I played a game back in 1999 from Westwood Studios that really impacted me, and I want to remake it with modern graphics. Westwood Studios has since been acquired by Electronic Arts and I would like to know if I could start a business selling the game without doing anything illegal.

How similar can the remake be to the original one? Can any copyright or trademark(s) be infringed, such as tank/structure designs or anything like that?
Note: I am excluding soundtracks from the list of things that I'd like to remake.


1 Answer 1


Ideas (methods of playing, game mechanics, strategy, goals) cannot be protected by copyright. But any part of a creative work can.

So, no copying of drawings, patterns, images, sounds, or the element. I suppose copying the software code is not an issue here, but it can, obviously, also not be copied. And nothing in your game can look like someone's else trademark.

  • So my best bet would be to contact EA and ask them for the license price? Lets assume I don't do that and the game ends up being very similar to the old one. How much of a liability would that be? Would they have a strong motive to sue my company? Feb 27, 2016 at 21:09
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    It's difficult to give an answer for a concrete case without all details. It's also difficult to know whom and when EA would sue. But this company has sued other game developers before: reuters.com/article/… Feb 27, 2016 at 21:48
  • I'm talking about Tiberian Sun. I'm more concerned about my freedom to draw new 3D models for the tanks and structures that would undoubtably resemble the original ones, although much, much improved. Can these models be interpreted as game art and therefore have copyrights? Thank you for your answer! Feb 27, 2016 at 22:48
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    @Aprendiz: Creating a game like this can not be placed under copyright. I mean, anyone is free to create a real-time multi-player strategy war game, with parallel story lines. Indeed, many games share these core elements. A concrete tank or scenario is certainly under copyright. You will have to create your tanks, characters, walls, rivers and so on from scratch. Feb 28, 2016 at 1:19

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