Celebrity cameos in games are always a fun thing. Sometimes it’s as obvious as being the focus of the game, like Mike Tyson’s Punchout. They can also be as hidden as a voice actor. Other times it can be a bit more.. shameless.
That said, let’s go over some of gaming’s most deliberate copycats. These are the characters that are undoubtedly modeled after a well-known celebrity, without the permission of said person. Sometimes, there’s an interesting story that unfolds because of it.
“Ellie” The Last of Us (Ellen Page)
This is one of my favorites. Ellie is not only a spitting image of Ellen, their names are also incredibly similar. Ellen Page wasn’t too happy about it to begin with. In an AMA on Reddit, Ellen said “I guess I should be flattered that they ripped off my likeness, but I am actually acting in a video game called Beyond Two Souls, so it was not appreciated.”
In an interesting turn of events, The Last of Us is considered as one of the best games ever made, while Beyond Two Souls wasn’t nearly as well received. It’s worth mentioning that Ellen Page doesn’t seem to hold a grudge about it. While replying to a fan that mentioned The Last of Us, she said “not me. Ashley Johnson played the part…so send her the props!! :)”.
“Titan Morgan” – Wrestle War (Hulk Hogan)
Wrestle War may not be as popular as The Last of Us, but this is one of the most blatant and poorly done copycat jobs the industry has ever seen. Titan Morgan is such a direct rip-off of The Hulkster, it’s a wonder that WWE’s (at the time WWF’s) lawyers didn’t have this one by the neck.
The game featured other big star rip-offs from the Golden Age of wrestling too, but none as flagrant as Hogan’s. Sega must have expected something to happen, so they changed the image on the box art for Western releases, but the in-game models stayed as blatant as the Japanese version.