Note: This article was updated in April of 2019.
With any kind of media, there’s going to be a fandom surrounding it. With video games, you’ll stumble upon fan-created websites, forums, cosplay and even videos. However, there are a few dedicated fans that take their love to a whole another level by creating their own video game.
These video games come in the form of mods, remakes to brand new titles created from scratch. However, most fan video games have the growing threat of a cease and desist letter being sent as they get closer to their desired launch.
There have even been times that fan created studios found themselves in the good graces of the IP holder to only receive a takedown notice shortly after. In this list, we’re going to look at some incredible fan-made video games that were taken down due to potential legal action.
#11 Super Mario Bros. Commodore 64 Port
You’re all familiar with Super Mario Bros. This is a staple video game franchise for the whole industry. But as you know, this game is exclusive to Nintendo. However, it recently saw an unofficial release on the Commodore 64. As the years pass more gamers understand past console hardware better. As a result, the video games that are produced for the system is quite enhanced from the original title releases. One of those big feats was Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64. A fan was working on this project for the past seven years and it was recently available for the general public to enjoy. Just days after the release Nintendo decided to kill off the game by removing it from major hosting sources.
This is one of those niche games as it’s really just made to be enjoyed to the Commodore 64 community. It’s actually a bit odd to see Nintendo decide to kill off this particular game as its required for gamers to actually own a rather old console.
#10 Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes
Chrono Trigger is a classic JRPG that fans really enjoy replaying. In fact, there are some fans that enjoyed the game so much that they decided to make their very own sequel called Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. This was a very ambitious project that used the same gameplay mechanics but offered a brand new story.
The team worked endlessly for five years in order to make this game complete and ready to release. Apparently Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes would contain over thirty hours of gameplay along with ten different endings which gave players an incentive in going back to replay the game.
Needless to say the game was hyped up and just weeks before it was set to release Square Enix hit the studio with a cease and desist. Unfortunately for Square Enix, the game did manage to find a release where players could play an alpha version of the game which is mostly complete and that release has even circulated online with the community adding their own fixes and updates.
#9 Streets of Rage Remake
Streets of Rage is a Sega classic that first released back in 1991. This is a beat ‘em up title which has only received three installments and despite its popularity, the development studio has yet to go back and bring out a new release or remake. Essentially, this series allowed cooperative gameplay where players are tasked with cleaning up the streets of criminal thugs and gangs.
A team that went under the name Bomber Games decided to remake the game from the ground up while giving players over a hundred stages and a wider cast of playable character. Likewise, one of the elements that players fondly remember from the Streets of Rage titles is the soundtrack and that area was not going to be left out by Bomber Games as they had five musicians create over seventy tracks for the game.
Because this was an ambitious project there have been past reports that Bomber Games got in contact with Sega to receive a thumbs up on the project production. Apparently, Sega didn’t have a problem until the title actually released.
Days, after the project launched Sega hit the developers with a cease and desist forcing the game to be taken down. This had to sting for the team that spent nearly a decade to produce the remake. In fact, this wouldn’t be the only remake that was slaughtered by Sega as a leak showcased another potential remake for Streets of Rage by developers Ruffian Games which also never came to fruition.
#8 Metal Gear Remake
It wasn’t very long ago that we got word of a remake was in the works for the original Metal Gear title by a group of fans. The development team went by the name of Outer Heaven which consisted of developers that had previously worked on titles such as Infamous and Gears of War.
With Konami’s blessing, the development team started work. Things were looking up as the team had even acquired the original Solid Snake voice actor, David Hayter, to join in. Of course the team was under some restrictions such as not being able to profit from the game.
There have even been reports that Konami would be in further talks if this game was a success. Unfortunately, the development team eventually received the notice that they had to discontinue their work.
Apparently, Konami couldn’t reach a decision internally as to if this team could continue on with the production of their remake. As a result, Outer Heaven was forced to abandon the project.
Metroid has a large fan base and when news broke that a fan project was in the works to remake Metroid II: Return of Samus there was plenty of eager gamers interested in downloading the game upon release. Previously the original game was only available on the Nintendo Game Boy and as such the remake known as AM2R, which stood for Another Metroid 2 Remake, would be an incredible enhancement.
Under the creation of Milton Guasti, the development team had a massive challenge as the game would not only receive color but gamers would be playing on a bigger screen in comparison to the Nintendo Game Boy. This meant that the developers had to adjust the level designs and at times even the layouts of the map.
Released alongside Metroid’s 30th anniversary, players quickly downloaded the game and started to play away.
However it was only a few days after AM2R released that Nintendo sent out takedown notices to websites hosting the download. Despite this, Milton stated that he would continue to work on the project privately but that was also quickly shut down when Nintendo approached him directly.
Because the game was already released online the community quickly got to work and delivered their own patches and additional features, making it nearly impossible to kill off the game completely.
This was also troublesome for Nintendo as they had released their own remake on the Nintendo 3DS though most fans would argue and say that AM2R is the better overall game.
#6 Pokemon Uranium
Pokemon ROM hacks have flooded the internet and it’s really easy finding a new Pokemon game to play that wasn’t officially put out by Game Freak. However, one of the more beloved fan-made video games to release for the Pokemon franchise was Pokemon Uranium.
This was a brand new Pokemon journey experience that took place in a new region along with featuring over a hundred new unique Pokemon to collect. The story was based around a young teenager who finds himself embarking on a quest to become a Pokemon Champion. Ten years prior our hero has his life ripped apart when his mother gets killed in a nuclear catastrophe and his father become distant to avoid grief.
Raised up by his aunt, players set off on their grand quest to only learn that a new facility is being built up where the nuclear explosion had taken place. Now Pokemon have started to behave strangely and attacking innocent civilians. It’s up to the player in order to discover what’s going on and save the day.
One of the interesting aspects to this title is that players could connect online and partake in trades. With its growing popularity Nintendo decided to extinguish the flame by sending out ceases and desist letters.
The fan made development group initially refused and kept up with the game production post-release though eventually they caved and shut the game along with the servers down. However, much like AM2R, because the game was released online the community has continued to support it by giving it new updates and patches.