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Riot Games is suing NetEase over Valorant clone, Hyper Front

Hyper Front is a "copy of substantial parts of Valorant."

A report from Polygon has stated that Riot Games is currently suing publisher NetEase over its recent mobile game, Hyper Front. This is because Riot Games believe that NetEase’s Hyper Front is a mobile clone of its hit 5v5 shooter, Valorant.

Catch the reveal of Valorant's latest agent, Harbor, right here.

The allegations will be taken to court in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, and Singapore, according to Riot Games lawyer, Dan Nabel. Hyper Front is said to be a “copy of substantial parts of Valorant”, and each lawsuit is intended to address this, despite some anticipated differences due to varying copyright laws in each country.

At first glance, both Valorant and Hyper Front feature a similar gameplay experience. Players choose from a roster of heroes, and then jump into a tactical 5v5 match, using teamwork and their abilities to try and win. Valorant released back in 2020, with ports for console and mobile supposedly in the works.

Following release, Valorant rose to the heights of popularity quickly, with Overwatch pros dropping their favourite game for it in some instances. As for Hyper Front, the game launched on mobile in 2022, and remains currently unavailable in North America. Coincidentally, this is where Riot Games headquarters is situated.

In the lawsuit, Riot Games details to Polygon that the similarities between Hyper Front and Valorant can be found when looking at the characters, maps, weapon stats, and even cosmetics. We’re even shown a deeper insight into the similarities, with a direct comparison between Valorant’s Omen and Hyper Front’s Nemesis being made.

Here's an early comparison of Valorant's Omen and Nemesis. Image via Polygon.

Supposedly, NetEase did make some adjustments to Hyper Front as a result of Riot Games’ initial qualms with the mobile game, which is where the above image comes from. That said, Riot Games says that the game still infringes on Valorant’s copyright.

Dan Nabel tells Polygon: “All of our creative choices are mirrored in NetEase’s game. We don’t think that changing the color of a character ability or slightly modifying the visual apperarnace changes the fact that it’s copyright infringement.” Nabel concludes, “it’s like that old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”

Riot Games is looking to have Hyper Front shut down for the “substantial” damage it has done, Nabel also points out that “copyright is territorial,” hence taking the issue to multiple courts globally. “NetEase is a global publisher, as are we. We want them to know that we take the matter very seriously.”

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Kelsey Raynor avatar

Kelsey Raynor

Guides Writer

Kelsey's (she/they) passion for gaming began with Resident Evil, and it's been rather difficult to get them to shut up about horror games since. When they're not scoping out new scares or commiserating the cancellation of Silent Hills, they can often be found fawning over cute Pokémon and Kirby, or being very average at FPS games. They've been in games media for 3 years.
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