The Creator Of Metroid II Fan Game AM2R Isn't Mad About Nintendo

DoctorM64 spent over ten years remaking Metroid II: Samus Return in his free time, only to have Nintendo send him a DMCA and have to take the project down. Now that Nintendo has announced their own reimagining of the same game, he's just as pumped as everyone else is.

When DoctorM64 was working on Another Metroid 2 Remake (AM2R), he saw it as a service to the fans, updating a Metroid game that was out of date by updating the graphics, adding a map system, updating the enemy AI, among other things. If he had known that Nintendo was planning on a remake, he wouldn't have bothered.

"I wanted to remake something that needed to be remade," he told Kotaku over email, "and at the time it looked like a good option."

"Metroid is the only Nintendo universe with a cohesive story, with a well defined continuity," DoctorM64 said. "People could enjoy most chapters of that story while playing great solid games. The only chapter that felt outdated was Metroid 2. So finally releasing AM2R added that last piece that was missing."

Unfortunately, shortly after the release of AM2R, Nintendo sent DoctorM64 a DMCA. This week's announcement of Nintendo's own remake of Metroid II sheds some light on why. Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier talked to longtime Nintendo game producer Yoshio Sakamoto about AM2R at E3 -- it turns they were aware of the project.

"We heard about it first after we had already started development," Sakamoto told Jason. "We know it exists, the fact that a fan is out there and really likes the series this much." Sakamoto hasn't personally seen AM2R, but did also say that he knows that Nintendo asked DoctorM64 to take it down.

Despite all this, DoctorM64 seems excited for Nintendo's Metroid: Samus Returns, even if it took a different approach to remaking the game than he did. "It departs quite a lot from the source material, and the new abilities seem to add some depth to the combat," he said.

"It's really interesting to see what an entire dev team can do with the same source material, compared to my humble rendition. … I'm very curious about what the Metroid Queen (the final boss) will play like. I'm sure it will be epic."

DoctorM64 appreciates the difference between Nintendo's vision and his own. While AM2R used revamped pixel art, Nintendo's reimagining will use low poly 3D models. While it's a huge departure, DoctorM64 doesn't have a problem with it. "It looks more dynamic. … 3D gives you a lot of freedom to develop environments and action set pieces better, if you have a decent poly count. The overall action view looks great, the backgrounds are very varied."

In a situation like this, it would be very easy to be bitter. Having a decade of work removed from the world and then replaced by a different version of what you were working on seems like it would be frustrating. But DoctorM64 started AM2R to plug a hole in the Metroid franchise, and even without his game, the franchise will one day feel complete.

Even if you can't get AM2R anywhere legitimately, DoctorM64 hopes that the two approaches to remaking Metroid II can coexist. "Given how different both games are," he said, "I'm sure many people will see my game as more than just Another Metroid 2 Remake."


Comments

    I can't be the only one thinking that Nintendo don't understand opportunity cost? What if they instead approached DoctorM64 with the idea of giving him a bit of a hand and using it as a vehicle to push the new Metroid game?

    I don't get Nintendo, and it very much guides my purchasing decisions. Basically I'll never buy anything Nintendo ever again. Personally I don't think they have understood consoles since the N64. Gimmicky, poorly supported rubbish like the Wii/U and the Switch do not a console make.

      The world of copyright protection is one that doesn't follow the normal "common sense" of the rest of reality.

        But that's just it, if they approached him and took him under their brand, boom no IP issues. Instead they took the corporate approach and just shut him down, they were well within their legal rights to do so but it was still a missed opportunity especially given their public image regarding fan made material

          Still, it is not as easy as snapping fingers. For that to work under whatever laws, do they have to make him a paid employee? Give him backpay? Or royalties? Does he need to relocate? Does he have full working rights for it? I am guessing that in most cases you can solve those and however many other legal questions arise with ease, but to avoid the cases where it'd be a pain, it is much cleaner, easier and cheaper to simply enforce the copyright laws that they are warranted to do.

            I'm right there with you. Might be an unpopular opinion, but I never understood the outrage over these fan remakes getting shut down. Nintendo have every right to control their IP and game development, sure it seems like a big corporation crapping on the little guy - but he's stealing their work. Imagine someone doing that to you. Can you release a new Indiana Jones film? Can you make a new iPhone?
            Creators have the absolute right to shut down this kind of thing, even if it's coming from a well intentioned, innocent place. Perhaps these fans should put this much time and effort into something original?

              I don't think yours is an unpopular opinion but that guy is not stealing their work in any way. The very definition of stealing effectively rules out that as an action.

              Otherwise fan films and other content created (derivative works) by amateurs is happening all the time. It's probably not reasonable to heap it on Nintendo but they seem to be always in the headline for doing this sort of thing. Fair use (part of the copyright act) be damned. In this case, the remake of an entire game is probably an overreach but again there's no monetisation so again what's the harm to Nintendo other than some possible good publicity (or in this case, negative publicity)?

            It's called a contract and they can offer whatever they like "sign this and this is how we proceed or you take it down". Those factors only matter in a negotiation and these fans don't have room to negotiate, do Nintendo can dictate all of those things, I'd still rather hear "Nintendo wanted to work with me but the contract wasn't fair" than "Nintendo sent a letter from their lawyers for my love of their products"

              I'll be honest, the former sounds a bit worse to me than the latter. The latter sounds like a strict and unfriendly corporation doing fair business disregarding the human element. The former sounds like they were scammily trying to profit from someone's labour of love using copyright as leverage.

                Neither is fair, but if it had been me personally, as someone who once was trying to break into games industry for 10 years, I'd have much rathered the chance to finish my project with Nintendo's backing even if it was a one sided deal than have to bury it forever

      I tend to agree with you. While undoubtably Nintendo make great games, their inexplicable design choices and business practices just repel me.

    Wouldn't it be fantastic if big companies rewarded fan creators by giving them a leg up in the industry and fostering their talent?
    Instead of shutting people down with lawyers.
    It would be mutually beneficial!at te very least. But I'm clearly a wide eyed optimist :) Nintendo , with their weird insular behaviours, would never do anything that progressive.

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