Over the weekend, a Nintendo fan project was killed on Kickstarter. The project is Hand-Drawn Game Guides, and was going to be filled with hand-drawn images on some of the most iconic games. I was pretty excited about it because it reminded me of buying a magazine specifically for a guide, even though that’s not what this was. However, the creators issued an update over the weekend that due to various legal issues that they didn’t have the time to navigate, they were killing the project for now. I’ve seen this happen with other books on Kickstarter before, and it’s all down to Nintendo. Make no mistake, this company hates fan projects, but I don’t understand why.
The issue that Nintendo likely had with Hand-Drawn Game Guides is that there were pieces of art in there that resemble Nintendo IP. The company is notoriously hardline when it comes to that particular form of copyright, so I suspect an ultimatum was issued saying that the images had to be altered. I have no idea how much time has gone into the book already, but altering what was there already was probably way more work than the Kickstarter had generated. It’s not a cost the creators could have accounted for, and that’s why I think the project was killed. There’s every chance it’ll come back as something similar that doesn’t have the same like for like images, but it’s all up in the air for now.
Most companies will take action if someone is blatantly selling concept art or images ripped from its games. That makes sense. However, I’ve never known another developer or publisher to be this harsh when it comes to fan creations, particularly artwork. That artwork has been drawn by someone else, and while it’s inspired by a game, it’s still original. I’d see no issue with it, but Nintendo is a funny old company. Part of me wonders whether it sees all these projects and reckons it could do it themselves. I guarantee that after actions like this, no one would buy the products from Nintendo. At least, not in the same capacity that this creator’s community would.