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The 80-year-old former dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for using his likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops II for home consoles and PC. He claims that the studio owes him for damages and for using his likeness in the game.
The LA Times caught wind of the news when Noriega filed the suit on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in California.
According to an article on The Verge, Noriega's in-game counterpart is actually a doppelganger for the real-life, former dictator, writing...
“In the game, a character that looks like the real Manuel Noriega and is also named Manuel Noriega assists the CIA but then betrays them. In real life, Noriega was a close US ally until the Americans became concerned with the dictator's penchant for using violence against his enemies and citizens. The US dropped ties and invaded Panama in 1989.”
Noriega was captured in 1990, four days after the U.S., armed forces invaded Panama. Noriega was imprisoned for nearly 20 years on drug charges, according to the International Herald Tribune. After serving his time he was released in 2007.
As for his appearance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II... the game released in 2012 to moderate, critical praise and lots of market success. Many reviewers exclaimed that the multiple, branching story-paths helped flesh out the game's replay appeal and add some depth to the characters, plots and the player's role in how they all turned out.
One of the characters in Call of Duty: Black Ops II was Manuel Noriega, as noted in the piece on The Verge. He does bear a striking resemblance to the real-life man and the fact that his name is the same could give Noriega some leverage in the case.
The story in the game was penned by famous writer David S. Goyer of Batman fame, and it was directed by David Anthony. The soundtrack was composed by Jack Wall and Trent Reznor.
This isn't the first time that a celebrity of some fashion decided to sue a video game company over appearances in a game. Lindsay Lohan recently tried suing Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive over a troubled Hollywood starlet depicted in Grand Theft Auto V that she felt resembled her.
Previously, another celebrity of sorts also tried to sue Rockstar Games and Take-Two over Grand Theft Auto V, when the Mob Wives housewife tried to levy a lawsuit against the software publisher.
As for Noriega and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Activision Blizzard has yet to offer a statement on the issue. Unlike GTA V there could be a case for Noriega since they do use his likeness and name, and make it quite known in the game. Given that Black Ops II sold 24.2 million copies and has made well over a billion dollars, it's not impossible that Activision might seek to settle out of court... if the lawsuit actually reaches a courtroom.
The company's latest game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, is set for release on November 4th for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and PC.