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.