Konami Flip-Flops On Fan-Remake Of 'Metal Gear', Decides To Shut It Down

from the konami-for-president dept

Eventually, video game companies are going to have to come to terms with the fact that their biggest fans can also be immensely creative and that they often want to channel that creativity towards adding to the game franchises they love. Thus far, the vast majority of fan-driven projects having anything to do with video game franchises are met with stonewall takedowns and cease and desist letters. The most frustrating of these are when mixed signals are sent to the fans engaged in these projects, where the people doing the work are under the impression that their efforts have been cleared for takeoff only to be grounded late in development. To treat creative folks who can be amongst a company’s greatest fans that way is to bite the hand that feeds them in a very real way.

And now it’s happened again. A group of dedicated Metal Gear fans endeavoring to remake the original 1987 NES title in Valve’s Source engine and had been in contact with a Konami rep the entire time. After month’s of work, Konami apparently just informed them that they no longer had permission and forced them to shut it all down.

“The project has been shut down by Konami,” an email sent to the site read. “Seems that they all couldn’t agree on the project going ahead.”

The mod team also revealed that David Hayter was on board to voice Snake, and had even recorded some lines for it. It posted a work-in-progress trailer showing a rough cut of scenes yet to be animated, complete with Hayter’s dialogue.

In correspondence elsewhere, remake organizer Ian Ratcliffe indicated that he had been in regular contact with a Konami representative in the UK about the project and that he’d been given the all clear, with the stipulation that the game not be sold commercially. The carpet was then pulled out from underneath the team by Konami’s legal department in Japan. Ratcliffe was far more understanding than many people might have been.

The agreement was made verbally, we first got approval a couple of months back after being told to take the moddb page down. Following that Jay Boor from Konami UK, told me that the agreement was getting written up by Japans legal team. (We were contacted by a couple of guys from Japan initially but since it’s all been through Jay.) We were told to keep the page down as they wanted to make the announcement once E3 was out of the way. I’m not really sure what happened to be honest, we had a lot of back and forth with Jay and he was in full support of the project. It seems that the whole of Konami was divided on whether we should go ahead or not but I think ultimately it was Japans decision.

I totally understand their reason in doing so, not matter how disheartened the team is, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all that they’ve done, Jay especially. Not to forget the huge amount of support we got from the fans, to which we’re more than grateful for. We got to work alongside industry professionals, it’s been really inspiring and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. We aren’t gonna be sour about the whole thing it’s the experience that counts.

We’re now in the planning stages of making our own IP, in the words of Liquid Snake – “It’s not over yet!”

It’s an amazingly gracious and politic reaction to what was essentially the dicking over of the effort of a dedicated group of fans by Konami’s legal team. To spend months working on a title, organizing labor, getting some impressive voice talent on board, all in good faith under the notion that a Konami rep had given the green light, and to then have all that work torn away by the very company whose work you love so much must be a hell of a feeling. Sure, Ratcliffe’s team should have gotten the correspondence and the ‘okay’ in writing, but there’s still no reason for Konami to dump on their fans like this. There was no commercial interest here, just the love of the game, so to speak. All in the name of copyright.

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Comments on “Konami Flip-Flops On Fan-Remake Of 'Metal Gear', Decides To Shut It Down”

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Rekrul says:

How many such projects have to get shut down before people learn the most valuable lesson of all?

If you’re working on something that the copyright cartel might possibly object to, DON’T F****** ADVERTISE IT!!!

Yes, I know you all want brag about it to the world, but that’s just painting a bullseye on your head for the copyright cartel to aim at.

If you announce something like this ahead of time, get told to drop it, then go ahead anyway, you get sued. On the other hand, if you complete it in secret, then release it as a finished project, the most that will probably happen is that you will be told to take it down. You comply, you don’t get sued and meanwhile the genie is out of the bottle and people have the game.

Besides, I don’t see why Konami even felt like they had to do anything. 2-3 years down the road, the project would have come to a standstill as the developers lost interest or real world issues got in the way, and a couple years after that, the project would have been officially canceled. It’s what happens to 99% of such projects.

Rekrul says:

Re: I said this in the chat, needs to be repeated here...

At some point, fans of video game franchises are just going to have to go “fuck it” and make the games and get them completed without the copyright holder knowing about it until WAAAAY after it’s done.

I’ve been saying that all along. I said it up earlier in the comments here.

Besides, considering that 99% of such projects never make it to completion, bragging about it just gets people excited for something that will probably never be finished.

Ninja (profile) says:

Reminds me of people trying to remake Final Fantasy VII to high def and stuff. There have been cries for Square to do it for a good while now (I first heard it in 2006 for the PS2 actually) and despite the overwhelming popular demand Square gave us… Final Fantasy 14?

Really, people should just say ‘screw it’ and get these projects working regardless of the morons in the companies. The reply will be almost always a stonewall anyway. Are there examples of remakes and further development of an old game title that actually succeeded? I’m thinking that Streets of Rage remake here but did it have the ok from the creators?

Lurker Keith says:

Re: FFVIIHD probably never going to happen

It’s worse than that. & we’re approaching FFXV, currently; but personally, I would’ve used XIII 3 as my example…

Square has outright told fans there are NO plans to remake VII until they [figure out how to] make a FF that is more popular/ profitable than VII. The likelihood of that, w/o doing FFVIIHD itself, is abysmally tiny.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: FFVIIHD probably never going to happen

There are attempts of the fans to bring FFVII to HD and some are pretty decent. I don’t have the links right now. However instead of letting it happen Square has blocked those attempts while flat out stating there will not be an official remake. I’d think that it’s about time they put the FF series to rest and starting over from how crappy some of the more recent titles are.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

Are there examples of remakes and further development of an old game title that actually succeeded? I’m thinking that Streets of Rage remake here but did it have the ok from the creators?

There are many remakes of old 8-bit games such as Ghostbusters, Exolon, Paradroid, Robocop, etc. Also, Oolite is a virtual clone of Elite for more modern systems.

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