Lego Universe Emulator Enters Talks with LEGO to Legitimize Project

Published: October 30, 2020 3:36 PM /


Darkflame Universe LEGO Universe deal cover

Lego Universe is a long-dead MMORPG where players can make some cool creations with the titular plastic bricks. Now, it may soon be making a comeback through the Darkflame Universe emulator via a deal with Lego Games.

This Lego MMORPG was first released in October of 2010, allowing players to jump into a fantastical universe where they can play in a massive open world and build some pretty cool creations. Although it released a free-to-play trial a year later, it ultimately didn't meet its sales expectations and closed down a little more than a year after its launch.

Since then, a team of game developers have created Darkflame Universe, an emulator which recreates the game and tries to get it to work on modern systems. As with most fan projects, Darkflame Universe wasn't created with Lego's permission — but it may soon get its blessing.

Darkflame Universe LEGO Universe deal slice

Lego Universe Emulator (and Other Fan Games) Praised by Lego

The Darkflame Universe team shared a message from Lego about their project, highlighting a new direction for the toy brick company. The team concedes that this is an "early initiative" by Lego, but it certainly looks promising.

"LEGO Games are always happy to hear from gaming fan communities, especially from such a dedicated fan base like the Darkflame LEGO Universe. We can confirm having a dialog with the creators behind the game to discuss the future plans of the game including ways the project can continue to exist. We see game development as an exciting opportunity to add new [ways] to engage with the LEGO brick. In the LEGO Games team, we are always looking for ways to inspire and encourage the fan community. As a result, we are looking into sharing general guiding principles for [fan-made] LEGO projects like the Darkflame LEGO Universe to inspire development of new fan-made gaming LEGO experiences. Stay tuned as more news to come on that end[.]"

In short, Darkflame Universe may be able to continue to work on its project with the blessing of Lego and, more importantly, no fear of the project getting taken down by a DMCA.

Creating a fan game (or reviving an older one through emulation) is a tricky process that can sometimes result in a DMCA takedown or other legal action — these developers rarely have legal rights to the code. Some developers are content to leave older abandoned games alone, others will attempt to work out a licensing arrangement or some other framework as Lego is doing here, and some companies — most notably Nintendo — will shut down fan games with a vengeance.

If the announcement from Darkflame Universe is accurate, it would mean that any fan-made, emulated, or otherwise revived projects would be able to exist. We've reached out to Lego to confirm the existence of this initiative and will update this article when we receive a reply.

Did you have the chance to play Lego Universe? Which dead Lego game would you like to see revived the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N