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The Tinglar Difference: Fan Involvement

Recently, there has been controversy on how Nintendo dealt with the Metroid fangame AM2R and the Pokémon Fangame Pokémon Uranium. This is not a new phenomenon, either; Nintendo has also effectively shut down Pokémon Evoas. Nintendo is not the only one involved, either; Sega shut down the Streets of Rage Remake while Square Enix shut down both Chrono Resurrection and, later, Crimson Echoes. No matter what you think on the morals of both the fangames and the shutdowns, whatever the motivations, the game companies have effectively punished the fan’s loyalty to the games the companies made.

Of course, one way to avoid this issue is making a game that copies or grows the previous gameplay while not actually using anything from the original setting. Freedom Planet grew from Sonic the Hedgehog while Axiom Verge grew from Metroid, yet they even got released on official consoles! (That is right; Nintendo let a sort-of Metroid fangame on one of Nintendo’s consoles!)

Even the official developers, disgruntled by how their companies handle the developer’s games, left their companies and made their own spiritual sequels. A lot of employees left Rare, the publisher of Banjo Kazooie, and are making Yooka-Laylee. Koji Igarashi left Konami, the publisher of Castlevania, and is making Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. More infamously, Keiji Inafune left Capcom, the publisher of Mega Man, and made the Mighty No. 9 and is making Red Ash.

My game, Wuu Shyng (working title), is based on this principle.

More specifically, Wuu Shyng is supposed to be a spiritual successor to the Pokémon games, though Wuu Shyng not only implements ideas from other games (notably The Legend of Zelda and Zelda 2: the Adventure of Link) but also takes into a different direction the original ideas that became Pokémon. In fact, Wuu Shyng fixes some issues that fretted fans of the original Pokémon games; accuracy and evasion do not exist in Wuu Shyng, if I were to give a quintessential example.

Even so, I had several important reasons on making a spiritual sequel instead of a fangame, even if I did disregard the risk of Nintendo shutting down my game.

  • This was a college project. I would have at least given my college a big embarrassment if I were to make a game that used an official company’s previous assets!
  • Though this is more a reason why I spent so much effort in differentiating Wuu Shyng from Pokémon, a blatant clone would be rightfully be considered a rip-off of Pokémon that misses the point why the original games are popular. (Who cares about all those clones that litter App Stores?) After all, I actually plan on Wuu Shyng eclipsing Pokémon while taking in, and making feel at home, fans that are dissatisfied with the original Pokémon games, lofty that goal may be.
  • I get to avoid any baggage that the original games have. For example, some Pokémon designs were flops, yet a fangame, even if implementing only the best Pokémon designs, would still, by implication, call back to every Pokémon design, not just the good ones. Making my own game would make a clean break.
  • The biggest reason is also the most emotional: a spiritual successor would make the game mine. I would not be bound by the settings of the originals or the mentalities of the makers. I can do whatever I want with my game. I have full freedom. This is important, because…
  • …I would be able to freely license my game. All games by Tinglar are (at the time of writing) licensed by the GPL. That way, fans can add to, remix, or even tribute my games without legal issues that would just hurt everyone. I want to reward the dedication my fans have and, in fact, want to give them my approval. (Of course, the GPL would require fans to make any derivatives under the GPL, but I would rather keep the freedom flowing rather than use a less permissive license.)