Tencent has used model Mei Yan's likeness in its battle royale game Ring of Elysium without her permission, Yan says.
Yan, a Chinese-American model who also runs a YouTube channel with more than 400,000 subscribers, said on Twitter that the company "stole an image of [her] from several years ago, photoshopped it and used it in their game for their character Lynn". She posted screenshots of a trailer for Ring of Elysium's paid-for Adventurer Pass, which appears to have photoshopped different outfits onto Yan's original picture.
You can see a comparison shot below—the original is on the right, with the image used for Lynn on the left. The original was a professional photo taken while Yan was working with the brand Omocat.
An edited headshot of Yan also appeared as an icon in the Adventurer Pass. All uses of the image, including the trailer, have now been deleted.
"I had no idea this was even happening," Yan said in an Instagram post. "Yeah it’s pretty flattering and cool ngl but at the same time it’s such a shady trick to pull and it’s ridiculous that it’s gone this far."
She told Kotaku that she's not sure how she'd like the issue to be resolved. "My original goal was to just bring some awareness. If more people can know about this, I guess that’s all I can really ask for in this situation,” Yan said. “People have been paying for this Adventurer Pass, and are therefore paying to have access to this skin. I feel like, in a way, people have been deceived, and that’s really, really not okay.”
A moderator on the Ring of Elysium subreddit claimed they were told by the developers that an "official investigation was conducted immediately" and that the dev team would release an official statement "once things are clarified".
I've reached out the Ring of Elysium team and will update this story if I hear back.