UPDATE: Naughty Dog and the designer have come to a mutual agreement, according to an update on his blog.
"I’ve just spoken with Naughty Dog over the phone in a very constructive conversation. Can’t say more at the moment, but it seems as if matters will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction shortly. I can say that they do acknowledge their error in using my map and were very apologetic for it. I likewise apologized for my initial vitriolic post. A lot of mutual respect for each other’s creative work."
The original story follows below.
Naughty Dog is known for its attention to detail. So when one fan noticed an accurate map of the Massachusetts Bay public transit system in The Last of Us and tweeted a picture, it seemed innocuous. But according to the map's creator, Naughty Dog's attention to detail was lacking in one important area: his permission.
"For a software developer--especially a big developer working on a blockbuster title like this--to casually appropriate someone else’s work and incorporate it into their game without any discussion with the owner of that work is completely unacceptable," designer Cameron Booth wrote on his blog.
Note that Booth's map differs from the official Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority map--it's meant to present the same information in a streamlined, easier-to-read format. Booth actually refrained from submitting the map to an official MBTA contest because he would have lost all rights to it. Looks like he already lost those rights in The Last of Us' virtual world, unfortunately.
This isn't the first unlicensed likeness dispute to mar Naughty Dogs' latest title, though Ellen Page's resemblance to main character Ellie is much more open to interpretation.
Booth has since tweeted that he had a "very constructive phone conversation" with Naughty Dog and the issue will soon be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. We asked the Sony-owned developer about his concerns and will update this story with any response.