Another fan-made romhack of a Nintendo game has been hit with a DMCA takedown. The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link can't be found at its original page, although it's not likely to be gone forever.
The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link was created by a team headed up by the modder Kaze Emanuar. Most of his work has focused on games based on the Super Mario franchise, but last year saw the announcement of a fan-made game that aimed to bridge the gap between The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. That game was subsequently released earlier this year.
Check out this teaser trailer for The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link to get an idea of the game's vibe:
Naturally, it looks quite similar to the N64-era games at a glance; after all, it makes use of many of the assets from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. However, players would find that it's a totally new experience providing several hours of new gameplay.
Unfortunately, TorrentFreak reports that Nintendo has issued a DMCA takedown for the game's GitHub page, effectively killing the official download of this project. Nintendo cited several unsurprising issues that it had with this fan project.
"The copyrighted works are the video games in Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda video game franchise, including without limitation the audio-visual works, story lines, characters, and imagery in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0000901848), The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001940271), and others," read the DMCA complaint on GitHub. "Nintendo has reviewed the reported material and does not believe it qualifies as a fair use of Nintendo’s copyright-protected work."
Why was The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link DMCA'd by Nintendo?
This fan-made Zelda game looked like a pretty interesting experience, but Nintendo was likely to eventually take some kind of legal action against the project. As I've previously noted, making a fan-made game without getting hit by a DMCA is a challenging undertaking. There were several key issues that made The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link vulnerable to a DMCA takedown:
- It uses one of Nintendo's trademarks
- It uses Nintendo's copyrighted characters
- It uses the engine of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- It has to be played with a ROM
The DMCA of a popular fan-made game will nonetheless be disappointing to the people who liked it. That said, it has floated around on the Internet relatively unmolested for several months, so Nintendo's DMCA of the title seems like nothing more than a formality at this point — odds are, the people who want to play it will be able to find copies online before Nintendo can DMCA those, too.
What do you think of The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link getting hit with a DMCA by Nintendo? Do you think Nintendo should leave nonprofit fan games alone? Let us know in the comments below!