Sword of Symphony, the upcoming music-based JRPG from solo developer Stephen Ddungu, is again back in the public eye. After director Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit theaters earlier this month, Ddungu’s fans took to Twitter to share a strange event: a certain fight scene in the Doctor Strange sequel looks so much like Sword. or Symphony that many suspect Marvel Studios may have copied a sequence from Ddungu’s Kingdom Hearts-inspired game.
Ddungu has been working on Sword of Symphony for about two years now, showing off bits of the development on social media sites like TikTok and Twitter. Initially starting as his college graduate degree, the game quickly exploded due to its obvious black protagonist and super-flickering rhythm-based combat where the player’s character used magical musical notes to defeat enemies. While it takes some inspiration from Kingdom Hearts, Ddungu noted on his Patreon that Sword of Symphony also draws from other JRPGs like Final Fantasy and NieR: Automata. It’s easy to see why it became so popular when you visit some gameplay. The game’s Twitter account has about 50,000 followers, and the reveal video garnered millions of views on TikTok.
So it was weird for many people who left Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after it hit theaters worldwide on May 6th to see such striking similarities. There’s a fight scene in the Doctor Strange sequel where the titular hero, played by the charming Benedict Cumberbatch, fights himself using musical symbols for things like half and quarter notes. Sword of Symphony also uses musical notes, but what supposedly makes the two scenes nearly identical is how they are performed.
In the Doctor Strange battle, the main character shoots an ethereal music bar at a copy of himself, which blocks it with an energy circle. While radiating magic and projecting energy is typical of the Doctor Strange universe, this fight in the movie looks exactly like Sword of Symphony combo videos in which the protagonist uses energy to create magical musical notes. The film scene even features bright musical sounds that are in sync with the action, which strongly reflects the sound design of Sword of Symphony. The similarities are truly eerie.
People took to social media to discuss the matter, with many echoing the feeling that they immediately thought of Ddungu and Sword of Symphony when watching that particular Doctor Strange battle sequence. Ddungu was also shocked by the equality, saying he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Marvel copied him during the film’s “major” reshoots. You can also see the same kind of comments all over his TikTok.
Ddungu told us via Twitter DMs that the music fight scene in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was born during those reshoots, which started about three months after Sword of Symphony launched online.
“Based on a large number of primary sources supporting the idea they did, I’d say it’s ‘very likely,’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true,” Ddungu said. Therefore, all sources (citing the people who directly made the film) strongly imply that the scene was not in the film’s original script and that it was a last-minute action performed at least three months after the Sword of Symphony. Went viral and received praise for its concept. So when everyone tells me they looted my work, I can understand why people have that opinion after examining the surroundings evidevidencedungu said he knows the idea of fighting with music is not new. That’s why he didn’t patent it or anything. The broader point he was trying to make, Ddungu said, is that “the way I express the idea is original, not necessarily the core idea itself, and other franchises using the concept do it in their unique way. .” What rubs him the wrong way is that if his work was copied, Marvel Studios and Sam Raimi “could have executed the idea in their unique way” rather than come out with something that “everyone has commented that it looks like an attempt to copy mine with infinitesimal changes.” He only hopes major studios give credit if the work of others inspires them but says studios “are not obligated if I simply inspire them.” He would work with Marvel if it approached him.
“I feel like it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a black creator, but instead (if it’s true they copied me) it’s another case of creatives pushing ideas from other creatives, which is not uncommon for major production studios.”
We have reached out to Disney and Marvel Studios for comment.