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Metroid 2 fan remake finally released, quickly hit with copyright claims

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Download sites reveal takedown notices for popular project

The long-awaited AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake launched on Aug. 6, just in time for the series’ 30th anniversary. The fan remake of Metroid 2: The Return of Samus came nearly 25 years after its original Game Boy release, giving fans a new way to experience the classic game. But by the evening of Aug. 7, however, file hosting services had removed the game download.

Initially available as a free Windows PC download on sites like MediaFire, the link from the game’s page now cites a copyright claim from Nintendo of America. Fan site The Metroid Database, which re-hosted the download on its own page, also received a notice from Nintendo’s legal counsel directly.

A letter from Miller, Nash, Graham and Dunn LLP cited infringements of Nintendo’s copyrighted material from games like Super Metroid, Metroid: Other M and Metroid Prime, alongside Metroid 2. That’s in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the letter says.

The ZIP file is no longer available to download, but a torrent remains live on the remake project’s blog. In threads on places like Metroid Database and NeoGAF, some have contested the veracity of the letter. That’s despite the fact that Miller, Nash, Graham and Dunn has been responsible for other Nintendo fan project takedowns in the past. A popular Super Mario 64 HD remake went offline not long after its release in March 2015, and its developer posted a similar DMCA notice from the law firm as an explanation. Still, we’ve reached out to the firm for more on the takedown notices, and if they issued them to the game’s developer as well as fan sites.

This is an unsurprising but no less bittersweet end for the Metroid 2 remake. Project AM2R had been in the works since 2012, with its developer (known as Doctor Mario 64) intent on revamping Metroid 2: Return of Samus with new graphics, the gameplay of Game Boy Advance title Metroid: Zero Mission, new areas and other improvements. The game finally made it onto Windows PC this past weekend after years of blog posts. A Linux version is in the works as well.

Players raved about the download while it was still readily available, particularly classic Metroid fans. In a statement issued to Polygon, Nintendo explained its position on projects like AM2R, although it’s unlikely to sate the Metroid-starved.

"Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans," it reads. "But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects."

There is a new, Nintendo-made Metroid on its way; Metroid Prime: Federation Force launches on Nintendo 3DS later this month. But a good, classic-style Metroid game hasn’t seen release on a home console since 2010’s Metroid: Other M, which received a mixed critical and commercial reception. With the Nintendo NX on the way, it could be a while until diehards get to play another adventure as the bounty hunter Samus.