So… Metroid has reached it’s 30 year birthday. Still, it’s sorta sad that Nintendo doesn’t seem to care about the series anymore. With Metroid Prime: Federation Force (or “Metroid Party”) being the only thing that Nintendo does for the franchise’s 30 year celebration it’s sorta sad to see this series, which is responsible for an entire gaming genre I might add, being left behind, having it’s last canon game (Metroid Other M, which has it’s own backlash) in 2010.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because recently a fan has released their own fangame. Another Metroid 2 Remake, or AM2R, is a full remake of the original Metroid 2 for the Gameboy. Although I haven’t played it (was sorta off the gaming news grid for a couple days because reasons), it looks like the game has received a huge overhaul, with e.g. art in the style of Zero Mission. Now, as much as I would like to link you to a copy of it, I can’t. Why? Because Nintendo has been DMCAing all online copies. Of course this doesn’t mean that the game is unobtainable (it keeps getting reuploaded and there are several torrents).
Think of it what you will (I personally think they’re being complete jackasses by doing this, the law be damned), but it also poses an interesting discussion.
Fangames/remakes (and by extension romhacks) are an interesting topic amongst game publishers. Many either have a blind eye to them, whereas others have even gone as far and hire those making fangames (Valve and SEGA). Unfortunatley there are also game publishers that don’t stand for any type of fangame and C&D someone when the word is so much as mentioned.
Nintendo falls in the first category most of the time as there are thousands of shitty Mario flash games out there and the amount of Pokémon ROMhacks is too many to count. Nintendo only shuts down ROMhacks and flash games when there is the potential to make money from one of the concepts in those games (Hundreds of SMW ROM Hacks got shut down in the weeks before Super Mario Maker1) or when a fangame catches the attention of the likes of Kotaku and IGN.
The latter is what happened to AM2R. It got a lot of attention (also from the aforementioned news outlets) and got then DMCA’ed by Nintendo. It is intersting to note here that Nintendo only shut the project down after it got the attention of the news outlets. The fangame itself has been in development for many years actually and Nintendo didn’t bat an eye. Only now that it’s out, and it’s actually good they slammed it with the DMCA notice. The reasoning is clear: Nintendo is still selling Metroid 2 on the eShop as a Virtual Console and AM2R is free and looks a lot better. That doesn’t make it any less of a shitty move though.
The developer at least doesn’t seem to concerned, mostly because Nintendo didn’t actually C&D him2 and only issued DMCA’s against the hosted files. He also intends to continue updating and fixing bugs according to a post on his development blog 2.
Now I’m curious: What is your stance on fangames and the entire AM2R drama? Tell me in the comments section.
Upd8 16/9/16: AM2R development is cancelled. DoctorM64 got DMCA’ed by email this time. 3