Pokemon Uranium is a game nine years in the making, designed entirely by two developers, known as JV and Involuntary Twitch.
According to Wired, the project to create a Pokemon game for PC began over nine years ago, using a game development package called RPG Maker XP that resembles the Game Boy Advance Pokemon releases, and features 150 completely new Pokemon alongside many of the classics. The project was started around the time that the last of the third generation games, Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald alongside original remakes FireRed and LeafGreen, were released.
Along with the new Pokemon, the game also features a complete RPG story, a brand new region (Tandor), an entirely new type of Pokemon, Nuclear (and a full subset of basic Pokemon that became the Nuclear type after being “corrupted” by radiation) and a “Pokemon Speech Translator” which allows players to talk directly to their Pokemon. It even includes online trading and battling and a special, ultra-hard “Nuzlocke Mode” which features Pokemon catching and revival.
It also, unlike even the most recently-released Pokemon GO, allows players to choose between male, female, or gender-neutral characters — and it even had its own wiki, which began with the makers thanking Nintendo and Gamefreak for creating Pokemon and stating that their work was entirely for fun and not intended to earn them any sort of profit.
One-point-five million players have downloaded Pokemon Uranium since its launch two days ago, which makes it massively popular for a fan-made game.
And so it is doubly unfortunate that the creators felt compelled to pull all downloads two days later.
According to Kotaku, in a statement made by the developers, they indicated that while they had not received any official take-down notices for their game, they had been informed of multiple take-down notices being issued elsewhere and didn’t want to take the risk.
“While we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply.”
It doesn’t come as a surprise, but it is disappointing; while other companies like Valve Corporation (with Half-Life fan spin-off Prospekt) and Blizzard Entertainment (via StarCraft MMO StarCraft Universe) are actively encouraging and supporting fan work (as previously reported by the Inquisitr) — and letting them launch under their label with their game assets — Nintendo has what is probably the worst reputation in the gaming industry for zero-tolerance with their copyright, whether they are actually within their legal rights or not.
Just this week, it issued a take-down notice to the Internet Archive over 143 scans of old Nintendo Power magazines (which are not presently available in print) published over 20 years ago, stating that it must “protect our own characters, trademarks and other content” and that “the unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects.”
They also recently shut down a fan remake of Metroid II, another property originally published on GameBoy cartridges 25 years ago, which have become hard to find, though the game is for sale digitally in the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS.
So, Nintendo is not a particularly caring company when it comes to their intellectual property, and the developers of Pokemon Uranium are understandably concerned.
“After receiving more than 1,500,000 downloads of our game, we have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America.
“While we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply.
“Therefore, we will no longer provide official download links for the game through our website.
“We have no connection to fans who reupload the game files to their own hosts, and we cannot verify that those download links are all legitimate. We advise you to be extremely cautious about downloading the game from unofficial sources.
“We are blown away by the response this game has received, and we thank you all so much for your outstanding support.
“We will continue to provide Pokémon Uranium-related news and updates through our official channels.
“You are welcome to continue discussing and sharing content related to the game on our forums and Discord, where there is a very active community.
“Thank you for reading, and let’s share the love of Pokémon!”
It’s a sad statement coming from two people who spent nearly a decade of their life creating something out of love. But love never triumphs when the lawyers get involved.
[Image via Pokemon Uranium]