Zelda’s had one. Mario had one. Luigi had an entire year for his. You’d think Samus would too? Well, any anniversary editions or special events dedicated to the 30th year of Metroid haven’t been revealed as yet. For all we know, Nintendo may be too busy with the NX to put anything out there, though there’s always a chance something might be announced in the not too distant future (and no, Federation Force doesn’t count).
In the meantime, Metroid fans have had to resort to their own means … sort of. Project AM24 (Another Metroid 2 Remake) is a fan based recreation of the classic Game Boy game Metroid 2: Return of Samus. It looks a lot like a Game Boy Advance game, which makes sense considering Nintendo themselves created a GBA remake (of sorts) in Metroid: Zero Mission. It also looks great, no doubt plays the way fans like and, more importantly, it’s free to play. Well … was.
As of this morning, a DMCA takedown notice was issued to the Metroid Database, a fan site that has been hosting the game. DMCA, for those unaware, stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a US copyright law introduced in 1998. To simply its definition, it essentially protects copyrighted material from being used illegally or without consent online.
The takedown notice was supposedly sent via Nintendo to the website host, meaning the files associated with the game could not be hosted on the site any longer. It makes perfect sense, despite the game being free to play it still uses assets and names owned and controlled by Nintendo. For them to issue a DMCA would be, as Spock would put it, logical.
The interesting part to this? The Metroid Database tweeted the takedown notice, but followed it up a little while later suggesting they will be investigating the legitimacy of the notice. When a notice is issued, the information requested (which largely involves the person(s) in question providing details of the product they believe is going against the copyright law outlined by the DMCA itself) is sent to an appropriate agent. Metroid Database may be hoping that the claim is actually fake, though it’s hard to say until someone or something official comes straight from Nintendo themselves. The fact that the site was hosting a mirrored version of the download, it’s possible someone at Nintendo or otherwise got confused in the process, or someone indeed faked a DMCA … for whatever reason.
It’s a messy situation to be in. On one hand, it’s a free game by fans who are trying to celebrate an IP that hasn’t had a good run of late. Free might be its saving grace, on the other hand, so if the game had been available at a price, the DMCA takedown would be even more warranted. If Nintendo did request the game be removed, it’s a further bad taste in the mouth for fans of a franchise that has seemingly been left behind since its seemingly successful Metroid Prime days (you could blame Metroid: Other M for some of that, no doubt). If it is indeed fake, you do have to question the legitimacy of the process.
We sure hope that the situation can be solved quickly, with the hope that the game may be available somewhere appropriate. Oh and hey, how about a new Metroid game for the NX while you’re at it, Nintendo? Just saying, I think people would like that, yeah?
Mark Isaacson is the editor of PN2. Go say hi @Mark_D_Isaacson.