to hide his tracks by rearranging his review statements so they didn't "coincidentally" chain together in the exact order that they were presented in the fifa review.

      It's one thing to say something similar once. It's quite another to say 3-4 things that are sometimes almost word for word in the exact same order as they were presented in the original review.

    Jesus christ this guy is Jessica Price 2.0. How can he be in such denial? There is no question at all about the plagiarism. He did plagiarize, No ifs or buts. Given this non apology video, Im actually glad he wont be working in the industry anymore. I hope no one in video games journalism hires him ever again.

      I'm struggling to see any relationship whatsoever between the two situations myself.

        I was making a comparison in the level of denial of the situation between the two :)

          ill agree on you with this comment as she still refuses to believe she did anything wrong and is still continuing to blame every other person other then her self.

    Jesus christ this guy is Jessica Price 2.0. Haven't seen such a strong non-sequitur since I saw a someone clipping roses with a pair of scissors. Well done.

      That analogy would have made more sense if Jason focused on the abuse Miucin recieved instead of his original act that got him fired in the first place, but I get it.

    Wow, this guy is going to be fucking crucified now, the 'internet' is going to pour over his entire history of content and find all the skeletons, real or imagined. Kotaku won't drop this either, he's fucked.

      I feel like this is getting a very daddyofive vibe. I'm surprised he didn't address Kotaku with " None of this wouldn't of happened if it wasn't for that Kotaku guy'' reporting what they found.

        Just looked up 'DaddyOFive'....shit is fucked up.

      Well at first he just poked the beehive. Now he has put his fist through it and yelled: "STING ME BEES!"

    I call bs on his family being abused. He's playing major victim cardage and was hoping people would jump to his defence going 'no he's right that's too far' etc. He should've owned it and apologised. His career as a gaming journalist is over.

    The fuck sort of juvenile excuse for an excuse is that? You're a grown fucking man, explain yourself better than: "I didn't mean to do the thing everyone's mad at me for". God damn that's shameful.

    Filip Miucin should have put more points into the Speech skill tree.

    and offered him advice for the future.

    Did...ah... someone do a check that his advice was original first?

    Oh man, this stings more than his plagiarism. You got caught, bro. Just confess and move on.

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