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Please Stop Making Fan Games

Travis West

Posted on September 25, 2018 10:27

1 user

So-called "Fan Games" create a bad situation for literally everyone involved. But people keep making them.

Activision has finally sent a cease and desist order to Cyreides, lead designer of the Spyro the Dragon fan game, Spyro: Myths Awaken. Obviously, this was going to happen. With very few exceptions, using a company's IP without their permission is going to get you hit with a cease and desist.

It's actually one of the more polite C&Ds I've read.

People occasionally like to vilify video game publishers for quashing fan enthusiasm with these C&Ds, but American copyright law is very clear that publishers NEED to defend the integrity of their IPs, or they risk devaluing them.

While some publishers, like Sega and Capcom, generally let these projects run their course, most publishers aren't willing to take the chance of potentially diminishing the integrity and the financial value of their IPs.

And even if they were, we can hardly blame Activision, publishers of Spyro: Reignited (coming in November), for not wanting an unauthorized fan-made game taking the spotlight away from its own official game. 

So if this was inevitable, why make a Spyro fan game in the first place? I'd like to think that the developers' unbridled enthusiasm for Spyro the Dragon and classic PS1 gaming caused them to ignore common sense and forge ahead without considering the consequences, but I have a feeling that this was not the case. 

Rather than create their own properties, up-and-coming game developers are looking for IPs that already have a passionate fan base, and then effectively stealing those IPs to get some traction for their project on Reddit and NeoGAF, maybe even a story on a major gaming news website if they're lucky.

When the developers are inevitably hit with a C&D, they garner even more traction for their project, which will probably still be made, just with a new title and some slightly altered character designs. The new project can then lap up a ton of sympathetic interest from the gaming community for having been shut down by those greedy corporate overlords.

Those greedy corporate overlords, meanwhile, get a ton of social media anger for not caring about their fans, and may even face a backlash against their own official games if they're deemed inferior to the fan-made games that were shut down because of them.

AM2R
Popular fan game Metroid: AM2R, shut down in 2016. 

Before you decry my cynicism, Cyreides all but admitted that replacing the Spyro characters was the plan from the very beginning in a Q&A for supporters of the project on the r/Spyro subreddit.

Of course, not every fan game is a shameless cash-in, many are made with love and respect for the characters and the universes they are emulating, but more and more these creators of supposed "fan" games are hurting the IPs they claim to revere by coasting on their popularity and causing needless conflict within their fandoms.

To me, that seems like the opposite of what a fan would want to do.

Travis West

Posted on September 25, 2018 10:27

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Source: IGN
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Activision has sent a cease and desist to the creator of the fan-made Spyro: Myths Awaken. Sebastian Chapman received the...

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