Jan 24, 2022 - Technology

Fan-made games can't escape Nintendo

Image of Pokémon game
Image courtesy of Dragon_GameDev of the game in question.

A fan-made first-person shooter version of Pokémon has met a predictable fate, with The Pokémon Company International getting videos and images of it removed due to copyright claims.

Why it matters: The Pokémon Company is tied to Nintendo to create its namesake series, a company with a quick trigger finger on sending any fan-made games or projects cease-and-desist notices.

  • Last week, Reddit user Dragon_GameDev posted to r/IndieGaming that they were going to make a Pokémon FPS as part of a personal goal to make one game a month.
  • Footage from the game includes a player riddling Pikachu, Zapdos and more with bullets.
  • Videos of the footage from Reddit still exist on YouTube as of this writing — along with other videos of fan-created Pokémon shooters.
  • Even as a fanmake, the game is clearly contrary to The Pokémon Company and Nintendo's M.O., companies that largely produce wholesome family games; shooting Pikachu is not on brand.

Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment.

The big picture: Nintendo has been removing fanmade everything for years.

  • The company has issued hundreds of takedown notices to fan projects, from remakes of Metroid II to a nine-year project called Pokémon Uranium.
  • In 2020, a TikToker and adult content creator who went by Pokeprincxss was forced to change her name after Nintendo claimed she was infringing on their copyright; this also includes merch she was selling with Pokémon characters.

Yes, but: Playing with the general vibe of Pokémon-ish characters goes a long way.

  • Last year, a game called Palworld made headlines for its striking resemblance to Pokémon (also with guns).
  • The game's creator shrugged off the comparison, telling Axios that Palworld was "completely different" from Pokémon — a "kind world."
  • Crema released Temtem in 2020, an MMO that drew heavily from Pokémon.

What's next: The removals come just days before Pokémon Legends: Arceus' release this Friday.

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