It always happens the same way every time. A fan of [insert IP here] creates a port or mod of said IP that is good enough to gin up media attention. Then the corporate lawyers swoop in and shut it down. Legal teams defend dead IPs that have not generated a dime of revenue in years as if the mods have stolen a great fortune.
Earlier this month, a Far Cry 5 modder who goes by Krollywood got some media attention for his meticulous recreation of every level from the 1997 Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007. It took him three years and over 1,400 hours to painstakingly reproduce all the maps using Far Cry 5’s level editor and it shows because they look fantastic (below). The levels were playable via FC5’s arcade mode. Unfortunately, ‘were’ is the operative word.
This week Far Cry publisher Ubisoft deleted the levels following a cease and desist from a “rights holder.”
As far as anyone knows, MGM is the original rights holder for the GoldenEye IP, but Ubisoft did not confirm who issued the C&D. Nintendo is another player with a stake in the game. Both Nintendo and MGM have been hawkish over their properties.
Regardless of where the copyright strike came from, we can’t say we are surprised. Time and time again, we see fan-made remakes and recreations axed by corporate lawyers. Nintendo has chased numerous copyright challenges for various IPs over the years. MGM has put the kibosh on more than a couple of efforts to recreate GoldenEye, including the Unreal 4 remake GoldenEye 25 last year.
“I’m really sad—not because of myself or the work I put in the last three years, [but] because of the players who wanna play it or bought Far Cry just to play my levels,” Krollywood told Kotaku. “In the beginning, I started this project just for me and my best friend, because we loved the original game so much, but there are many GoldenEye fans out there.”
Krollywood says he doubts he’ll try to bring the levels back because he’s “on their radar now.”