from the samus-on-you dept
For gamers who are fans of Nintendo, it's always helpful to remember that Nintendo hates you. The general idea behind that mantra is that Nintendo, when faced between embracing the creativity and love that comes from its fans and acting like over-protective toddlers when it comes to any sort of its intellectual property, will always choose the latter. The company has issued takedowns for fan-made Mario Bros. levels just as it released Mario Maker, it as made a habit of shutting down fan-films depicting Nintendo characters, and it has even shut down fan get-togethers centered around beloved Nintendo properties just because they aren't "official." To be clear, Nintendo certainly can ensure that all of this free advertising for its products is never seen or enjoyed by the public legally, but it doesn't have to. It could instead embrace the love of its fans and work out an arrangement that would protect its IP while still allowing its fans to be fans.
But that doesn't happen, because Nintendo just cannot help itself. And that continues to the present, with Nintendo shutting a fan remake of a 25 year old game just as it was released, citing intellectual property concerns.
AM2R is a remake of Metroid II: The Return of Samus, a sequel to the popular Metroid on NES, which Nintendo released on the Game Boy back in in 1991. The fan remake, in development since 2012, adds improved sprite graphics and new gameplay in the style of Metroid Zero Mission -- a remake released by Nintendo -- on the Game Boy Advance. Released on August 6, and just in time for Metroid’s 30th anniversary, filesharing sites hosting AM2R were notified to remove the game by Nintendo’s legal counsel according to Polygon.
“Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans,” reads a statement provided to IGN by a Nintendo representative. “But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects.”
As we have detailed entirely too many times in the past, that last bit about fans making fan works weakening IP protections and preventing new projects isn't remotely true. There are many avenues a company like Nintendo can pursue in reaction to this. DMCA takedowns and legal threats are but one of those avenues. Another would be to offer these projects a cheap license to make them "official" while still letting the projects go off unhindered. That Nintendo wishes to pretend like that avenue doesn't exist is disappointing, but not surprising.
Keep in mind that this game is decades old and was released for free, making it a non-commercial venture that was little other than an expression of fanship and love from dedicated gamers who are (were?) fans of Nintendo. What business sense it makes to stomp on those fans' devotion is a complete mystery to me.