IGN Pulls Review After Plagiarism Accusations [Update: Writer No Longer Working With IGN]

Screenshot: Dead Cells

The gaming site IGN has removed a review for the game Dead Cells after allegations surfaced yesterday that the review’s writer had plagiarised from a small YouTube channel.

UPDATE (9:27AM AEST): IGN is no longer working with Miucin, writing in a statement that it plans to re-review Dead Cells. “We apologize to our readers, developer Motion Twin, and most especially the YouTuber known under Boomstick Gaming for failing to uphold those standards,” the outlet said.

Original story follows, along with a second update below this piece illustrating a second discovered example of Miucin’s apparent plagiarism.

“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,” reads a note now in place of the review, which was written by IGN Nintendo editor Filip Miucin.

“In light of concerns that have been raised about our Dead Cells review, we’ve removed it for the time being and are investigating.”

Yesterday, a YouTube channel called Boomstick Gaming posted a video titled “IGN Copied my Dead Cells Review: What do I do?” In it, the video’s maker plays a sequence of clips from his own review of the roguelike action platformer and compares them to IGN’s video review, revealing a number of phrases that are strikingly similar.

“This combat system is fast, fluid, responsive, and one of the most rewarding representations of 2D combat of the entire genre,” reads Boomstick Gaming’s video, which was published on July 24.

“Fights are fast, fluid, responsive, and hands down one of the most gratifying representations of video game combat I’ve ever experienced,” reads Miucin in IGN’s video, which was published on August 7. The written review includes the same text.

Some other examples:

Boomstick Gaming: In most games of this genre, your coolest skills and spells are often set to strictly long recharge timers or a limited mana system, but in Dead Cells, your abilities have incredibly quick recharges and allow you to seamlessly integrate these gadgets in normal encounters and it doesn’t make you feel penalised for using your cool stuff.

Filip Miucin: Most games limit your most useful skills with long cool-down timers or a limited mana system, but Dead Cells encourages you to use your deadliest gadgets with a fast recharge timer. It never punishes you for using your best tactics.

Boomstick: Dead Cells only falters slightly with some repetition setting in, especially on the early areas and during longer play sessions.

Miucin: Dead Cells does falter slightly with some repetition but it’s only felt in its earlier areas and during extended play sessions.

Boomstick: Dead Cells figures out an intriguing way to have your rogue-like and Metroidvania experience all in one by focusing on your failures and encouraging you to try something new the next time.

Miucin: Dead Cells strikes a perfect and engaging balance between the Metroidvania and rogue-like experiences by focusing on your failures and urging you to experiment every time you do fail.

Boomstick Gaming’s video went viral yesterday, skyrocketing to the top of Reddit and other forums. The similarities between the two reviews were too numerous to be coincidental, and many observers saw the incident as a massive outlet taking advantage of a smaller one. (Before this, Boomstick Gaming had around 11,000 subscribers on YouTube. IGN has over 10 million.)

“No hate man but I wish I was cited, collaborated with, and or compensated in some way for the healthy views your site saw on your Dead Cells review,” Boomstick Gaming wrote to Miucin on Twitter last night.

Miucin has not yet commented publicly, and did not immediately respond to Kotaku’s request for comment. IGN also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE 2 (9:59AM AEST): Earlier this morning, a tipster pointed Kotaku to another example of striking similarities between Miucin’s work and another outlet’s, this time from before he was hired at IGN.

Here’s an excerpt from a NintendoLife review of FIFA 18 for Switch posted on 29 September 2017:

However, because it’s not running on the Frostbite engine, FIFA 18 on Switch doesn’t play exactly like the other current-gen versions. The pace is slightly faster and player animations and physics aren’t quite as fluid, lending the game an ever-so-slightly more arcade feel (but not to any major degree).

And an excerpt from a video review from Miucin posted on 1 October 2017:

Only this time, it’s running on a custom engine that EA designed specifically for Switch, which means that it doesn’t play exactly like the Xbox One and PS4 editions of the game do. The animations and physics are definitely not as fluid and the pacing feels slightly faster, ultimately leaving the game feeling a little less realistic and slightly more arcadey.

NintendoLife:

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.


Comments

    IGN are so lazy with reviews that this doesn't really surprise me.

    Last edited 08/08/18 7:12 am

    It's reworded but there are far too many similar things for it to be a coincidence. Watched the full video yesterday and it's pretty clear the guy had the video open and took notes.

    A nice resolution to this would be if IGN offered Boomstick Gaming a freelance wage for the video and use his review instead.

    *edit to fix names

    Last edited 08/08/18 9:27 am

      I think you're confusing who's who.

        My mistake, trying to scroll up on my phone while typing, means I only see a few lines at a time.

      wrong person, Miucin is IGN's employed plagiarist

    Some young naive student who thought plagiarism in the professional world will not get caught....

    “IGN Copied my Dead Cells Review: What do I do?”

    Here's an idea contact IGN first. It only took me two minutes to find the email contact for something like this. And if you didnt get satisfaction then make a public youtube video about it. But hey who needs to do something professional when you can just make waves in public.

      He had every right to make it public on Youtube. Better it be made public than let IGN sweep it under the carpet.

        True, but he could have potentially leveraged the position into a writing / reviewing gig with IGN. Now he's just gone and publicly embarrassed them.

        Sure, well within his rights, but not necessarily the smart play.

          Possibly. I think he handled it pretty well and with respect. I don’t think it would have helped his job prospects with IGN, but it’s certainly something that they would benefit from now if they chose to hire him.

          I think it is the smart play. He's brought attention to his youtube channel - if he makes a success out of that it's infinitely more valuable than working for IGN

      Is that assuming he didnt already try that? Or he felt they wouldnt get a fair shot, he is the small content creator in this challenge.

      Also as a youtuber who has to self promote when reviewsvare time sensitive to release dates and aggragate/search result hits would effect his brand, doing this quietly or slowly doesnt benefit them. Right? However if he was wrong, it would of destroyed Boomstick for leveraging accusations against IGN. It was risky.

      IGN lack intelligence. Most of their writers have typos in the articles and their site for reviews has become a huge joke. Im glad the reviewer did what he did.

      He's a youtuber. It's what they do. I don't think it's unprofessional at all in 2018. Everything's like this now.

      And making it public gives him a way stronger case. Keeping it private means he can easily be ignored and swept under the rug.

        in this case it seems pretty cut and dry but the problem lies in the fact all too often an innocent person can be thrust in the spotlight on social media (and then go viral) based on nothing or roughly presumed facts. I am sure you would change you tuned if you were innocently accused of something in public, instead of the person accusing you exercising adult judgement and try professional avenues first.

          But your example doesn't fit this case. It's fine (and always has been) to accuse anyone of anything in public IF you have evidence.

          Otherwise you might be up for defamation. But in this case, as you said, cut and dry.

          Your reasoning has no basis in the case at all. You are just being a contrarian for the sake of being one.

      Jesus Christ you have taken being a contrarian to a whole new level. This guy had every right to make this public. What you are essentially advocating is IGN being able to sweep this under the rug so they dont get any blowback. This kind of shit needs to be called out so it does not happen again.

        no what I am advocating for (seriously, you use that word?) is people not using social media to stand in judgement of people. In this case it is highly suggestive sure but most times it is not so cut and dry. All I am saying is go through the proper maturer and adult channels first. Give the person the benefit of the doubt, then if you dont get satisfaction then go to the media, then make a video and take it further. If it was you being accused of something that you didnt do, I am sure as hell you wouldnt appreciate becoming the target of a digital lynch mob until such time guilt is PROVEN.

        Its nothing to do with being a contrarian it about understanding the stupidity and danger of social media lynch mobs. IF the person is guilty.

          Give the person the benefit of the doubt,

          What benefit of the doubt is there when the guy has literally copied him word for word in some parts? Have you even looked at the transcripts Boomstick provided? And if you read the article above you would see its not the first time this guy has plagiarised someone else's review.

          This is not an IF, He is guilty. Read the entire article next time and look at the evidence. You'd have to be blind and stupid to not see this is obvious plagiarism.

            Like normal your reading ability only sees what you want and miss other parts, I said "In this case it is highly suggestive"


            Read the entire article next time and look at the evidence. You'd have to be blind and stupid to not see this is obvious plagiarism.

            and like normal you missed the point I was making, because you were too busy disagreeing with a point I wasnt making.

            PS the other examples were NOT there when i original commented on the article so i didnt see any of the additional info. But no, why let a little detail like that change your mind, like always. That doesnt matter to you anyway because if I am guilty of being a contrarian, you are guilty of living in your own fantasy world of self righteousness.

      While I think he could have contacted IGN I don't think he did anything untoward by posting that video. Considering he could have sued them I think he was pretty restrained.

    The question I have... what other reviews did he plagerise? It cant be that this was the first time, that also happened to be caught out by the creator of the source.

    Eh, it sounded different enough, let it go, fair use and all that.

    I'm joking of course.

    Miucin's Twitter feed is hilarious right now - everyone is just copying his tweets and retweeting them.

    This is heartbreaking. Nintendo Voice Chat is my favourite podcast, and Miucin has been hosting for a few months now. I had accepted him and welcomed him into my ears and heart. He has kids, ffs. This is really disappointing. :|

    wow the nerve of this guy.
    better start looking at another career choice.

    I think it's more symptomatic if the workload they must have at IGN. They have lost so many big names recently and listening to some of their podcasts they all seem stretched thin. It's inevitable that people would be taking shortcuts to get all that content out - not acceptable but inevitable

      Yeah you're not wrong about them seeming stretched. I've been reading IGN for what, 20 years? Lots of people/personalities have come and gone in that time but my consumption of IGN content is at an all time low currently and I just don't think they have the quality that they have sometimes had in the past. It's often been spotty, like any site that big, but they used to always have someone or something to bring me there. These days, not so much.

        Also a lot, lot more providers of game reviews. Back in the days it was really just IGN and GameSpot, now we have tonnes of independent start-ups. And with many gamers knowing better than to frequent the old monopolies, they must be getting desperate.

    Plagiarism is a fine line when doing something like a review. Two reviewers may find several of the same faults and benefits, and express themselves similarly. The nail in the coffin for me tho was this:

    Boomstick: Dead Cells figures out an intriguing way to have your rogue-like and Metroidvania experience all in one by focusing on your failures and encouraging you to try something new the next time.

    Miucin: Dead Cells strikes a perfect and engaging balance between the Metroidvania and rogue-like experiences by focusing on your failures and urging you to experiment every time you do fail.

    Several of the earlier points raised could easily have been coincidental with the authors focusing on the same flaws or points of excellence whilst expressing themselves using similar writing styles, but those two are just too similar to be anything other than paraphrased.

    Someone needs to send that guy back to uni to redo Ethics in Journalism.

      I think Boomsticks video shows that it is not only just the wording alone that shows the similarities but the similar or sometimes identical timestamps of when things are said in each video are more telling than just the phrases themselves.

        This is the key. I think you could accidentally come up with a similar phrase but multiple similar ones and timed similarly as well... it's pretty damning.

    Is it messed up I feel bad for Miucin? He's gonna get so much shit now, and he's probably dealt his career a significant blow. He made a bad call and he's paying for it now.

      No I don't think it's messed up at all. What Filip did was despicable no doubt and he deserved to lose his job, but having your career ended in such a public and shameful way is really quite a horrible way to go. There are people who have done far worse but not received half the hate this guy has gotten.

      I do hope he can eventually pick himself back up and come out of this a better person.

      Last edited 08/08/18 3:29 pm

      looking at the updated article, it seems like he's done this before... so idk, it's hard to have sympathy for a repeated offender. if it was a 1 off bad judgement call I would agree with you

      He made his bed,

      He has to sleep in it.

      It is a mess of his own creation.

        Man, you were so close to the haiku. Here, let me fix it -

        He made his own bed;
        A mess created by him.
        And now, he must sleep.

    Muicin is just lazy. He figured it was easier to watch someone else's review and re-word it rather than put in the work himself.

    It's a review, not some kind of masterpiece of fiction or anything, so some perspective on the severity of wrong-doing would be good from the internet as a whole.

    Sure, it's not the best, but copying a review is hardly worth ruining someone's career over.

      But his entire career IS writing reviews...C'mon man.

      If you base your entire career as a video game reviewer, stealing other people's reviews is a career-ruining move. think things through before you post. lmao.

      Last edited 09/08/18 4:06 pm

      So because you dont value a review, Boomstick is not allowed to?

      do you realise how moronic your comment is?

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