What is FindMakarov.com? Indie Short Film, Photo Below

UPDATE, SUNDAY AT NOON PT: An individual who claims to be tied to FindMakarov has emailed me what is purportedly a still frame from the “FindMakarov” production. Call of Duty fans will instantly recognize the character as Simon “Ghost” Riley from Task Force 141 in Modern Warfare 2.  Based on this image it seems that FindMakarov is a live-action short film inspired by MW2.

ORIGINAL STORY: Yesterday the Internet was buzzing with rumors that Activision is set to announce the next Call of Duty on Wednesday, March 2. Those rumors started when a website, FindMakarov.com, began a mysterious countdown that ends on Wednesday morning. That’s two years to the day when Infinity Ward revealed the teaser trailer for Modern Warfare 2 during the Game Developers’ Choice Awards at GDC.

So, on the surface, it was natural to assume we were days away from the announcement of the next Call of Duty. That theory was only reinforced by the site’s Modern Warfare 2-style visual identity, not to mention the obvious reference to MW2 villain Vladimir Makarov in the site address.

The only problem? Six hours after the site went live Activision did something no one expected: It released a statement calling FindMakarov an outright hoax and confirmed it has no plans to announce the next Call of Duty on March 2.

I began to wonder what was going on here. Is Activision pulling a fast one, trying to draw players even deeper into an elaborate ARG for the next Call of Duty? Or is the site a parody effort on the part of Electronic Arts, which recently poked fun at Call of Duty with an elaborate game called Duty Calls? On Tuesday night EA is scheduled to reveal the first demo of Battlefield 3, its Call of Duty competitor set for release this Fall. It would be a ballsy move for the FindMakarov countdown to end, only to reveal a Battlefield 3 video from EA.

It turns out both those theories are wrong. After some sleuthing I can confirm that the site has nothing to do with a game publisher or developer. Don’t expect a game announcement to pop up when the countdown ends.

Instead, I can exclusively report that Findmakarov.com is the creation of We Can Pretend, an independent Toronto, Canada-based creative collective that is expected to launch a project inspired by Call of Duty on March 2. Production sources who worked on the self-funded project call it visually spectacular.

From what I can tell Activision has no involvement and was seemingly as surprised as we were when the teaser website went live yesterday morning. I’ll update this post as I learn more.

14 Responses to “What is FindMakarov.com? Indie Short Film, Photo Below”

  1. Jazz Says:

    What, no quotes? Despite that, great reporting. And props on not JUST reporting/restating a rumor.

  2. Rich Says:

    What a brilliantly impressive job by these guys. Activision should fire their marketing team and bring these guys on. Really looking forward to what they have in store for us!

  3. M. Says:

    GJ, GK.

  4. NuckFuggets Says:

    But how can these people use the IP of characters that Modern Warfare used without it being a copyright infringement lawsuit waiting for them?

  5. anonymous Says:

    but why is the server only 16km from Infinty ward
    also the date coincides with the second day of pax

  6. Arfdom Says:

    Wow, sneaky sleuthing. How did you figure this out?

  7. jamFRIDGE Says:

    @NuckFuggets: They’re names. Can’t I say the word “Soap?”

  8. Lol Says:

    “But how can these people use the IP of characters that Modern Warfare used without it being a copyright infringement lawsuit waiting for them?”

    Well because Makarov is not a trademarked name, and it didnt say the first name of the character, it could be any Makarov….like Joe Makarov etc?

    So if Activison tried to sue them (they cant) what grounds do they have?
    “They used the name Makarov!?!?” but like I said before, they didnt say the first name of Makarov and they didnt make any profit off it.

  9. NuckFuggets Says:

    Just because something isn’t trademarked doesn’t mean they can just use it freely, there is a difference between Trademark Infringement and Copyright Infringement. Using the name Soap and Makarov and making it a film about the game… this is clearly the IP of Activision.

    If they aren’t attempting to make a profit, I concur though that there isn’t much that can be done for damages. But say this film was done poorly… Activision could have every right to go after them if it hurt any future sales.

    It wasn’t know what this was going to be at the time of it’s release. Looking as it’s now a short film and no profit is looking to be made, it should be fine.

  10. Ring Says:

    @NuckFuggets
    I doubt Activision would do that, or that the sales would be affected. Halo, Star Wars, Mario and many more have had fan films made and never got sued (no matter how low the quality)

  11. David Knowles Says:

    That only if Activision decides to sell the rights for film production company, I have not heard anything to state they have or have plans in the future to do so.

    They be on shaky grounds saying that a completely different media damage the profits derived from a other form of media.

    They could argue that the production of this fan made film damage the amount they could earn from future rights potential for a film. But the defence could quite easily argue the opposite..

    Also the entertainment industry has learnt in the past that attacking fan made films and other productions often causes more damage to the brand and the image than actually letting fans produce stuff for fun and a non for profit bases.

    Plus these guys have given COD free advertisement across the internet and it cost Activision nothing.

    An if Activison was so worried about brand damage they should of bought up the domain name anyway.

  12. JCampb Says:

    “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” -Brendan Behan, Irish author & dramatist (1923 – 1964)

  13. Speider Says:

    “But how can these people use the IP of characters that Modern Warfare used without it being a copyright infringement lawsuit waiting for them?”.

    @Nuckfuggets.
    When it comes to IP, and copyright infringement, the people making this are in the clear, depending on whether the final product will be free or commercially available.

    A parody is a different thing, where you can imitate and mock, poke at and make fun of something through the use of a brand name, or something that clearly represents a brand name.

    This, on the other hand, is more akin to “fan fiction”. If made comercially available, for instance as a movie on Itunes, without activision’s knowledge and approval, they have ample opportunity to sue based on the fact that they own the IP, and that this movie can and may reduce the income of any and all Call of Duty movies that are made by/with Activision itself.

    If the short film is a non-profit movie, made freely available to all via download, for instance, then this can legally be defended as a piece of work made to show the creator’s talents, as well as proven not to be an attempt of selling activisions work as exclusively their own.

    Similar examples is the IGN Zelda: The movie. An april 1st trailer made to look like the trailer for a zelda movie. (Non-profit)
    and “Pirates XXX”, as well as “This is not AVATAR XXX” (both porn parodies on popular movies))

  14. How 'Find Marakov' Creators Won Over Activision, Fans Says:

    [...] Yet this was not the case, Activision said they had nothing to do with the video, even announcing it as a hoax. Fans were stumped, conspiracy theories regarding the Battlefield 3 / MW3 showdown began to take hold. [...]

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