As you may have seen from my recent theory, recently news has gone out that yes, the well-received Metroid II Remake, AM2R was indeed taken down by a legitimate law firm under NOA. Despite recent events providing a valid point on how it could have easily been faked, it seems that somehow Nintendo decided that now was the only justifiable time that they could take down the project, instead of the past ten years that they had to kill this fangame. Why wait until now? Why do it on the 30th anniversary of a dormant (but still well-respected) franchise? Those are some of the questions fans have been asking themselves since the takedowns started up, and having observed the entire situation, I think I can gather bits and pieces on why this depressing act was done, and why folks may just have to let it go.
To start things off, let’s go back to my point in the theory about NCL having to be the one in charge of legal takedowns. While some have pointed out that a jurisdiction would be able to perform a takedown, there are still plenty of things NCL has done in particular that shows they have a very different outlook on things compared to NOA. Like I mentioned before, the Nintendo Creator’s Program, the often over-exaggerated youtube program they run is done by NCL, proven due to the Japanese focus of the site and the lack of options for western-exclusive titles. (even the ones that aren’t made by a second or third party, such as StarTropics) NCL is also the one who sends the auto-ID matches for any youtube videos containing their IP, and they mostly could care less about youtube as a whole. (If them cutting off likes and comments on every video uploaded to their own youtube channel isn’t an indication of that already.)
Nintendo of America on the other hand? They tend to reach out to the youtube community quite often, whether its by inviting them to E3, letting them get review copies of future titles or by having a big youtuber like ProJared join them in conversation. They also tend to be more open and reply to some local issues if they arise, and answer the occasional fanmail via Nintendo Minute. (Of course, after no doubt pushing aside the armies of Cranky Kong clones on the internet who ask stupid questions) Of course, as pointed out in the theory updates, they do take action if needed, such as with the two fan-films mentioned.
However, there’s a big difference between the fanfilms and AM2R, and the difference is that the films were asking for money in order to use Nintendo IP without legal consent, while AM2R was free and made by one person. When it comes to asking for money to create a project using an IP that you don’t own, legal action is almost assured to be taken against you, due to it breaking the law. Technically, free fangames also suffer from breaking the rule of using IP without consent, but the reason most of those get a free pass is because they are free. Most of the time, they are zero threat to the original IP and just some small project made by a fan, and not something on a wider scale.
So why is AM2R offensive to Nintendo? Why kill a fangame that’s a celebration of a series that hasn’t had an original entry since 2002? (This is referring to the games with a concrete timeline, which are the 2D games, and not counting any spinoff series or remakes. Basically, any Metroid game referred to in-game with a roman numeral.) Well, as much as I hate to admit this now, I think it was solely due to the publicity it was getting. Think about it, with the finalized game being released and internet fansites celebrating in joy, that raises awareness for the project, no doubt to the point NOA/NCL employees got wind of this and grew concerned. Therefore, despite their usual track record towards free fangames and the proven instances of the fake takedowns, I suspect that Nintendo simply shot down the project due to the growth it was getting, and how they didn’t want a fangame to seem more important than their soon-to-be-released Metroid Prime: Federation Force game. With a new game on the horizon, (No matter how badly some crazy people want it to be cancelled) Nintendo technically has a legal right to be concerned and take action, as much as it’ll hurt a lot of folks to hear that. Does that make it any more right? No, absolutely not, although such is the depressing reality of making a fanproject. You’re stepping over a tightrope of legal issues or conflicts, and one slight move can make you fall into the abyss of a shutdown.
It’s great that AM2R at least saw the light of day for a little bit, and no doubt the memory and the files will stay alive in some form on the internet, but it’s also understandable to see a major corporation taking action on a franchise with a new entry heading our way in a week and a half from now. Needless to say, this whole mess of a situation is one of many that can happen if you use a company IP without their consent, since sadly not all fangame creators can become the next Taxman.
But in all honesty, what I feel is even more sad will be how this will follow the usual cycle of out-of-control outrage. Fans will hear the bad news, throw a fit on the internet and send hatemail towards anyone they can blame, saying things along the lines of “IM GONNA SELL MY ENTIRE NINTENDO COLLECTION BECUZ UR STOOPID NIN10DOUGH1!1”, get cranky and start pointless boycotts, see that nobody cares anymore, give up and forget all about it until the next time something like this happens. I saw this cycle happen after the Super Mario 64 HD takedown, and I’ve started to see signs of this behavior already for AM2R.
I guess to conclude this article of rambling, please be civil about this entire situation. If you don’t like Nintendo’s action, that’s fine, but no need to throw a public tantrum on the internet and scream at them. I’m sure the creator of AM2R wouldn’t want that to happen, so please at least have some courtesy when expressing your disappointment. Nevertheless, the reality is Nintendo was doing their legal duty of protecting their IP, no matter how much it sucks to see a great game get pulled down. Nintendo isn’t some small studio who talks to fans on a daily basis, they are a major corporation who wants everything to play out in their eyes, and while NOA is certainly nicer with fans compared to NCL, the fact remains that they’ll do whatever they want, whether we like it or not. There’s no point in “boycotting” them because of this, nor is there any point in making snotty remarks about how you’ll buy a PS4 Neo instead of Codename NX, because in the end, you’ll forget about it, and move onto more important issues in the real world, and Nintendo won’t care one bit about your complaints.
Until next time, I’m off to some rest, and your regularly scheduled reviews will continue.