Bombed: SEGA On Streets Of Rage Shutdown

By Jim Rossignol on April 13th, 2011 at 12:10 pm.


Last week SEGA ordered that the Streets Of Rage remake – a faithful fan (reportedly eight years in development) recreation by Bomber Gamers that we previously reported on – be taken down by its creators. Subsequently, SEGA issued this statement:

“SEGA is committed to supporting any fans that take an interest in our games, and where possible we do so by involving them in Beta tests and other development, marketing or research opportunities. However we need to protect our intellectual property rights and this may result in us requesting that our fans remove online imagery, videos or games in some instances.”

Fairly tragic, I think. Is there any good news today?

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146 Comments »

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  1. Po0py says:

    Never understood the argument of stomping on fans of a defunct franchise to “protect our intellectual property”. The whole point of fan remakes is that they keep interest in the game alive. If anything Sega should be encouraging this. But instead they choose to shoot themselves in the foot.
    Wankers.

    • Bhazor says:

      The reason why they might not be happy with a free fan version.

      http://store.steampowered.com/app/71165/

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      So in other words, because the fan versions is miles better than that crappy emulated port that costs far too much money.

    • frenz0rz says:

      It really is much better than any SoR title that Sega have produced. I’ve been playing it through with my housemate over the last week or so and everything about it is amazing – the variety levels and different paths, the brilliant music, the varied bosses, everything. Its such a shame Sega had to ruin it. That said, if there are still copies of Marvel Brothel floating around the internet, then theres plenty of hope for something this well made.

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      frenz0rz if they spent that amount of time making a game that good, why couldn’t they go the extra few steps & make an original IP?

      It’s not like it needs to be terribly original. Dudes fighting other dudes that look a bit different from the Streets of Rage characters wouldn’t be the most difficult thing in the world to imagine (see Final Fight by Capcom ironically released 2 years in arcades before Streets of Rage debuted on the Megadrive)

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      Napalm Sushi says:

      I still can’t believe that the standard copyright term for a work produced by a corporation is 95 years after publication. That’s fucking insane. I can understand wanting to keep hold of, for instance, a long running, iconic logo, but surely the laws dealing with things like that should be separate from those dealing with complex, sprawling, consumable works like books and computer games?

    • frenz0rz says:

      @Malibu Stacey

      I think you might be missing the point a little. The whole reason that these guys spent eight years making this was because they loved Streets of Rage. The music, the levels, the characters, the weapons – part of what makes it so enjoyable for me is that it stimulates my nostalgia glands to the point of euphoric intoxication. Sure, they could have changed the entire game to make it some fun yet generic sidescrolling beat’em up, but thats probably not why they started working on this project in the first place.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I guess they figure people will go and get the free one rather than buy their version. Their money-cock has been threatened so they are shafting the modders with said money-cock.

      By this of course I mean a huge male chicken with lots of dollar bills instead of feathers.

    • LionsPhil says:

      And? I like Deus Ex, but that’s not an excuse or justification for me to go and make my own clone of it (for the sake of argument pretend that were feasible) and try to undercut the legitimate exploitation of that old IP on Steam.

      This is Sega protecting themselves from intellectual property theft, plain and simple.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      As its a free fan version, it can’t be theft. No money changes hands – what it actually is is potential lost sale. So it is revenue protection, yes – but it can’t really be considered theft as the modders get nothing, except downloads and attention.

      An example is the Black Mesa Source mod – a complete rebuilding of Half Life 1 in the newer source engine. Valve are quite happy for it to be released, even though you can still buy Half Life 1. Its the same thing, its just that valve don’t seem to be reacting how SEGA are reacting. SEGA have every right to, but it will unfortunately make them seem a little sour. Reputation management is important in business as I’m sure you know, and I find it hard to believe that SEGA see sales of SOR as a major income source. The goodwill they have probably sacrificed with this move could be worth more than the sales of SOR. Just a thought …

    • LionsPhil says:

      I don’t think you understand the term “intellectual property theft”. By your argument sharing MP3s isn’t piracy since you don’t charge anyone money for them.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      @LionsPhil

      Are you seriously comparing fan games to piracy?

      Wow. Just wow.

    • Tuco says:

      @LionPhil: I don’t think you understand how stupid your argument sounds, on the other hand.

    • frenz0rz says:

      @SuperNashwanPower

      Wouldnt it be hilarious if, upon the release (if it ever happens) of Black Mesa Source, after years of hard work and fan salivation, Valve decided to immediately shut down the mod team and threaten to sue them? Oh wait, hang on. Did I say hilarious? I meant tragically unfunny.

      Even so, it would be more or less the equivalent of what Sega have done here – allow a mod team who have repeatedly asked Sega if what they’re doing is ‘Ok’ to work on a game for eight years of their lives, only to stamp their faces into the ground with a pair of steel, spiked boots a few days after release.

      Eight years. I mean, bloody hell. Eight years ago I was thirteen years old, and too busy preparing for my Year 9 SATS to be worried about this sort of thing.

    • SuperNashwan says:

      On the other hand, SEGA restrained themselves from trying to shut down the project until it was done and widely distributed. If you were being generous you might surmise someone wanted the fan game to be released but still needed to protect the IP so silly US laws don’t mean SEGA are seen to have abandoned it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Sorry lion but that made you sound like a plum im afraid.

      It would be more like someone covering a song and then giving it away for free. It doesn’t compare to piracy.

    • Bhazor says:

      SuperNashwan

      I honestly hadn’t thought of that but it does make a lot of sense. It would explain some of the other mods and projects that were supported by the original makers and then banned on release.

      But of course it doesn’t paint Sega as the new Activision so I don’t suppose many others will agree with it. Remember developers: Protecting your copyright makes you evil.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      @ DrGonzo yes thats how I see it too

      Also hello to other SuperNashwan person again :) Good name and good point well made. (Did you know that Nashwan was a racing horse? The bitmap brothers loved their horsies apparently. Pew pew pew! I always had auto-fire, which some say is cheating :) Boo to them.)

    • aerozol says:

      LionsPhil is kind of right. I am finishing up my studies to become a creative in the industry, and it’s the much hated ‘intellectual property’ I perceive to be valuable, because hopefully someone will pay me for that in the future. It’s all about encouraging the exposure of good ideas and progress, so the user gets a better product (which (c) law mainly fails at, but that’s for another discussion).
      I pirate a lot, but these things are never black and white, which is good to remember. Big shame here though : (

  2. Teddy Leach says:

    That was eight years or hard work. Bastards. At least I still have my copy, and they’re not taking it away from me.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if copies turn up over the internet for a brief period of time here and there for people too slow on the uptake to grab a copy.

      That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

      Not even a little bit.

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      Cinek says:

      Well, someone in a protest will throw it onto torrent site and it’ll be floating around the Internet eternally.

      Sega – eat your rage.

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      Andy_Panthro says:

      Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were available, perhaps on some sort of German website.

      For an example of a typical German website, I have attached this random link which I am sure has no relevance to the current conversation.

      http://www.chip.de/downloads/Streets-of-Rage-Remake_48244526.html

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Yeah, at least in this case they were smart enough to release their IP-infringing work before it got noticed enough to trigger a cease-and-desist letter. All too often teams put up a promotional site and release a trailer or something, which is just begging for the project to be shut down before it can be released.

      Anyway, if they want to legally distribute it, all they have to do is remove enough of Sega’s IP that it can stand on its own. They’re talented enough; it shouldn’t be hard. And, as a bonus, it turns into their own brand-new intellectual property that they can treat as they see fit.

    • Nomaki says:

      Why, many thanks for providing a link to such an unrelated yet informative article.
      I was unaware of this situation, and appreciate the chance to uh, interact with this shutdown project.

  3. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Oh no! They were working on this for so many years (Since 2003, i think).
    I know its SEGAs legal right, but is the remake actually hurting them? I think its a pretty good advert for what they do, and as much as I love the game, I wouldnt even know if they are avalible for purchase on PC.

    I hope the team can reskin, because they have added an insane amount of content. Its their game now.

  4. Valvarexart says:

    Why would they do that?! It’s just pure evil! They aren’t making any losses from having the game out there!

  5. Bhazor says:

    To which all I can say is
    “Why the heck did they use the original sprites?”

    From what I’ve seen the game is mostly new content anyway and if they’d done a few new sprites, or even just edited the existing ones, they would never have been in danger.

    They might have even be able to sell it. For money.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      They didn’t. None of the assets in the Remake were ripped from the original games. All of it was recreated.

      That said, it hardly matters. The game is out now, and pretty much everywhere. SEGA stomping on it will ensure that people distribute this for a while yet. The Remake will probably get a wider audience because of it.

      One can only hope this ends up bloodying SEGA’s nose (even though realistically it most likely won’t), especially if they took it down now to push the repackaged ROMs they’re selling on Steam.

    • Alextended says:

      Uh, yes they did. The biggest visual change they did is they enhanced the SOR1 enemy sprites to look closer to SOR2 which had better graphics. They ripped backgrounds, characters, etc, except for some new enemies and bosses (some of which are edited King of Fighters sprites and the like by the way) and some more enhancements here and there. The tracks are also remixes of the originals. The cut scenes are all new. Basically, it’s a game remix with some new things, not a remake (so it’s funny people boast it’s so superior to the original games, of course it is, it combines all three in one, and it’s free, lol). You really can’t tell?
      http://store.steampowered.com/app/71164/
      http://store.steampowered.com/app/71165/
      What they did recreate rather than rip/port/emulate is the programming. Lacking the source code they just recreated the games’ features as experienced.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      What Alexander Norris means is what he said, they didnt rip any of the resources. They didnt take any of the code. They made it all themselves, copying the look and feel of the games.
      The difference is me making an engine, from scratch that feels exactly like half life, and making a skin, from scratch, that resembles barney perfectly or taking the resources from the game, and copying them over and tweaking them.
      They did the first.
      So yeah, its a remake, because them made something from scratch that had been made before.

    • Alextended says:

      And what I said is that Alexander Norris (& you) is wrong because sprites and backgrounds were in fact ripped straight from the original games. Some of them were edited after the fact, others remain virtually unchanged, a few are all new. And yes, I said it myself that the actual programming appears to be all new.

      I love how they say this in their terms of use: The custom sprites (edits or even new), remixes, artwork and new or remastered stages belong to the respective artists and are not to be used or altered without the consent of their authors.

      As if they had SEGA’s consent for their content, lol.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Im sure i read them say they had previously asked sega for the ok and were given it.

    • Alextended says:

      They never got the ok. Their side is that they sent an e-mail to ask. They were told they should send a formal letter for these things. They sent a formal letter. They never mention receiving a response to that. It might as well have been lost in the shuffle if they received, I imagine they get many.

  6. frenz0rz says:

    Without wanting to loudly invite a lawsuit from Sega, thank God I downloaded this before they were shut down, cause its bloody excellent. It always infuriates me when this sort of thing happens. I remember that stunning 3D Chrono Trigger remake that got shut down after years of development, despite the devs repeated stating their intentions to Square since day one. And lets not forget the tragedy of Marvel Brothel…

  7. Meusli says:

    Why let them do it for eight years then say nope, no more. Not as if it’s all over the internet now anyway.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I was wondering this – it seems sadistic to let people work for eight years and then stop them once they’ve finally reached their goal. The only reason I can think is that if a company tried to stop these things when they’re in development it would be a never ending job.

      I mean, think of the number of Mods that use a company’s IP. There must be hundreds of thousands of which the number which actually get released is tiny. It’s far, far easier to go after that handful than it is to go after those in development hell.

      And although it’s not something I like, Sega have every right to do this, especially if they are still selling the game that’s being remade on Steam. In fact, they would arguably be breaking laws if they didn’t go after remakes which encroach on their IP (although aren’t there remakes of Sonic and, for Nintendo, Mario?).

    • Archonsod says:

      They wouldn’t be breaking the law, but they would be risking their ability to exploit the IP. If someone released a remake called Lanes of Anger and they didn’t shut it down it would mean competitors could release their own incredibly similar games based off the Lanes of Anger franchise. Or so many people release their own variations on Roads of Disagreement that the court ends up declaring it generic, though that’s probably a bit unlikely.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Yes – there are two legal issues. Firstly, as you say, normally to be entitled to the legal protections of IP you need to demonstrate that you are actively pursuing the protection of that IP. You can’t allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to release a ManShoot 500 clone for 20 years, each of which become famous in their own right, then suddenly claim that you have the right to stop all ManShoot 500 clones.

      But directors of companies are (also) normally under a duty to increase the return to shareholders – a legal duty. And that duty involves protecting assets, such as IP. Ergo, Sega’s directors might be breaching their legal duty to their shareholders if they didn’t pursue IP infringers aggressively. It’s that duty that I meant – not that I believe they would be breaching that duty (it’s possible to chalk allowing this remake down to increasing goodwill about the company, raising the company’s profile thus increasing sales), but it’s an argument you could reasonably make.

      Edit: And I’m willing to bet Sega’s legal dept do make (to err on the side of caution)

    • Archonsod says:

      Japan has no legal obligation to increase value for shareholders, it’s only the US and UK really that do that. Although I don’t think it goes as far as Germany in legally ensuring firms cannot be run for the share holder’s benefit. In fact I think Japan is tops in terms of how little influence shareholders can exert over a company; about the only thing they can do is vote in directors, but the CEO decides who can be nominated in the first place.

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      TeraTelnet says:

      This is all true, but I would love to see how effective the doctrine of estoppel might be against a publisher who has been made aware of such a remake (as I understand was the case here, via a letter sent by the devs) but had not acted promptly on such knowledge.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      That’s interesting, Archonsod. I wonder if that’s as controversial over there (what with the stagnant economy Japan is infamous for) as the duty towards shareholders is becoming here (e.g. it’s a useful shield to prevent any sort of agreement on banker’s bonuses “Oh, we have to do that because it draws the best people which in turn generates wealth for our shareholders so we have no choice, guv’nr”). Any idea? I would think it might discourage investment at the least (but am happy to be wrong).

      And yeah, TeraTelnet, estoppel was the first thing I thought of when people said they already had permission. You can bet Sega would be able to say the people who gave the go ahead didn’t have authority to do that and so Sega aren’t bound because of a lack of agency. Also (estoppel isn’t my forte so apologies) does estoppel apply to IP protections? The case law I remember applies estoppel to already existing, negotiated contracts – it was enforcement of the contract that was estopped. Where’s the consideration? Oh, for the days of Denning…

      But of course, even he wouldn’t help; I have no idea which jurisdiction would apply but I doubt it would be England.

      Wow. Stumbled off topic. Sega sucks.

    • Starky says:

      Was half asleep and wrong, deleted.

    • Dominic White says:

      And to drive this home, the game opens with a splash-screen reiterating that Streets of Rage is a registered trademark of Sega, and that this is a fan-work with absolutely no intent to usurp or replace such things.

      Which I’d imagine would actually strengthen the whole ‘Sega owning Streets Of Rage’ thing, rather than being an attack on it. But maybe I’m just being crazy.

    • robtoo says:

      Starky, you appear to be slightly confused. Copyright, patents, and trademarks are all forms of intellectual property. Yes, you have to defend trademarks, but that doesn’t mean that trademarks aren’t intellectual property.

    • Dominic White says:

      Defending a trademark from a fan-game that reiterates up-front that the trademark fully belongs to Sega? That makes no sense.

  8. Lilliput King says:

    Fucking hell. Not impressed.

  9. Valvarexart says:

    Where can I get the game now?!

    • Lilliput King says:

      Well, there’s always torrents. It might survive there if it’s lucky.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I just checked and v5’s all over google and torrent sites.

    • Vague-rant says:

      Thankyouverymuch.

      Also, does this support local co-op with 360 controllers? By does I of course mean “did”, past tense.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      As far as I’m aware, yes it did. Of course, I don’t have a 360 controller, being a militant WASD man.

    • airtekh says:

      @Vague-rant

      Works fine with my 360 controller. I’d imagine it would work with two plugged in as well.

      You’ll want to reconfigure the default buttons though, as they’re horrible.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Teddy – I too am a militant WASD man.

      We seem to have a lot in common, what with both of us having sub-par PC’s and militant views on control systems. The next logical step is to make some sort of radical organization.

    • Meusli says:

      I have had it with two controllers working, just make sure there are no other control devices plugged in. It tried to make my flight sim throttle a device to use. :/

  10. MD says:

    Man, I’m going to think twice next time I see the Sega logo on a game I want to buy. If they really had to do this for some arcane trademark-protection, reason, they can come out and explain exactly why it was necessary. Otherwise, what a bunch of chumps.

  11. SanguineAngel says:

    Not just tragic but also callous, soulless and f***ing pathetic. Eight years of work? Do these people not have any humanity or compassion within them at all?

    I know they are a business but they are also people and capable of handling these things on a case by case basis where appropriate. This kind of mindless destruction and/or disregard for people makes me feel sick.

    Edit: The word I was reaching for is “disgusted”. I am disgusted with SEGA’s behaviour and this WILL affect my buying habbits. Which is not often the case!

  12. icupnimpn2 says:

    The game is great and probably better than anything Sega will do with the license, but this is the same old story all over again. Oh well. In 100 years SoR will be in the public domain and we can freely distribute the remake. Looking forward to playing on my retina screens with my fellow transhumans at that time.

  13. diebroken says:

    In other words: SEGA politely asking fans to legitimately buy their classics on Steam…? Bhazor says:
    04/13/2011 at 12:20
    The reason why they might not be happy with a free fan version.
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/71165/

    Good news! Various Steam game updates were released (ok, yesterday) to celebrate the upcoming release of Portal 2 – yay!

  14. airtekh says:

    This is so stupid. The devs even contacted Sega prior to development to get their blessing. Guess they didn’t realise how good it would turn out to be.

    I’m glad I managed to download it in time because I’ve been having terrific fun with it.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    In the same way that Sega have been quite lenient with fan implementations of Sonic and things like that I suspect if this was Streets of Rage with original content and not a carbon copy of an available game they would be just as lenient. In this instance however it could hurt sales for them and is a copy of a game they currently have available so they are honour bound (in defence of their property) to take it down.
    I don’t see why not, as is so common when this happens, that after a bit of to and frowing it may re-appear. If it’s a good implementation under the bonnet they could rejig its content perhaps?

    • Lilliput King says:

      I would say that given that they gave the project the okay they are honour bound not to take it down, personally.

    • Dominic White says:

      It IS Streets Of Rage with new content. There may be levels similar to the originals, but nothing is identical. It’s elements of the entire SoR series combined into a singular entity, with a new plot, a lot of completely new levels, new characters, etc.

  16. terry says:

    “We want you to stop distributing improved version of our classic games because it limits our ability to release low-effort packaged roms for inflated prices”.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    >Fairly tragic, I think. Is there any good news today?

    Swedish economy is doing really well. Oh right, games…

    There is a very big bug fixing and stability- and performance-increasing patch coming for Fallout: New Vegas ahead of the new DLC “Honest Hearts”.
    http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php?/topic/1179411-an-update-from-bethesda/

    The Kickstarter for awesome looking indie title No Time to Explain has raised almost twice the asked amount in just three days. 43 days left to donate!
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1296948465/no-time-to-explain-indie-game

    There are rumours Portal 2 will arrive a week early (this Friday) but I’ll believe it when I see it.
    http://www.bluesnews.com/s/120654/portal-2-early

  18. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Now watch as the Streisand effect kicks in and this is torrented far and wide. Seriously, if Sega’s goal is to prevent the remake from spreading then this is the single worst thing they could have done.

    • Archonsod says:

      If Sega’s goal were to prevent the remake they’d have probably sent a cease and desist out eight years ago when they asked them for permission. Or even last week when the game came out.

      Seems a lot more to me like they’ve decided they’d let it run for a bit to generate the free publicity and then shut it down to protect their IP, and probably hoping there’s a whole bunch of nostalgic fans who were too slow to grab the download when it was available that they can now point to their own re-release on Steam.

      Not that I’m cynical or anything.

  19. karry says:

    I’ve seen it on various torrents, cant take it down anymore.

  20. Icarus says:

    This will possibly be the bluntest, harshest comment I have left on RPS to date.

    Dear Sega: go fuck yourselves.

  21. Latterman says:

    so what, it sucks for the developers that they can’t share it officially anymore and probably generate some ad revenue on the way. but it has been released, it’s out there and will spread.

    all SEGA gets is a bad rep.

    • Wulf says:

      Is Sega publically owned? If it is, then they likely have to do things like this to please their shareholders and people invested in their IPs, we’ve seen it all too often before.

      But like I said – the fact that they waited until the project was completed and available all over the Internet is telling, don’t you think?

  22. kikito says:

    ♪Toooo-rreeeeent♪ is the new ♪Seeee-gaaaaaa♪.

  23. WASD says:

    Some news here Jim – That Sega Mega Drive Classics Collection that was on sale on Steam a few weeks back has had an update. Six games have been added:
    Sonic 1
    Sonic 2
    Sonic 3 +Knuckles
    Sonic Spinball
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

    According to Valve in this thread http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1832357

    “All Sonic-related games have been added to the full classic collection pack to those who purchased it up until now.

    Bundle pack currently offered on the store, starting now, will not include any Sonic games. ”
    ____________

    Will we be playing Portal 2 this Friday? http://www.vg247.com/2011/04/13/portal-2-to-release-early-potato-sack-arg-signs-point-to-yes/

    • PacoX8 says:

      If I could repped you (like steam forums) I would, thanks for the info

  24. nemryn says:

    Alright Sega, you’ve made your request. Now you can let it drop.

  25. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    The devs knew this would happen all along, as did anyone who knows the first thing about copyright law, it’s brilliant to be able to play streets of rage again without having to pay sega for it, saying that it is still a tragedy, what they should’ve done, was to release it without the derivative assets bundled & let you retrieve those assets from your streets of rage cartridges, they would’ve been in a very safe legal position in that case.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    I hate to play the devil’s advocate here but this remake was eight years in development and it never occurred to them that it might be copyright infringement? It appears to me that it is common knowledge for modders/developers to not use stuff from copyrighted IPs. Every other week some mod or remake gets shut down like the Lord of Rings thing for Morrowind or the more recent World of Starcraft. This is a very predictable reaction.
    Can you really blame Sega for wanting to make money with one of their products?
    The remake-developers simply should have asked Sega beforehand and in case they said no, go on and name it Stroll of Anger or something and alter it in such a way that it can’t be taken down.

    • Baggypants says:

      The Allyways of Asskickery was one of my favourites in this vein.

    • athropos says:

      They DID ask Sega repeatedly over the years. and Sega has always said thye were ok with it. Now that the game is released in an extremely high quality and polished format, Sega pulled the plug. Fuck them, I got the game and I’ll keep playing this great remake for years.

      Sega has never been anything but a shitty publisher with a few hidden gems in their lineup. It’s been like this since the master system came out.

    • Premium User Badge

      WombatDeath says:

      Perhaps that was Sega’s plan – the project is out there and will no doubt remain so, while they get to state that they’re protecting their IP.

  27. oatmeal says:

    1. They knew what they did was illegal.
    2. The game is already out and available to anyone who wants it (torrents, etc.)

  28. pipman3000 says:

    sorry sega i’m still not going to buy your shitty collection of roms no matter how many fan remakes you shut down. hook back up with camelot and make a real shining force game you pack of weasels

  29. Wulf says:

    What interests me is that Sega waited until it was completed before ‘pulling the plug’ on it. They could’ve done that at any time, with any of the prior versions, at any point. It was their right to do so. But they waited until the final version was released and spread all out across the Internet, giving everyone and their dog a chance to grab it. (I have it, too.)

    I call shenanigans.

    If this wasn’t a deliberate wait, then I’ll eat my favourite hat. They had to protect their IP, sure, otherwise it becomes open for anyone to use, and yet they waited. They made a show of force to tell people that their IP was still theirs, but they allowed those fans to finish their labour of love, first.

    I’m on to you, Sega. You clever bastards. I’m sure this pleased their legal department, anyone invested in their IPs, and it allowed the fans to finish their game.

    • athropos says:

      They got scared at the insane quality of it, that’s what happened. Oh shit, a bunch of amateurs managed to outdo us on EVERY front, better shut it down!

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t buy that, sorry.

      You’re talking like there haven’t been four prior versions, all of equal quality. Version 4.0 was amazingly good as well. And yet they waited until the fan devs said that 5.0 was their final before letting loose with the cease and desist. Why wait? They could’ve slapped that cease and desist down at any time!

      To me, there’s only one explanation that makes sense.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Nah. I don’t see why you’d attribute this to benevolence. It’s only this latest version that really hit the big time, getting on all the news websites and such. Sega had already okayed the project, but Sega isn’t one person. Likelihood is that the sudden explosion of media coverage brought the project to the attention of someone else, and they moved to shut it down immediately.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t get that. I’ve seen 4.0 mentioned on plenty of other news sites, it’s just that it’s the first time it’s showed up on RPS. I wouldn’t attribute RPS with enough importance to say that it was shut down just because the RPS chaps wrote an article about it. For example: It’s been mentioned a bunch of times on the Indie Games blog. They’ve been talking about it since about ’06, I think.

      And despite it being talked about across the Internet, including on a few big gaming sites, Sega didn’t shut it down until V5 (final). Now the only element I can see that links the two is that RPS posted about it, but is RPS really big enough to be the only concern to them, is it that Sega believes that this is the only site that gamers read? I… don’t think I could ever believe that.

      So I still think that the timing is too perfect.

  30. starclaws says:

    Meh whats stopping them continuing development? Is it really worthwhile to sue a development team that is not taking in revenue or profiting from this just to protect a $2.50 and 10 year old game? To bring in a lawyer for $50,000 for a lawsuit that can’t be payed for? Just like the music industry and cover songs/bands. This is still protected since it is their own recreation and tribute to this game. It would be actually profitably if they offered them that $50,000 to buyout that property and distribute it on steam for $10.99 with further development.

    • Wulf says:

      There was going to be no further development. They said themselves that 5.0 was their final version, and that was that. Sega waited for that before hitting them with the cease and desist. Check their blog.

    • Baines says:

      Unfortunately, “Complete” isn’t necessarily complete. There was a list of bug fixes already in the works when Sega shut it down.

      Also unfortunately, one of the things being fixed was the botched difficulty level that came about from having your game tested only by hardcore fans who had been playing it for years. I don’t know if there were any intentions to improve the also botched unlock system, where you only received unlock points when you managed to beat the game, so dying near the end meant you wasted an hour’s work.

  31. Wulf says:

    You know, this could mean that Sega is saying that half-completed fan games aren’t perceived to be a threat, but if you complete one, then expect to be hit with a cease and desist (but no immediate court cases or anything). Otherwise there’d be news of them going after other projects in the works.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them do more of this once other fan games get completed, because this allows the fans to complete their game, but it also allows the shareholders to feel like Sega are enforcing their own right to their IP. I hope I’m right about this, but it certainly looks like it. The timing was just too perfect, really.

  32. KaL_YoshiKa says:

    Why should anyone condemn SEGA for protecting their damn IP. Yes the game is great, they put a lot of effort into it and it’d be super if SEGA actually said it was okay but they didn’t.
    The big problem is they used sprites from the original games – I’m sorry but they doomed themselves right there.We should all consider ourselves thankful that SEGA didn’t pull the plug until after they released it. If they want to keep profiting on their own IP well that’s their right. If anyone here wrote a book, filmed a movie, published a song or made a game and then had someone release the same thing for free later when it’s clearly your work (especially if it’s still being sold) you can be sure they’d defend it.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Haven’t you read the comments? The devs asked Sega repeatedly over the years if they were OK with it, and each time, Sega said they were.

    • Dominic White says:

      Funny how there’s tons of Nintendo fan-games, remakes (much more direct than SoRR) and more, but Nintendo don’t somehow feel the need to stamp on their most loyal fans and claim that they’re defending themselves.

      And Sega DID give them an okay on the project, years back. Then they finally release it, and NOW they choose to shut it down? It’s a random act of corporate spite, not defense.

      Remember that King’s Quest fan-game that got full authorization, signed and on paper? Then Activision tried to shut it down anyway out of what can only be assumed to be spite. Activision actually changed their tune after pretty much every games site on the internet complained about this.

      So, let’s do the same. Let Sega know that this isn’t cool, and you won’t be buying from them unless they change their plan.

  33. Dominic White says:

    Hurrah for Fileplanet:

    http://www.fileplanet.com/217325/210000/fileinfo/Streets-of-Rage-Remake-(Win7/Vista)-(Free-Game)

    Also, a pile of alternate mirrors:

    http://www.multiupload.com/B7A7GYL2UN

    And one more:

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=AYRPFI29

    Get SoRR v5 there. To hell with Sega – they’ve left the franchise lying abandoned for almost TWO DECADES. And now they come down on fans? NOW? You mean when there’s finally interest in the franchise again? Yeah, fuck em – download the game. It’ll piss off Sega, and that’s exactly what we want.

    • Wulf says:

      Don’t you think it’s interesting though that they waited until 5.0 (Final Version) to do this? They could’ve done it at 4.0, 3.0, or any point. And they’re not stupid, surely they must also realise that by the very virtue of the nature of the Internet, people would spread the game.

      They waited until the game was complete and the devs said that there would be no further development to do this, they gave enough time for a large amount of people to download it, and now folks are spreading it around the Internet. Now it’s ‘out of their control,’ they’ve legally enforced their right to their IP, but the game is still out there.

      I don’t know… it’s one hell of a coincidence.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      @Wulf: It does seem like the worst possible time for them to actually order the cease and desist, yes, so perhaps they have some grand reason to do it at this time? Of course I’m trying to think of a good reason why it isn’t the stupidest fucking time they could have done it, since it’s now unstoppable, and all they’re doing is earning themselves a bad rep from their fans. I’m not a huge Sega fan admittedly, but they’ve still tarnished their name by stomping on their dedicated fans after they gave their blessing.

      If they didn’t like it, they could have asked them so stop any time, but instead they wait 8 freaking years? it’s bananas.

    • psycho7005 says:

      Uh, i think Wulf is saying that Sega wanted the devs to finish the game and put it up for fans, but they obviously had their IP to protect. Therefore they waited til they knew it was up and it’d be unstoppable to slap on a cease and desist.

      Personally, i’m a pessimist and don’t think Sega would want anyone distributing a better version of their game for free when they have the originals on Steam.

  34. StingingVelvet says:

    GOG is going to announce Lucasarts tomorrow. That’s good news.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      WHAT!?
      Truly excellent news, if you turn out to be correct! Got any source? If Grim Fandango is re-released, that will be the happiest news I’ve heard since GoG got Planescape: Torment.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Just go to their site and read the forums. The 4 clues are very obvious.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Well, many different possible interpretations of the clues, though I agree Lucasarts sounds likely. I need to know how to fine tune my anticipation-generator though.

      If “Dream of Stars” means Tie Fighter, “Ride with outlaws” means Full Throttle and “Visit the underworld” means Grim Fandango, then: High.

      If it means Outlaws and Ultima Undeworld: significantly lower, but still fun.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      It’s more like:

      Stars – Star Wars or The Dig
      Outlaws – Outlaws or Full Throttle
      Fear your past – KOTOR
      Underworld – Grim Fandango

      I agree there is a chance it could be other things, but it seems to synch with Lucasarts perfectly.

  35. Sunjammer says:

    How on earth did they not see this coming? They deserved to be shut down for their naïvité alone.

    • Dominic White says:

      They actually asked early in development and got authorization from Sega, who have gone back on their word and shut it down. Apparently ‘trusting the word of a large company’ is naive these days.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you don’t get anything formal in writing, pretty much!

  36. Berzee says:

    I am a hyena.

  37. utharda says:

    Um trusting the word of a large company has always been the worst form of cupidity.

    Also, i’d boycott sega if they produced anything I want to play. Sadly, the only positive memory I have of them is playing NHL 93 on the Genesis with my little brother.

  38. Deano2099 says:

    They care now because it’s popular. And realised that they should have offered the group like $10000 for it and released it commercially, they’d have made a bomb. And it really would be ‘an offer you can’t refuse’ (and why would they? they were going to give it away anyway, and they can’t sell it to anyone else).

    Now they’re trying to shut the stable door.

  39. jstar says:

    It always feels somewhat draconian and unnecessary when large companies stamp on fan projects like this. There must be some way the work can be used to their mutual benefit.
    However, I’m sorry but you really have to question the sanity of someone who works on a project for 8 years that is based on an IP they don’t own, then releases it for download on the internet. There is a way to go about doing these things and that is not it.

    EDIT – I stand corrected, did not realise they had sought permission from SEGA. Still though, a spoken agreement means nothing and everyone knows that.

  40. theblazeuk says:

    The sheer number of apologists for Sega’s peculiar commitment to its fanbase and the number of “Well those guys are just stupid anyway what did they expect” on here is astonishing and soul destroyingly depressing. Corporations aren’t just legally people it seems, to some they’re also equally as deserving of sympathy and understanding.

    BTW I wouldn’t Wulf’s suggestion past them, but I think it’s a bit hopeful. Once it got some buzz PR and the corporates got involved and used their razor-sharp-logic of entitlement to work out they could do something, so they did.

  41. Sepulchrave76 says:

    Sega are dicks, but who cares? They didn’t shut it down in time, and now it’s all over the ‘net, so anybody can grab it. It’s a great game, too, although the AI bot is a bit glitchy.

  42. Bhazor says:

    Yep they made their own sprites, code and levels.
    Unfortunately those sprites code and levels are near enough identical to the originals.

    Seriously this is just straight up plagiarism. If they’d spent some time just noticably altering the characters and named it Pavements of Violence or something we would be looking at a game that the makers could actually be selling and not have it taken down a month after release.

    This is always my big complaint with fan remakes, very talented people making a new game in a forgotten genre who end up shooting themselves in the foot because they let nostalgia completely overshadow the game.

  43. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Well that sucks :( I thought they had permission from SEGA to go ahead with the release? Makes me worried about the Sonic Fan Remix project that was linked a while back.

    Glad I made sure to grab the .zip before it was killed.

  44. Wulf says:

    As a thought… couldn’t they just re-release this under the title Pavements of Pain or something, with some sprite reworking so that they look different enough from the original characters? I’d be interested to see how Sega would react to that.

    • Latterman says:

      That’s basically what teardown.se did when it became clear that THQ wouldn’t tolerate their Space Hulk Remake. It’s basically the same game.

  45. J-Spoon says:

    Am I the only one that thinks everything kind of worked out here? They said v5.0 was their final version, so the game is essentially done, it’s out in the internet and we’ll be able to download torrents of this years after the fact. Sega has protected their IP in the eyes of shareholders, copyright courts, and their soulless be-suited overlords. The fans wanted to make a fun game based on IP that they loved, and they did that, and people will be (and are) playing it. Sega can still profit from their franchise, and prevented other companies from making and selling 1:1 clones. Who loses exactly?

    I’m not going to go so far as to say that Sega acted in this manner (waiting until the game was finished) out of benevolence, but the end result seems pretty much the best possible scenario for everyone involved.

    It WOULD be interesting to see if Sega attempts to put out the fires of the million torrents and Mediafire links that will pop up. I’m gonna guess no.

    • Wulf says:

      I already said that a bunch of times above. >_> *points up.*

      I agree. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t clamp down on half finished games, either. Sure, they need to protect their IP, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in every instance they wait for completion in order to do so. This way, they’re showing that they are willing to defend their trademarks, but they’re not callously destroying the work of fans in the process.

      They did say that 5.0 was their final version. And funnily enough, just by some massive coincidence, Sega step in then. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Sega leave the torrents, the upload links, and half-finished fan games alone. Because really, I still call shenanigans on this. I can see what they’re up to.

      The game has been mentioned before, on Kotaku and the Indie Games blog for instance… and Sega never reacted to it then, only to the ‘final’ version. If that’s not obvious, then I don’t know what is.

    • J-Spoon says:

      Ah, didn’t really read before commenting, sorry.

      Still, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as all that. There could be a lot of reasons that the whole scenario played out the way it did, as others have enumerated, and I’m not going to automatically assume that Sega acted in good faith. And even if they don’t clamp down on the torrents, it still doesn’t really say anything; unless this game is seriously undercutting their bottom line (doubtful), they’ve no reason to waste resources doing that. They’ve defended, sent a C&D, and the devs stopped distributing. In the eyes of the law, they’ve valiantly defended their IP, so it’s done, the end.

      Now, I do agree with you on the point that, if this turns out to be a trend (like if they let that Sonic remake continue), then there’s more of a case to be made re: Sega = magnanimous. I guess we’ll see.

  46. AdamK117 says:

    Soo…. SEGA listed “Beta tests and other development” but not “agreed distribution liscense”? I’m thinking that theres at least a bit of money to be made having a fully developed, much improved, version of a SEGA classic. It seems like lost business for SEGA to not suggest retailing the game for a cut or something….

  47. Truck_Rockpec says:

    Thanks for posting this story, if you hadn’t I never would have known to torrent it. :D

  48. caliwyrm says:

    Out of curiosity, I keep seeing “SEGA needs to protect their IP” bantied about.. Yeah, I get that, but what prevents SEGA (or any comany for that matter) from offering those particular people a onetime only ‘special’ priced license of like $1 or something?

    Eh, I guess I’m looking at the past with rose colored glasses when I remember all those crazy DOOM mods (Simpsons, X-Men,etc) that weren’t threatened into oblivion. I always figured (hoped) that the content owners took the compliment as it was meant (“Hey, I’m such a fan of your IP that I’ll do a ton of work to give you FREE ADVERTISING!”)

    • Phydaux says:

      That is what I was going to say caliwyrm, Sega can protect their IP by giving the makers of SoRR a licence for a token sum.

  49. JohnnyMaverik says:

    “Is there any good news today?”

    Well… I dl’d it before it was removed… so that’s something? O.o

    Ok guess not -_-

    Anyway, it’ll be back, loads of people got it due to the publicity and I’m sure it’ll be uploaded all over the place.

  50. J-Spoon says:

    I was thinking, if courts didn’t REQUIRE companies to “protect” their IP agains any and all assaults, would we still see this sort of thing? I mean, surely you could take into consideration examples of IP defense on a case-by-case basis, without having to conflate fan-made freeware with plagiarized commercial product? Ideally, a company with a history of benevolently allowing fan-mods and remakes SHOULD still have the ability to defend their IPs when faced with a legitimate threat to their franchises, right?

    Or is that too much gray area for the (apparently) deterministic legislative robotron that is copyright law?