Manuel Noriega the former dictator of Panama has filed a law suit against Activision over the use of his likeness in 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The suit seeks damages and loss of profits as the game portrays him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”
In the game a character who is clearly based on Noriega, helps the CIA team until he inevitably betrays them to the game main antagonist. In reality Noriega was a ally of the US until they invaded in 1989.
In an interview with the BBC Jas Purewal, an interactive entertainment lawyer said “In the US, individuals have what’s called the right to publicity, which gives them control over how their person is depicted in commerce including video games…Noriega isn’t a US citizen or even a resident. This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it’s unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision.”
Noriega isn’t the first famous person to attempt to sue a games company, recently Lindsay Lohan has taken action against Rockstar, claiming a character in GTA V was based on her.
Activision are releasing another Call of Duty this year, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Advanced Warfare is set in a not to distant future where private military companies have become the worlds new super powers. Advanced Warfare is said to be current gen first although it will also be available on last gen.