Pokémon Essentials, a free mod for RPG Maker Software, received a DMCA from Nintendo yesterday, the first step at taking aim at the toolkit used to create fairly popular Pokémon fan games.
Pokémon Essentials was first released in 2007, and provided all of the graphics, music, maps, and tilesets that faithfully recreate a handheld Pokémon game. The toolset has been used on countless titles in the past, most notably Pokémon Uranium, which received its own takedown letter in 2016. The fan game community surrounding Pokémon Essentials included folks at the PokeCommunity board and even a Pokémon Essentials wiki, which has since been shut down.
A moderator on the PokeCommunity boards, going by the name of Marin, stated that the shutdown was due to a copyright claim by Nintendo of America. Marin stated that all assets relating to Pokémon Essentials will no longer be distributed by the community, including derivative assets such as Essentials GS or Essentials DS, two code engines to create games similar to Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
Marin also asks that the community not go after Nintendo for this decision. “Please don’t freak out about the claim,” he says in his original post. “And there’s no reason to get angry with Nintendo or anyone else involved. It doesn’t need to be a bigger deal than it should be.”
A representative of the wiki, in speaking with The Verge, noted a similar story, stating that “[The] fandom received a DMCA notice on behalf of Nintendo notifying us of content that was in violation of its copyright holdings. After carefully assessing the violations in regards to the Pokémon Essentials wiki, we came to a decision to take it down.”
Nintendo is known for aggressively protecting their copyright from fan-made or modified games. In 2016, both Pokémon Uranium and another fan-made game, the Metroid 2 remake AM2R, were hit with DMCA’s that forced them to be removed from download. Nintendo has also gone after service companies, such as Game Jolt and GitHub and has requested they remove hundreds of fan games from their websites, and has even blocked HD remakes of classic titles such as Super Mario 64.
It is unlikely Nintendo will cease protecting their copyright, despite the constant stream of fan-made products based on popular Nintendo properties. The files for Pokémon Essentials have also not been erased, only their central hubs have been removed, meaning fan-made games using the toolset will likely continue operation for the foreseeable future.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Is Nintendo right in protecting its copyrights? Or should they just leave toolsets like Pokémon Essentials alone? Leave your comments below.