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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 4:10pm

    Senator Armstrong would be proud.

    COPYRIGHT, SON.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    PlagueSD (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 4:53pm

    Coming Soon to Steam...

    Konami to remake the original 1987 NES title, Metal Gear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Coming Soon to Steam...

    No doubt about , let the fans do all the marketing about it's remake then slide right in and suck up the profits

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:04pm

    One would think a takedown and info that a matter was in the hands of attorneys in Japan would be a clue that perhaps the project was not "full speed ahead", even if a company person in the UK was a supporter of the project.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:20pm

    Metal Gear shall be remade on the Fox Engine, that's most likely why this fan game got cancelled.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    What gives?

    I swear: I have read this article, or one very much like it, on this site, before today. The Google cached version of an Aug 15 story ... has today's stories in the "recent stories" box, so I'm guessing it wasn't a full-depth cache.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Pegr, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:36pm

    All on account of cash

    The project is impossible to "monetize" if the ownership is in the undefined hands of a bunch of coder hippies. Better to whack it now, chase down the IP, then release it as you like.

    Still, the approach is "bad faith".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:22pm

    I guess I don't understand why they can't just continue. I see mods all the time that use copyrighted material without any permission. I certainly see why that can't be a commercial project but otherwise I see it like fan fiction or just fan artwork.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:47pm

    Re: What gives?

    Check the first link in the article, it leads to a number of other, similar articles about fan creations being squashed(and at least one where they weren't, courtesy of Double Fine), which might be causing the confusion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:50pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:12am

    I think that's what I might call

    Damning with high praise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 1:53am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 3:43am

    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?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 3:54am

    Re:

    Oh, they probably could still legally pursue it under Fair Use (assuming Fair Use applies wherever they are). That doesn't prevent Konami Japan from suing them indefinitely for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 4:01am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 4:32am

    PS devs are like that. They dont give a single fuck about fans or players, only the money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 5:31am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: FFVIIHD probably never going to happen

    They won't do it.

    They recent put the FF7+8 ports on steam and they sold like hotcakes. Why bother remaking when the fans will lap up ports?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    This. It's a mistake that comes from naivety, but a mistake nonetheless. Two mistakes, actually. First, if it's not in writing, then it doesn't count. Second, if it's being finalized or reviewed by a legal team, that means it's not a done deal no matter what verbal assurances were given.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Re:

    But chasing away your best customers/evangelists (incredibly dedicated fans) with stunts like these isn't good for your bottom line either. It's lose/lose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 22nd, 2014 @ 1:35am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 22nd, 2014 @ 1:39am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.