Fan-made Metroid II Remake Shut Down By Nintendo

A fan-made remake of Metroid 2 has been scrubbed off the internet just two days after it was released, when Nintendo sent the developers a takedown order. It was finished and offered as a free game on Saturday on the creator’s website, Project AM2R, but quicker than you could say “legal team” Nintendo had sent a DMCA order to those responsible. The creators have since removed all download links to the game. It’s all very sad and predictable. But the programmer behind the remake is being characteristically gracious.

We first heard of this particular project to bring Metroid 2 to PC way back in 2008. “Great to have this resolutely console game on PC,” wrote Alec, “and I do hope it makes it to a full-blown release before the wrath of Ninty kills it.”

Well, technically, it did. But two days isn’t much of a lifespan. Here’s a taste of what we are all missing out on.

The creator of AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) is not too discouraged, however, explaining on the blog that the learning experience has been worth the trouble. It turns out years of reproducing a classic in GameMaker can teach you a lot.

“Eventually, I learned to program in C#,” they said. “Now I’m making a living as a professional programmer thanks to what I learned developing a fan game. Technically speaking, I’m satisfied.”

They are also promising to continue development on the game privately, while trying to figure out the best way to update the game for those lucky few who downloaded it before the takedown notice was received. The post ends with something of a call-to-arms.

“Please, don’t hate Nintendo for all of this. It’s their legal obligation to protect their IP. Instead of sending hate mail, get the original M2 from the eShop. Show them that 2D adventure platformers are still a thing people want.”

Shutdowns like this are no surprise. It is sometimes possible for big companies to stand back and let labours of love such as this one survive, as in Blizzard’s blind-eye treatment to StarCraft Universe. But more often than not, lawyers gonna law. And we in the press have our own role to play, often bringing undue attention to things that would otherwise slide by unnoticed. There’s a solution to all this somewhere, but damned if I know where it is.

Regardless of Nintendo’s actions, it’s likely that the remake itself is already being distributed in the internet’s greasy underbelly. But for everyone who doesn’t want to go there, it’s a sad day indeed.

From this site

57 Comments

  1. The Algerian says:

    Definetly not “scrubbed off” the internet.
    You can still find it pretty easily, I have it and I didn’t even really want the damn thing.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Apologies for hijacking the top comment, but I think it’s important for people to see this: The bit where Nintendo is “legally obligated” to wipe out fan works is a lie that lawyers and marketers repeated until everyone believed it.

      You know how there’s a huge body of Star Wars fan films because Lucas, and later Disney, officially approved them? Have you heard of anyone seriously challenging the Star Wars copyright? Do you think either Lucas or Disney are so bad at business that they’d give someone a real chance to do that?

      Please help stamp out this malicious lie and hold the people who originated it responsible.

      • aepervius says:

        They are obligated to protect their trademark. In the case above one can certainly construe that the trademark was misused. If they had released it as “vinsha the power woman” and renamed all weapon/foe the lawyer would not have had a chance to sue.

        • LionsPhil says:

          They really aren’t. Another option would be for them to issue a license to the fan work if they wanted to support it, which both asserts that it’s still Nintendo’s to license out, and allows the fan work to be legally in the clear.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          Why don’t Lucas and Disney feel obligated to protect their trademarks?

        • Yglorba says:

          They are absolutely not, and I am flabbergasted that this blatant lie continues to be repeated.

          A trademark can become harder to enforce if it becomes genericized; that is to say, if it becomes so frequently used for a particular type of product that it ceases to be usable as the name for a brand. This is what Xerox was so terrified of, for instance. But there’s clearly no risk of that in this case; they aren’t using “a Metroid” as a generic name for a type of game.

          I think a few geeks learned about the concerns Xerox and Spam had, and misunderstood the legal issues; they then kept repeating this mistaken understanding of the legal issues involved until it became a sort of vague common knowledge. But it’s completely wrong; there is no obligation to defend a trademark, and anyone who says that a company felt “obligated” to defend a trademark is talking out of total ignorance.

          The only cases where a company could start to get worried is when their trademark is at risk of becoming a generic term for an entire type of product, unassociated with their company. And even when a trademark becomes generic, they still do not lose it (they just can’t enforce it against people who are just using it in its generic sense.) Anyone who talks about trademarks being lost through lack of enforcement is simply ignorant.

          (A trademark can be lost through lack of use, but this is not at all the same thing. Nintendo could lose the Metroid trademark by failing to produce or sell Metroid games; they cannot lose it just because someone else is violating it. Even if every person on earth produced their own Metroid games, even if Nintendo did absolutely nothing to enforce it, they would still be at zero risk of losing their trademarks – the worst that could happen is having it become generic, and even then, there would be zero risk of that provided the usage is clearly a reference to Nintendo’s property, as in this case.)

          Seriously, I don’t get why this ridiculous misinterpretation of trademark law won’t die. People keep getting it wrong even though it only takes five second with Google to realize that that’s not how it works and has never been how it works.

      • MajorLag says:

        Not to mention all the Sonic fan games.

        I, for one, wouldn’t want to live in a world where Sonic Dreams Collection doesn’t exist.

  2. funkstar says:

    glad i picked it up before ninty dmca’d it

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Surely you know that it’s still just as easy to download now as it was yesterday.

    • Czrly says:

      If you got the original, would you care to post the SHA1 hash of the Zip file so anyone, here, who does happen to encounter a copy can verify it?

      • Alien426 says:

        Yeah, bad people are already making use of the popularity and obscurity of AM2R.

        I don’t have the original download (though I did follow the project’s development), but someone on Reddit (link to reddit.com) posted these hashes:
        MD5: cc2244b28c3a8f21acf256413319b3d3
        SHA-1: 26f11b2635f317b8b9a3571f54c20a7dc09245b4
        SHA-256: c9558deccded57a81ae8964b0418cff1e9cde1cd006ffc5f7f2ce22417949e08

        The MD5 checksum is confirmed by the archive.org version of the official blog’s download page.

  3. vinco says:

    Yep. Really hard to scrub magnet links from ye olde interwebs.

  4. Drowed says:

    It’s not even hard to find it on the net, just search for it. If Nintendo didn’t want it on the net, they should’ve been faster to C&D it.

    Not, it’s too late – you can fint it everywhere. And the remake is good, let me tell you!

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Hell, unless they shut the guy’s blog down he has the torrent directly linked on his site. The mediafire and dropbox links (I believe it was dropbox) both had the take down notice when you clicked them, but the torrent was up just fine.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      My bad, just checked and the download page is gone. Still though, that torrent is in the wild, no way to scrub it off the internet.

      I don’t know how long his blog was running to chronicle the development, but news didn’t take off until it was finished and available. This is what fan projects need to do. Don’t announce to the world that you’re working on it. Toil away in relative privacy under the radar and THEN make your big announcement once it’s done and can’t be stopped.

  5. DarkeSword says:

    To be honest, the fact that the game came out at all before Nintendo shut it down is a win. Once a thing is out on the internet, it’s there forever. Nobody will have any problem finding this game at all. And Nintendo does their due diligence in “protecting their IP.” Seems like a win-win to me.

  6. KDR_11k says:

    “stop it, otherwise people’s Metroid blue balls won’t be big enough to make them buy Federation Force!”

    I doubt Nintendo is realizing that this project is a symptom of their failure to deliver on what’s considered one of their major series in the west. Then again Nintendo sees Fusion and Other M as canon while Prime is considered an inferior spinoff so it’s clear they lost the plot a while ago.

    • dethtoll says:

      Nintendo simply does not give a shit about Metroid. A lot of it boils down to simple xenophobia and provincialism. The Japanese games industry, as is typical for business in Japan, has a storied tradition of generally disregarding audiences outside of Japan except as a peripherary market. This situation has worsened in the last 15 years.

      Basically: Metroid has traditionally sold better in the West than in Japan, and Nintendo doesn’t actually give a shit about the West except for when they can market Mario and Zelda to us, because those two names are equally popular in Japan and the West. If I were a more paranoid sort I’d be thinking that Other M (which was a disaster) and Federation Force (which is sure to be a disaster) are attempts to sour the franchise for the fanbase so they’ll stop fucking asking for more Metroid games.

      There’s an added factor here in that Metroid was the creation of Gunpei Yokoi, who became persona non grata following the failure of the Virtual Boy. It’s not uncommon in Japanese business culture to “promote” a disgraced employee into a position isolated from the company and given no responsibilities. That Metroid was a creation of Yokoi suggests that Nintendo, as the industry closed rank, began to shed itself of what parts of Yokoi’s legacy it could — notice how they don’t call their handhelds “Game Boys” anymore?

      • Sheng-ji says:

        There aren’t that many western game devs who particularly care about Eastern markets either

        • MajorLag says:

          Is that a matter of simply not finding an audience there though? We worship money in the US. If Valve accidentally created a new franchise that flopped in the US but sold like hotcakes in China, I imagine they’d be very keen on making more.

          Ok, bad example because Valve hasn’t even made more Half-Life yet, but you get what I’m saying.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I thought that was because he passed away two years later, not because they blamed him for the failure of VB.
        The state of that thing wasn’t even his fault, Nintendo (and some other circumstances) forced cutting of features, made the team to take shortcuts with the technology and shortened their deadlines to focus on the Nintendo 64.

        Nintendo probably couldn’t distance the company from him even if they tried, he was mentoring several of their top designers (like Miyamoto) and engineers during the formative years of Nintendo as a videogame company and many of his principles make up the foundations of what Nintendo stands for (gameplay and robust tried technology over bleeding edge for the sake of tech etc).

      • Baines says:

        Nintendo’s disinterest in Metroid doesn’t involve Gunpei Yokoi. Sakamoto took over as the “father” of Metroid long ago, similar to how Inafune is credited as the “father” of Megaman.

        That Metroid isn’t particularly popular in Japan is a big issue. As is the fact that Metroid isn’t one of Nintendo’s biggest selling series. Sakamoto has a firm hold of the series; a new main series Metroid game would presumably have to go through him. Sakamoto allegedly didn’t like the Prime series, which didn’t match his personal character design for Samus. If that is true, then he probably wasn’t that happy with the Prime series being popular. Other M was supposed to be his big title, his returning “real” Metroid to consoles, but it flopped pretty hard. That had to have discouraged him. The poor sales certainly discouraged Nintendo.

        And thus Metroid has laid fairly dormant.

        Mind, Nintendo not revisiting Metroid II specifically might have to do with Gunpei Yokoi, but they’ve had no issues with outright remaking Metroid 1…

  7. Halk says:

    AM2R_10.zip

  8. peterako1989 says:

    I got it, but im still angry at nintendo. BTW I doubt that buying the real thing for a price is not really worth would make nintendo make another better metroid.

  9. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    What a smooth operator though. The big takeaway for me is the way he took every positive and developed as a human from it – even encouraging us as consumers to tell Nintendo what we want with our purchases. Wouldn’t it be really neat if we could convince Nintendo that another 2D metroid would be nice?

  10. Zankman says:

    1. All of this is just great marketing for it and will make people want to download it that much more.

    2. I’m sorry mister Dev, but, I will say it: Fuck you, Nintendo.

    They constantly do shit that is deserving of hate.

    • Bluestormzion says:

      Nintendo had a LONG ass time they could have done this beforehand; the last “Demo” that AM2R had was actually 90% of the game. The fact that Nintendo waited this long makes me think that it was done deliberately so it would be released before they did what they legally HAD to do to ensure that their property didn’t become public domain.

      If you want to blame anyone, you can blame US Trademark Law. Because if Nintendo DIDN’T DCMA this, then Metroid would have wholesale reverted to Public Domain, and then, effectively, the Metroid Universe would be dead. At any time before, they could have sent an official Cease and Desist letter. But they didn’t. Because I think they thought that the project was cool and worth existing… even if they could never admit that or allow it in any form that they didn’t try to kill. Because I’m sure that Nintendo knows that NOTHING is ever really taken off of the internet.

      And you know what? They STILL haven’t sent a C&D letter. He’s STILL, then, legally, allowed to work on it. Just can’t officially release it. Very odd that they’d “overlook” that, eh?

      • April March says:

        Wait, what? If someone releases a remake of a game and you don’t C&D them it becomes public domain? I never heard of such a thing, is there a lawyer in the house?

        • epmode says:

          People certainly say it’s true all over the internet but I can’t come up with a single case of a company losing their IP because they didn’t go after fan games. Some companies even encourage them so long as the developers aren’t making money (Activision is very friendly about all sorts of remakes of the Quest games from Sierra). Hell, Valve even allowed the Black Mesa devs (Half-Life remake) to sell their game on Steam.

          • Yglorba says:

            It isn’t true at all. It’s something that people invented whole-cloth in their heads due to a misunderstanding of what companies were worried about with terms like Xerox and Photoshop (where the company was worried that the word would become a generic term for an entire class of product, weakening their ability to enforce it in the future.)

            It’s an extremely specific issue that comes up very rarely and only in highly-specific circumstances. It doesn’t apply here. And the idea that they could lose their copyright is absolutely ludicrous.

            There is no obligation to defend trademarks or copyrights. Anyone who tells you otherwise is flatly ignorant.

      • Yglorba says:

        > If you want to blame anyone, you can blame US Trademark Law. Because if Nintendo DIDN’T DCMA this, then Metroid would have wholesale reverted to Public Domain, and then, effectively, the Metroid Universe would be dead.

        This is completely and entirely untrue. Please spend at least a few moments googling the basics of trademark law before spouting off about it in the future.

        Trademarks cannot be lost due to lack of enforcement; the myth you’re repeating here has to do with the risk of a trademark becoming “generic” if it is used to refer to an entire type of product (eg. Xerox was concerned about people using the name of their copiers as a general term for copiers.) That clearly has no applicability here. And even if a trademark becomes generic, it still isn’t lost; the idea that they could lose the actual intellectual property by failing to send a C&D letter is ludicrous.

  11. Jeremy says:

    I understand that Nintendo “has” to protect their IP, but what they did was effectively useless in keeping the game out of people’s hands, and only serves to damage themselves in the eyes of the gaming community.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      It’s a pretty big stick to wield in court though if someone tried to actually pinch the IP, claiming that it was not public domain.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        *now public domain

      • Scripten says:

        Media brands aren’t really comparable to common household goods. I can’t think of any single case where someone lost their IP due to fan works. (Assuming, of course, that said fan works are, like AM2R, non-commercial.)

      • MrUnimport says:

        No, copyright doesn’t work like that, the same way LOTR fanfics don’t threaten the Tolkien estate’s grip on his intellectual property. A copyrighted work doesn’t suddenly go public domain just because some people rip it off now and then. Trademarks on the other hand can be nixed if the owner fails to do business under them, or if they become generic terms like Kleenex or escalator. Neither of these applies.

        • DMStern says:

          But what does count is that it looks like they ripped graphics and sound effects straight from the SNES and GBA games. That’s not fair use, that’s straight up copyright infringement.

          • MrUnimport says:

            Which if true would still not obligate Nintendo to take legal action.

    • Scripten says:

      They really DON’T need to do anything, though. Issuing C&Ds against fangames is technically legally within their rights, but as a non-commercial entity, it doesn’t threaten to dilute their brand whatsoever.

    • baseless_drivel says:

      It’s not as simple as that. They may very well realize a C&D is effectively useless, but by NOT issuing the C&D, they set a precedent for future cases. By letting this one go, they’re essentially legally saying, “this is okay.”

      If a future issue comes up, the defendants can then cite this precedent by saying “Why are you pressing legal action against us when you let it pass this one time before?”

      It may seem like a pointless action, but it prevents future legal headaches.

      /armchairlawyer

      • Scripten says:

        That’s why fair use clauses exist, though. Non-commercial fanworks CAN be shut down, but not shutting them down does not preclude shutting down competition. Obviously, Big N thinks that (Metroid) fanworks are competition even when free, which is within their legal rights. It’s still a dick move.

        I’m especially salty because Zelda, a series with about three times as many entries as Metroid, has an online creation kit that allows for simple fangame creation. That community has hundreds of fangames, but we can’t even get one without a hissy fit being thrown.

        • GSGregory says:

          This is partly false. Their are tons of “mods” for metroid 1, 2 and especially super metroid along with basically a whole dev kit for editing super metroid. The main reason these skirt through though is because they are released as patches to the original game file and only include changes made. Along with only being found on rom hacking/modding sites.

          • Scripten says:

            Eh, not quite the same thing. Rom hacks are a different breed entirely and very rarely introduce entirely new content. The creation toolkit I mentioned offers entirely new experiences, rather than just changing the design of the rooms.

            Not to say that rom hacks aren’t awesome and impressive, just that they are not quite what a lot of us are looking for.

  12. fiasco says:

    Gosh what a completely unexpected turn of events.

  13. Thankmar says:

    Maybe, just maybe, Nintendo wanted exactly this outcome. They did their thing, the game is out there for those who want it, everybody wins. And I do hope that someone somewhere actually thought Project M was good and just was wrong.

  14. J.C. says:

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:31059585E68123D095871D3169899CD900B77213&dn=AM2R_10.zip

    Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride
    Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no
    I got to keep on moving!

    Your Welcome folks.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Cheers, I wasn’t particularly interested before, but now I am after this article.

  15. GSGregory says:

    Are we really surprised? Nintendo has never been a fan of fan made content of any kind, Have people forgotten how much they went after anyone making stuff for secret of mana or chrono trigger two titles they have given less attention then the metroid series.

    On another note the problem with nintendo and the metroid series is that after super metroid they have kept trying to overhaul or change base game design. Prime worked because while changing it to 3d they still kept the core game ideas but with every game since they have ditched the core of the series and dumped what made the previous games good and what people liked about them.

    • ulix says:

      Ahem… that was Square Enix, who are real dicks with this sort of thing.

      Nintendo on the other hand has historically been pretty lax about fangames like this…

      Unless they still sold something similar. Which in this case they do: you can buy Metroid 2 for the 3DS Virtual Console.

  16. Tempus Fugit says:

    Instead of Nintendo being dicks, they could have scooped him up and, you know, start making a new Metroid game with him the mix. Oh wait, that would have made too much sense.

    • Scripten says:

      SEGA still does what Nintendon’t, apparently.

    • MajorLag says:

      Why would they scoop him up? Don’t get me wrong, he certainly seems to have done some decent work, but it was just copying an already existing game. They’re Nintendo, they have quality programmers, artists, and game designers already at their fingertips if they care to use them.

      If this guy had made, say, an entirely new interpretation of Metroid that worked really well, then I could see maybe hiring him based on that.

      • Tempus Fugit says:

        The last two Metroid games put out by Nintendo were Other M and that upcoming Federation Force nonsense. Yes, they’re really hitting it out of the park.

  17. asdfas says:

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:31059585e68123d095871d3169899cd900b77213&dn=AM2R%5F10.zip

    Fuck Nintendo.

  18. Rogerio Martins says:

    I have it, just hit me if you want it.

  19. obscured021 says:

    I would like a copy if you still have it?

  20. Emeraude says:

    About to wrap this up, easily the best thing released with the named Metroid slapped on it in about ten years as far as I’m concerned.

    If Nintendo had any sense, they’d give their blessing top it and distribute it themselves freely on their own download platform to garner good will.