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.
#5 Super Mario 64 HD
When Super Mario 64 released it became a hit that’s still highly regarded today. This was a system seller for the Nintendo 64 and years later a fan started to create an HD remake giving the title a much needed facelift.
The game was being developed under the name Super Mario 64 HD and it had received a master overhaul when it came to the visuals. This title was being developed through the use of Unity and players could even roam around the Bob-omb Battlefield stage from an internet web browser.
A ton of hype surrounded the game but Nintendo was quick to kill it off. The level was taken down and all that remains is a tease of what could have been an excellent remake.
#4 Fan Remake of P.T.
Konami has created a number of iconic franchises over the years though as of late the development team has not delivered too many titles for fans to enjoy. Silent Hill is just one of those franchises as it gained a large cult following since it first released on the original PlayStation.
This was a survival horror title that relied on the atmosphere to put players on edge rather than jump scares. The series spanned across a number of video game installments though after so long the installments failed to capture the same essence that the original titles were able to provide gamers.
In an interesting twist, a new Silent Hill title was announced through a playable teaser known as P.T. which was exclusive to the PlayStation 4 platform. Players had to explore a haunted house as they attempted to find clues and solve puzzles in order to beat the game. When they finally completed the demo it would be revealed that P.T. would be Silent Hills.
Fans were thrilled as the game would be under the control of Hideo Kojima however shortly after conflicts began with Hideo and Konami which resulted in the famed developer leaving the company and starting up his own studio. This also resulted in Silent Hills being canceled and the P.T. download to be removed from the PlayStation Store.
In an attempt to bring back P.T., a young 17-year-old developer created a PC version that he released online for free though days later Konami demanded that the game is pulled from online. Interestingly enough, because of the positive reception of the free download Konami offered an internship to the developer.
#3 Galaxy in Turmoil
Star Wars video games at the current moment have to go through EA as LucasArts signed a deal with the company so it didn’t come to much of a surprise when Galaxy in Turmoil got into some trouble with their Star Wars video title.
In 2013 Star Wars: Battlefront III gameplay footage leaked online which showcased a canceled project that acted more like the original Star Wars: Battlefront titles. Players were going to receive large battles that took place on the ground and in space along with a narrative story.
Upset that the project was canceled a development studio named Frontwire Studios decided to deliver a fan-made version of the game. This title looked polished and fans were instantly interested in downloading the game especially since the studio was able to strike a deal to publish it through Steam.
LucasArts eventually got involved and during a call with the development studio, they claimed the reason behind the cancellation was because of the deal with EA and that this title could sway gamers away from their Star Wars video game creations. After failing to get in touch with EA in order to get the project signed off, the studio had to shut the project down.
However, because the groundwork was already laid out Frostwire Studios they instead opted to get rid of any Star Wars characters and content in order to turn Galaxy in Turmoil into an inspired Star Wars: Battlefront game.
#2 Zelda 30 Tribute
Nintendo is usually not in favor of fan-made video games. Most often they will kill a project in order to protect their IP which may result in popular games being taken down or fail to release online to begin with. So with that said it doesn’t come to much of a surprise that Zelda 30 Tribute received the takedown notice shortly after it released.
The game was a browser-based remake of the original The Legend of Zelda video game in 3D. This was not only completely free to play but made available to play within your internet web browser.
“Nintendo asked us to remove this site for copyright infringement. I guess Zelda30Tribute was a little too pixel perfect 🙂 We’re sad about that, but we get it. We started this project because we love Nintendo and the joy they have given us throughout the years. From the start of development, we knew this result could potentially happen. Nintendo has every right to protect their IP. No complaints from us, we had a blast working on this tribute and made some friends along the way.”
Developers received the takedown notice from Nintendo and immediately removed the game. Apparently, there are no hard feelings for the developers as they stated that this game was not only a great learning experience but they managed to make a few friends along the way.
#1 Project M
Okay so technically this game never got an official takedown notice apparently but when it comes to Nintendo’s track record with fan projects the developers apparently decided to end things before legal action became an actual threat.
Project M is a mod to the 2008 release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl where the development team was attempting to bring out a more balanced and preferred fighting experience so that the gameplay would match the previous installment, Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Outside of tweaking the gameplay Project M also brought back certain characters again such as Dr. Mario and Roy. However, in 2015 out of nowhere the development team stated that all work on the game and support has been dropped in favor to work on an original IP.
Speculation quickly spread suggesting that the game was finally caught by Nintendo but according to members of the development team, they had not received any legal notice from Nintendo but felt that it would be best to refrain from continuing their work in order to avoid any potential issues with Nintendo.