We concluded our report on the weekend release of AM2R, the “seriously impressive” fan remake of Metroid II, with a question: “Will Nintendo send a cease-and-desist letter to shut the project down?" We now have our answer, and I'm sorry to say that it will likely not shock you in the least.
A legal firm representing Nintendo of America sent a DMCA copyright claim to Project AM2R, the home of the remake, as well as the Metroid Database fan site, which was hosting it. There was initially some question about the legitimacy of the letter, but Metroid Database said in a follow-up on Facebook that it had been contacted directly by the attorney involved, “and it appears the notice is indeed legitimate.” Download links on both sites have since been removed.
“Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans," Nintendo said in a statement sent to Polygon. "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."
It's an unfortunate outcome—Tom seemed quite taken by it—but I don't think anyone can claim to be terribly surprised that this is how it all shook out. It doesn't necessarily mean that it's the end of the line, however. The maker of the mod said in a blog post that he will "continue improving and fixing AM2R privately," and is trying to work out a way to get updates to people who have the game. He also asked that supporters not be angry with Nintendo over the copyright claim, saying that it has a "legal obligation to protect their IP."
"Instead of sending hate mail, get the original M2 from the eShop," he wrote. "Show them that 2D adventure platformers are still a thing people want."
Of course, this is the internet, where nothing ever really disappears forever, and because AM2R isn't dependent on Steam or any other online service, if you can find it—say, if you know somebody who downloaded it before the DMCA takedown notice was sent—then you can play it. I'm just saying.