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Did Star Trek: Discovery ripoff indie Steam game Tardigrades?

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The left screenshot shows the tardigrade from Star Trek: Discovery and the right screenshot shows the tardigrade from the Steam game Tardigrades.

Anas Abdin, creator of the Steam game Tardigrades (on Steam Greenlight since 2014), has been locked in a lawsuit with CBS over their use of the 'tardigrade' in the 2017 show Star Trek: Discovery.

The lawsuit is over Star Trek Discovery's use of the tardigrade from 2017's Season 1, a creature that helps the crew to travel instantly through space. In the Steam game Tardigrades, a game featured on Steam Greenlight in 2014, also features tardigrades that helps the crew travel instantly through space.

The issue? Discovery was announced nine months after the initial announcement of Tardigrades in 2014. After being informed by peers about the presence of space-travelling tardigrades, Abdin began watching Star Trek: Discovery, and found even more similarities between the characters of the show and his game.

characters with Tardigrade.jpg

Abdin notes: "the fictional giant blue tardigrades that are used in instantaneous space travel with a blonde male botanist [Carter] whom had encountered interracial homosexual acts with a dark bearded male [Aziz]." He documents these similarities on his blog and has been updating his thread on the Adventure Game Studios forum, with some users commenting in support:


Wow. That is an uncanny resemblance to your game. I'm no lawyer but I think you've been genuinely ripped off.

Initially, Abdin’s biggest fear was having his project hit with legal proceedings by CBS.

However, in 2018, he made another post on his blog, explaining that he would be filing a lawsuit against CBS. Eventually, in March of 2019, Abdin summarizes CBS’s response to his lawsuit.


Since the March blog post, there has been little public update on the lawsuit or development of Tardigrades.

For those who have watched Star Trek: Discovery, do you consider the similarities large enough to warrant claims of plagiarism?

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Calling it plagiarizing is a bit too much. A tardigrade did feature in like 2-3 episodes of Destiny's first season but the story eventually replaced the creature with a human, and since then none have been featured again. While making for an interesting side story, it basically wasn't important enough in the long run for the way Destiny's instantaneous space-travel works. The tardigrade they found and made use of in a few episodes aided them in navigating the mycelial network, but wasn't critical to its continued use.

I think this article goes through it best: Understanding the Star Trek: Discovery Plagiarism Allegations

Similarities do seem to exist, and it's possible some inspiration was taken from that game, but then it could also equally be that the series and the game are each a result of their time more than anything else. Calling it plagiarizing, though, seems a bit too much.

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