This week, news hit that fans were remaking Metroid 2 in line with 30th Anniversary. However, lo’ and behold Nintendo have submitted a cease and desist to the small group of developer fans. It was recently that Nintendo also did the same toward a fan built in browser remake of The Legend of Zelda, which was also in the works for the 30th anniversary.
Immediately, I understand Nintendo’s perspective from a business angle, it’s their creation, their IP and they own it. If you think if someone suddenly one day wanted to remake a Star Wars film or any movie for that matter, I’m sure the copyright owner would have enough to say. Nintendo are bound to be tied up in all sorts of red tape and board rules that prevent them from allowing these fan remakes to go ahead, it can dilute their copyright claim for future projects. However, I think that’s not the only reason why Nintendo are so archaic in their copyright infringement dealings, it just feels Nintendo are in a ‘no fun allowed’ mind-set.
Along with news of Metroid 2’s remake being pulled, the Nintendo Power Issues have which were archived online and freely available to all have also disappeared. What is strange about this one is that the archive had been available for over 5 months before being pulled. Incidentally it did amass significant attention last week, which in turn caught Nintendo’s eye as they were unceremoniously removed.
Nintendo are avoiding an opportunity where fans would love a digital output for their old magazine, which to confirm Nintendo do not even own anymore having sold the license in 2007. It will give fans of old a chance to reminisce and new fans an opportunity to appreciate the effort that the writers and artists put in back in the day.
If you turn to a little game company called Capcom you will note that they are not so quick to get their lawyers to issue cease and desists against fans. For example, Capcom permitted a fan remake/crossover of Megaman and Street Fighter creating SF X Mega Man. In fact, Capcom allowed the developer fans temporary rights to its characters and eventually released the game as an official Capcom product. This is not a fan girl declaration toward Capcom, but another instance was last year when a Resident Evil 2 fan remake in the Unreal 4 engine was halted, only because Capcom were already working on the HD remakes. Invader Games who were behind the fan remake, commented that it should be up to the original creators to bring a classic back to life, but in this case Capcom invited them to discuss ideas.
Valve are another example of how to turn fan work into company gain, take Black Mesa for example. A fan remake of Half-Life, which gained Valve’s attention and is now available for download on Steam. Sega are another example of allowing remakes to remain there and the hiring the people who create them to assist with them
Nintendo are no stranger to being quite heavy handed when it comes to people using their creative content. It’s known that Nintendo are never too keen on fans using their game play footage for YouTube channels, you can guarantee you will be hit with a copyright strike. Again, as a company I respect the fact they are protecting content they created but these cease and desists, and nothing more, are certainly making a mess of their PR image. Do Nintendo realise that these fans are not developing the remakes to snatch their creative genius or even create them for monetary gain? It’s all for the love of the franchise, which is a key factor with Nintendo that people feel a lot of nostalgia for when it comes to their franchises. If anything, Nintendo should be rewarding these fans by making the games that the fans want to play, or at least take a Capcom step and allow them to be part of a HD development process.
At the moment, it just feels that Nintendo are putting two fingers up to their fans of old and new, and comes across as nothing more than a big school yard bully. Come on Nintendo, you must learn to share your toys.