Filip Miucin's IGN Plagiarism Controversy

Filip Miucin's IGN Plagiarism Controversy

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Added Aug 16, 2018 at 01:29PM EDT by Adam.

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Filip Miucin's IGN Plagiarism Controversy refers to the online backlash caused by allegations that video game critic Filip Miucin plagiarized other gaming critics and sources in his reviews created as Nintendo editor for the gaming website IGN. IGN terminated Miucin after the discovery he had likely plagiarized his review of Dead Cells from a lesser-known YouTuber. Miucin apologized and intimated he had never done that sort of thing before in a video response to the controversy. This led others to track down several other examples of Miucin's alleged plagiarism, which in turn led IGN to remove most of Miucin's work from the site.


On July 24th, 2018, YouTube reviewer Boomstick Gaming posted a review of Dead Cells praising the game (shown below, left). Two weeks later, he posted a video noting how IGN's review of the game appeared to plagiarize his review in structure and almost completely in word choice (shown below, right).

In the description of the IGN comparison video, Boomstick Gaming provided text examples of how IGN's Nintendo editor Flip Miucin copied his review (examples shown below).

02:30 MYSELF: Dead Cells only falters slightly with some repetition setting in, especially on the early areas and during longer play sessions. The enemy designs here are interesting and fun to fight but in the first level alone you will probably have killed the same enemy about 50 times already and that same enemy will be used throughout various levels.
02:30 FILIP: Dead Cells does falter slightly with some repetition but its only felt in its earlier areas and during extended play sessions. While early level enemies are a good introduction and make for fun and interesting fights early on, you can only kill so many zombies before it starts feeling a little stale.

03:07 MYSELF: Dead Cells figures out and intriguing way to have your rogue lite and metroidvania experience all in one by focusing on your failures and urging you to try something new the next time.
03:07 FILIP: Dead Cells strikes a perfect and engaging balance between the metroidvania and rogue lite experiences by focusing on your failures and urging you to experiment when you do fail.


After the video was posted online, IGN pulled both their video and written reviews of the game and replaced the written review with a statement[1] reading:

"As a group of writers and creators who value our own work and that of others in our field, the editorial staff of IGN takes plagiarism very seriously. In light of concerns that have been raised about our Dead Cells review, we’ve removed it for the time being and are investigating."

On August 7th, IGN announced that they had "parted ways" with Miucin, stating the amount of similarities between his review and Boomstick Gaming's was unacceptable. Meanwhile, a post titled "IGN may have been caught plagiarizing" was submitted to /r/KotakuInAction,[13] where it received upwards of 880 points (97% upvoted) and 140 comments within 10 days. In the coming days, The Verge,[32 Game Revolution[2], Forbes[3] and other news sites covered the controversy.

IGN @IGN Follow GN's Statement on the Dead Cells review investigation: IGN's Statement on Dead Cells Review We've reviewed the allegations against one of our writers regarding our review of Dead Cells. After taking the time to investigate, we've determined that there were substantial similarities between a review posted weeks earlier and our review that could not be justified and warranted taking down. Though we as a community often share feelings and even certain word choices to describe the games we love by using similar frames of understanding, this particular situation stepped over the line and is not a reflection of our editorial standards. We apologize to our readers, developer Motion Twin, and most especially the YouTuber known under Boomstick Gaming for failing to uphold those standards We take our review process seriously. In most cases, reviewers are expected to play a game's single-player or story campaign to completion at least once, as well as spend additional time capturing gameplay to supply content to the video component of our reviews. Though our Dead Cells reviewer played the game and came away with glowing opinions of it as did many of our other staff members the review itself was simply not acceptable. We've parted ways with the writer involved in the review, and we will be re-reviewing Dead Cells this week. We will work tirelessly to ensure that, regardless of whether you agree with our reviews you can have faith that every word is nothing less than the genuine opinions of our critics. Nothing is more important to us than your trust. IGN 8:23 PM-7 Aug 2018

The same day, Kotaku[4] received a tip that Miucin had appeared to plagiarize another critic for Nintendo Life when he reviewed Fifa 18 (example shown below).

Nintendo Life: However, because it’s not running on the Frostbite engine, FIFA 18 on Switch doesn’t play exactly like the other current-gen versions. The pace is slightly faster and player animations and physics aren’t quite as fluid, lending the game an ever-so-slightly more arcade feel (but not to any major degree).

Miucin: Only this time, it’s running on a custom engine that EA designed specifically for Switch, which means that it doesn’t play exactly like the Xbox One and PS4 editions of the game do. The animations and physics are definitely not as fluid and the pacing feels slightly faster, ultimately leaving the game feeling a little less realistic and slightly more arcadey.

Three days after Miucin was fired, he posted a video stating the Dead Cells plagiarism was "not at all intentional." He also encouraged Kotaku to "keep looking" after he disagreed with their publication of the supposed Fifa 18 plagiarism claim. He claimed Kotaku was trying to "get clicks" off his name. The video has since been deleted but mirrors continue to be posted to YouTube.

The challenge to Kotaku to "keep looking" for examples of his plagiarism led to the discovery of many more articles which he appeared to plagiarize.[8] Nintendo Wire posted a video demonstrating how Miucin had copied their Fire Emblem preview almost word for word (shown below), a Bayonetta review that took from Polygon,[5] a video about the Nintendo Switch HD Rumble that took from a NeoGAF thread,[6] and an article on Octopath Traveler that took from one of his IGN colleagues, Seth May.[7]

The myriad discoveries led IGN editor Justin Davis to announce that they would remove all of Micuin's content from their site.

Justin Davis ErrorJustin Follow Deeply disappointed and upset that it's looking more and more likely that we unwittingly hosted work that was directly lifted from or at best heavily derived from others. I assure you we are taking very active steps to remove it all, and make it right. I feel betrayed. 10:41 PM -14 Aug 2018 109 Retweets 1,379 Likes Tweet your reply Justin Davis@ErrorJustin Aug 15 To those asking - All of the author's scripted bylined content is being proactively removed for now, regardless of whether it was found to have an issue. Some of it may be restored later, some important coverage may be redone by other writers, and much of it will remain offline. 38 t40507

GamerGate Comparisons

On August 12th, 2018, Twitter user @carolynmichelle[14] posted a sarcastic tweet about the response to the plagiarism accusations from the GamerGater movement, suggesting that the controversy was not getting enough attention from those who claim to care about "ethics in gaming journalism" (shown below, left). Within five days, the tweet gained more than 100 retweets and 480 likes. On August 14th, Twitter user @DominicTarason[15] tweeted a rumor that Miucin was being courted by the alt-right, referring to the group as the "Ethics in Game Journalism crowd" (shown below, right).

Carolyn Petit @carolynmichelle ( Follow ) Surely, SURELY the GG movement is more active right now than it's ever been given that this past week has given us the most clear, obvious and explicit violation of "ethics in gaming journalism" in recent years. Right? 8:02 PM-12 Aug 2018 Dominic Tarason @dominictarason Follow Apparently the alt-right gaming crowd are trying to court the disgraced writer, because apparently being a known liar, cheat and thief is apparently a sound foundation for journalism among the Ethics In Games Journalism crowd???? 11:07 PM 14 Aug 2018

Despite the criticisms, several threads about the incident were submitted to /r/KotakuInAction,[9][10][11][12] many of which reached the front page of the GamerGate-themed subreddit. On August 17th, the gaming news blog One Angry Gamer[16] published an article titled "Gaming Journalists Complain #GamerGate Isn't Angry Enough About Filip Miucin," which highlighted various reactions from GamerGate opponents and supporters about the incident.

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