What is the general rule for fan games?

Fauxworks

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I need to know since I'm making a kingdomhearts one for fun
 
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As far as I'm aware, if people make them just for fun, they'll usually be alright. The big problems start when people making them try to make money, since it is copyright infringement. But just making and sharing a fangame? Seems like fanart to me.

Worth noting different companies/creators have different attitudes to fangames. Some indie creators for example love fangames, encourage them and even allow them to be monetised. Whereas I know quite a few Pokémon fangames have been told to cease and desist.
 

Fauxworks

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Just wanted to be sure and I"ll plaster the "blah blah belongs to square/Disney thingy.
 

GolvaeGames

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I think using art rips is frowned upon but thats about it
 

Stimulantfound

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Fan games can be hit with a DMCA notice if they become popular enough. AM2R, for example . . . :frown: You can still find AM2R, thanks to preservation efforts, but the original project was taken down shortly after it was released.

You can try using Base64 Encode and Decode - Online. If you encode the download link to your project when you're ready to share it, it may help it stay available.
 
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Andar

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@Fauxworks @Jammythewerewolf
99% of all fangames are automatically illegal. The only way to make them legal is to make them a parody of the original (that is laughing and ridiculing the original game that you are a fan of), because that is the only way they can gain the protection of "fair use".

The reason why so many fangames survive for a time is because the IP Holder needs to know of their existance before they can send a DCMA notice.

That has nothing to do with making money - but if you start making money you increase the chance of being sued, and being sued for higher amounts of money, simply because then they know they can get money back ifrom you instead of paying their lawyers without getting anything back from you.
Using rips (resources ripped from the original game without licence) will also increase the chance of getting sued even if you're not making any money.

and in this case specifically? Disney is known for being extremely harsh on any fangame - some companies pretend to not have found minor cases of fangames, but Disney always sends lawyers against them.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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A lot of fan games manage to stay alive because they just aren't big enough to hit a radar, but they are technically illegal. However, unless the game becomes too noticeable, you usually won't see much action carried out against them.

So, you're free to make your game if you desire, but I would be very careful about sharing it with anyone beyond your friends.
 

GolvaeGames

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to be fair 99% of these should probably not be shared beyond friends... and maybe not even them if you plan on continuing the friendship.
 

orochi2k

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First, if the author of the original work agrees, then no problem.
Second, if you just make it for personal enjoyment, study, or SCIEEEEENNNNCE, it shall be OK. (It usually get into the fair-use/fair-dealing category )

If you release your game publically or even make it commercially, then... you may be in trouble if the copyright owner decides to take action against you.
How big the trouble is...is mostly depending on how much damage the court thinks you have caused to the copyright owner. (Commerical games usually based on sales and download numbers, non-commercial games are mostly based on download/tariff numbers like piracy damage calculation. )

Usually, a fan-game may not cause much "damage", thus, sometimes copyright owners may not bother to take any action at all. But, that does not mean it's OK to do so without permission.
 

Stimulantfound

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I did some research, and I found out that SEGA doesn't care if you make a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game . . . in fact they encourage it all over their twitter, and social media outlets . . . so, I guess it really depends on the company.
 

Mr. Detective

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to be fair 99% of these should probably not be shared beyond friends... and maybe not even them if you plan on continuing the friendship.

This is among the most bizarre statements I've heard on this forum. I'm not even sure what to say right now. Just hope OP has good friends.
 

GolvaeGames

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I mean that most of them are not as good as an original idea
 

Aesica

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A fangame featuring both Disney and Square Enix IP? Both are known for being dickbags so you'd have to keep it pretty low profile. I know for a fact Square Enix has thrown the axe at certain fangames, such as Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. It could've been done due to the fact the game was a ROM edit of CT rather than an original engine, though.

Here's their Material Use Policy
 

Raizen

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Like I say to most people that ask this, in 99% there won't be a single problem in a fan-game, so making it is very hard to bring any actual problems with you, usually the biggest problem is the download links being taken out and stuff like that, specially if you are making it free, making it commercial increases the odd to actually bring you problems like some people stated above.

The thing is, you will invest your time on it, the better the fan-game you want to make, the more time will be invested in the actual game, and the better the game, the easier chance of it being found out and you getting forced to take it out from where you uploaded. So why go through this headache and not just invest in something that 100% won't give you problems? Time is our most important thing, using it on something that can backfire, I don't agree too much even if the chances are low.
 

orochi2k

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:kaojoy:Here is a fun fact:
I am making a fan game of Stone Age online. (Yes, I still am after 16 years. But, my main focus is currently on its sequel, a game with no copyright issue on Steam.)
My fan game outlived Stone Age Online and its developer and its publisher.
They are all gone long ago while I slowly turn my game more and more deviate from the original games...It became something new... It became...NEOLITHIC.

I also used RMXP to make a mimic of HearthStone. It seems Blizzard does not care in the last few years...
OK...this is not a fan game...It's just a tech demo to mock one of my friends who was working in the HearthStone team back then... Look, I can even make it with RMXP in one afternoon! :kaojoy:
 

PixeLockeT

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Make that fangame, live your dream. Life is too short not to do what you want. Personally I think it's a scummy move when they C&D fanbased content (as long as it doesn't use assets or profit). Most of the time you're going to be just fine.

The RPG Maker proj I work on is also a fangame, based on my fanfiction. I make it on the side as a hobby because I have a fire in my soul for the series. It's a love letter not "competition". <3 Make that fangame, and make it have enough originality that, in case of C&D, you can just tweak this a little here and there and it'll be all your own. (that's what I do~)
 

Wanderer2691

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As far as I'm aware, if people make them just for fun, they'll usually be alright. The big problems start when people making them try to make money, since it is copyright infringement. But just making and sharing a fangame? Seems like fanart to me.

Worth noting different companies/creators have different attitudes to fangames. Some indie creators for example love fangames, encourage them and even allow them to be monetised. Whereas I know quite a few Pokémon fangames have been told to cease and desist.
Curious, what's Atlus' opinion on fangames?
 

bgillisp

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Officially? You should get permission. End of story on that part of it.

As for the rest, most will go after you if you break copywrite law. That means you cannot use their assets in any way shape or form without permission as that is a breach of copywrite law. Some companies do make exceptions but that's their TOS, so you always check what the company thinks of it and go form there.

But about 99% of AAA companies are against them and will C and D you the minute they learn your game exists, regardless of if it is free or not. Some of this is to protect the image of the game and property as if you release Kingdom Hearts 3.4251 and its got adult scenes someone will probably find it and think it is a legit game then get mad at Disney and it will escalate from there to them coming after you for am illegal game made of their IP that damaged their rep.

Plus your fan game messes up google searches on the game if it gets popular enough too which can taint the image if it is a bad game. So there is that too.
 

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