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TMZ reports that former American football player and wrestler Lenwood “Hard Rock” Hamilton is suing the developers of Gears of War for ripping off his image to create the Augustus “Cole” Train character from the early Gears of War games.
He claims Cole Train voice actor and former football player Lester Speight had discussed creating a video game character with him before Cole Train was created, and that Speight then copied his speech characteristics and his image, including elements such as his gold front tooth, sports derbies and wristbands, and even elements of his life history, noting that Cole Train was also a footballer and wrestler before becoming a soldier, mirroring his own life story.
Hamilton says he knew Speight from when they were wrestlers together in Soul City Wrestling.
He is suing both Speight and Epic Games, and said he hired a forensic voice examiner to compare Speight’s performance to his voice and deduced that they were indistinguishable.
Hamilton says he only noticed the resemblance when his son’s friend showed him the 2006 game.
Hamilton is suing for sales and profits but it is of note that a similar case featuring Linsay Lohan and the creators of Grand Theft Auto was eventually dismissed , with the court saying “video game’s unique story, characters, dialogue, and environment, combined with the player’s ability to choose how to proceed in the game, render it a work of fiction and satire“.
Cole Train does not appear in Gears of War 4.