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Konami issues cease and desist against Unreal Castlevania fan remake

But publisher has allowed all current files to remain available, developer hopes to acquire an official licence

Japanese publisher Konami is the latest to face the issue of how to deal with fan projects using its IP - in this case, a remake of the original Castlevania.

The remake's developer, who was in the process of recreating the 1986 action platformer in the Unreal Engine, posted an update on the project's website claiming that work will stop after Konami issued a cease and desist.

"They've allowed me to keep the files up for now, but all development and updates must be ceased," creator Dejawolf writes. "There's a small glimmer of hope though. Jay from Konami UK will do what he can to see if it's possible to get an official license."

Publishers responding to fan projects has been a hot topic in 2016. Nintendo has been famously strict in its policies, shutting down well over 500 projects earlier this year. One notable example is Pokémon Uranium, a fan-created title that had been nine years in the making, which was pulled down by Nintendo less than a week after launch. This is arguably understandable given how valuable the Pokémon brand currently is in the wake of Go, Sun and Moon's success.

Around the same time, the platform holder also shut down a remake of Metroid 2. Both titles were banned from being shortlisted for this month's Game Awards. Conversely, Sega has hired the team behind an unofficial remaster of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 to help with upcoming retro-style outing Sonic Mania.

Konami's approach is interesting in that it is somewhere in between. Potentially allowing Dejawolf to acquire a licence to use Castlevania is a sign of confidence that fans can handle publisher-owned properties with respect, and could give the firm a nostalgia-driven product to release and promote without expending the development resources. Even the fact that the project hasn't been shut down completely is a statement that the publisher doesn't plan to punish its dedicated fans.

The situation becomes trickier when external developers attempt to commercialise their fan creations, although even in this situation companies have been known to be lenient. Valve approved the Black Mesa team to sell their Half-Life remake via Steam, despite the fact that the project was a direct competitor to Valve's own remaster.

Whether the Castlevania remake remains available in its current state remains to be seen, but with nostalgia increasingly a driving force behind trends in the industry further fan creations are inevitable and each IP holder will no doubt respond in their own way.

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