Epic studios, Microsoft, as well as the voice actor Lester Speight are currently facing a serious lawsuit filed by an African American man named Lenwood Hamilton, a former football player and professional wrestler, who has made the claim that the Gears of War character August “Cole Train” Cole is actually based on him. The suit, right now available from Courthouse News, claims that Hamilton is filing suit now because he just recently became aware of the character during January 2015, when a friend of his son showed him the video game.
As the lawsuit states:
The similarities of the avatar ‘Cole Train’ and Hard Rock Hamilton [Hamilton’s pro wrestling alter-ego] include that both are black (and ‘Cole Train’ is the only black avatar in the Gears of War series), they both played professional football (although in Gears of War the game is called ‘thrashball’), Cole Train’s number is 83 (same year that Hamilton played for the Philadelphia Eagles—1983), the derby hat, wristbands, a front gold tooth, and a striking resemblance of both physiognomy and body build,
The filing further alleges that while Speight has been credited as the Cole Train voice actor, the character’s voice is also exactly like Hamilton’s as well. The suit includes claims that an actual voice analysis and comparison of his voice and the character Cole’s conducted by a professional forensics services company he hired back in April 2016 determined “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty the Cole Train voiceover used in the Gears of War video games and the voice of Hamilton are the same voice.”
That part is just a tad bit tricky to explain, and the suit never really attempts to do so. Instead of that, it simply notes that “the Soul City ring announcer Robert Geary had maintained a repository of Hamilton’s voice recordings and photographs” most probably to conclude that Epic could have actually spliced together Cole’s lines for the game using Hamilton’s own voice. It additionally claims that Speight worked with Hamilton all the way back in 1998 as “Rasta the Urban Warrior,” during which time Speight shared with him, his idea for an original video game. Hamilton at that time, declined to become involved, however, because the game “would feature violence.”
There are lots of instances in the suit that make it seem like a stretch but until it gets resolved, we can;t really conclude anything. And as of yet, no one from Epic or microsoft has commented on the issue