Last weekend, Nintendo issued takedown notices for Pokemon Uranium, a fan-made Pokemon game that spent 9 years in development. However, their takedown notices won’t stop the fan-made game.
Pokemon fans are circulating the game in any way they can, be it through private smuggling between users or through online torrents. On top of that, the developers plan to continue supporting it through an in-game patching system, only available to those who already downloaded the game, or those who figure out how to obtain it.
Before Nintendo’s shutdown, Pokemon Uranium developers reported over a million downloads, but it’s likely that the actual number is higher than that, given that they can’t possibly track everyone who downloads the game through other means.
“We’ve released a 1.0.1 patch already that fixes some [bugs],” said Involuntary Twitch, the creative director behind Pokémon Uranium. Pokémon Uranium was 9 years in the making, and Twitch is 22—which means she’s been working on the game ever since she was a young teenager. “We’re listening to feedback, and trying to improve the game even more. In the future, I hope to add on additional content to the game in the form of ‘Sidequests’ that will allow players to capture the 8 missing Pokémon in the Tandor Dex, and more.”
“A lot of people seem to be experiencing a strong emotional reaction to the news that we decided to remove the official download links—and this was bolstered by plenty of news articles & blog posts about the game claiming we ‘shelved’ the project after 9 years, or that Nintendo’s vindictive corporate suits got the better of us,” said Twitch.
“But our own feelings about this situation are completely different. Our game project, the one we devoted so many hours of our lives into and the thing that was for both of us the single greatest creation in our young lives, had been download more than 1.5 MILLION times. That’s an incomprehensibly huge number of people playing our game. We are seeing the joy that players get when they enter the Tandor Region, this world that we created. They are sharing the game with their friends, and documenting their playthroughs on YouTube and on every social media site. They are rejoicing in finding shiny Pokemon, breeding to get that perfect 6IV competitive set, and are helping each other to formulate strategies and discover secrets we hid deep within the game.
“You’d only need to glance at our Forums or Discord to see the sheer numbers of people that have been inspired and brought together by this game. So, for everyone who’s saying this game is dead—far from it. It’s more alive than ever before.”
Between Pokemon Uranium and the Metroid II remake, both of which were hit with Nintendo’s ban-hammer, fan-made remaster and remixes have proven to be huge successes. Would it really be so crazy for Nintendo to embrace its industrious fans giving their intellectual property new life and relevance?