It's wild that mobile game ripoffs this bad are allowed to exist

rise of the kings geralt knockoff
(Image credit: Onemt)

Oh neat, a new Witcher mobile game? That's the only thing this cool piece of Geralt art I spotted on Reddit this morning could indicate.

The logo says it's called Rise of the Kings and is apparently available on app stores everywhere. It wasn't until scrolling down that I realized I was looking at yet another trashy mobile game that blatantly rips off other people's artwork.

The offending artwork has clearly taken creative liberties with the design of its not-Geralt, mimicking actual art from The Witcher 3 while using the armor from the Netflix series. Dare I say, this swordsman's face is even meant to mimic the impeccable Henry Cavill, a slight that PC Gamer cannot abide by.

This Gerald of Riverboat ad is apparently promoting a Rise of the Kings update that's been out for months, but it only recently caught the eye of r/Gaming. Commentators are having a laugh at the ad's expense with some quality zingers. "Including everybody's favourite card game, Qwert!" wrote drewtheblueduck. "His trusty steed, Coach," added 8bit4brains.

"I think the Witcher ripped this game off," said Crazescape.

Mobile ripoffs are so common at this point that it feels like a better use of our time to simply laugh them off than complain about them to an internet void. That said, if you'll allow me to be annoyed by an already well-known problem outside of my control, it is absurd that these ripoffs continue to make money on major app stores.

For how much platforms like the Apple App Store pride themselves on vetting apps, theft is depressingly common. This update has been out since March! And Rise of the Kings isn't some random sidebar 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 that currently autoplays a trailer starring fake Geralt.

rise of the kings

I would happily play this moment in an actual Witcher game. (Image credit: Onemt)

It'd be nice to see these shady games get a long, costly timeout from storefronts when they do a theft, but considering Apple and Google automatically pocket up to 30% of everything Rise of the Kings makes, there isn't a particularly strong incentive. 

Perhaps the almost-Geralt here is something CD Projekt doesn't feel it's worth going after, or isn't close enough to be cut-and-dry copyright infringement. If so, is it weird that these sorts of shady mobile games don't take off in the same way on Steam? Valve's hands-off publishing rules seem like a prime breeding ground for IP theft (and that certainly does happen), but games that do so don't seem to attract 10 million players over six years. Maybe that's because a lot of the time, trashy steam knockoffs are clearly more joke than business strategy.

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

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.