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Fan-developed remake of Vampire: The Masquerade shut down, loses a year of work

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Another fan-made video game remake has been shut down by the copyright holder, in this case a reboot of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines that lost nearly a year's worth of work after looking for permission from the wrong rights holder.

"Project Vaulderie" (pictured), as the remake was known, posted an update to supporters on Friday saying it had received a cease-and-desist message from CCP Games, owner of the rights to the franchise. The development team said it had no intention of releasing the game commercially and that an original copy of Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, would be needed to play the new version.

Project Vaulderie appears to have gone forward with no clear permission to do so from the rights holder. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines launched in 2004, developed by Troika Games and published by Activision.

Project Vaulderie's leaders appear to have been reaching out to Activision regarding rights to continue with the remake, even though CCP had been working on an MMO based on the Vampire: The Masquerade universe since 2009, before canceling it altogether this spring.

CCP in its letter to Project Vaulderie said that though Activision does retain rights to the 2004 game it published, "CCP continues to own all other rights associated with Vampire: The Masquerade," as White Wolf Publishing, the role-playing game and book publisher, merged with CCP in 2006.

"Our contact told us that the copyrights were with Activision, so we pursued there instead, with a pitch being prepared for the company to discuss what we were going to do with the property," the project managers wrote.

"It's clear that there won't be any newer titles created under the Vampire the Masquerade brand, as this project was the only hope for Bloodlines to reborn from the ashes they were left to cease," they added.

Fan-made remakes of video games owned by publishers have been permitted under non-commercial licenses. A good example is the massive Skywind remastering of Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, using the engine from The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Many others end up shut down by rights-holders when they discover someone is doing something with their copyrighted work.