Ubisoft apologizes for using a real-life reenactment group's flag in Assassin's Creed Shadows concept art without permission

Image for Ubisoft apologizes for using a real-life reenactment group's flag in Assassin's Creed Shadows concept art without permission
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft has apologized for using the flag of a real-life Japanese reenactment group in concept art for Assassin's Creed Shadows, and says the images in question will no longer be used—although it will still appear in the art book that comes with the Assassin's Creed Shadows collector's edition.

As noted by Siliconera, the issue came to light in June when Japanese gamers noticed the flag of Sekigahara Teppotai in official Assassin's Creed Shadows concept art. It's difficult to make out but you can see it in the right-hand side of this image, via IGN:

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

A closer look:

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Sekigahara Teppotai, as it turns out, is a real-life historical reenactment group, and the flag was used without permission

Twitter user @matchlock_kage, a member of the group, eventually contacted Ubisoft Japan about the presence of the flag, telling the company that if they wanted to use it, they should contact the group first—a reasonable request by any measure.

(Image credit: matchlock_kage (Twitter))

They also posted a photo of the group's flag, taken in 2019:

(Image credit: matchlock_kage (Twitter))

And here's one of the reenactment group itself, originally posted in 2023. The flag is clearly visible:

(Image credit: matchlock_kage)

It took some time, but on June 28 @matchlock_kage said they were told that Ubisoft was looking into it, and was attempting to contact Sekigahara Teppotai. A week later, Ubisoft finally responded to the complaint: @matchlock_kage said Ubisoft "accepted the criticism about the concept art and promptly deleted it from the official website," and said the flag would not be used in the future, although "they also mentioned that data that has already been copied is difficult to delete."

The somewhat odd phrasing is due primarily to the fact that the tweets are being Google translated from their original Japanese, which is a tricky business at best. In an English-language statement provided to PC Gamer, Ubisoft confirmed the mistake and apology.

"We have received complaints that the Sekigahara Teppotai's flag was used without permission in two published pieces of concept art," a Ubisoft representative said. "We had the opportunity to apologize to the group, and they accepted our apology. The art will no longer be used or distributed, except for inclusion in the art book that comes with the collector's edition. We sincerely apologize for this matter."

Assassin's Creed Shadows is set to launch on November 15.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.