Makers of Fan-Made Streets of Rage Remake Surprised to Learn Sega Does Not Want Them Distributing a Fan-Made Streets of Rage Remake

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Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Here is a completely unsurprising piece of news that is, nonetheless, disappointing. Over the course of the last eight years or so, you may have heard about indie developer Bombergames working on a little labor of love called Streets of Rage Remake. The game, which is less a remake of Sega's first Streets of Rage game and more an almost fetishistic love letter to every entry in the series (especially Streets of Rage 2, which we all know is totally the best one), included every single character featured in the three titles (including some that were only included on the box art), over 100 levels, and an almost disturbing level of attention to detail. Then again, after eight years of development, you'd hope that it showed off a little polish.

Various versions of the game have been released over the last few years, but just last week, Bombergames released the "final" version of the title via Windows to a great deal of fanfare across the Internet. Hopefully you got your chance to play it, because now it's impossible to find except on various torrent sites, thanks to a legal notice just sent to Bombergames by Sega. The studio was contacted today and subsequently pulled down all download links to the title, and asked players via the company's forums not to redistribute download links while they sort this out with Sega.

Now, the natural question one would tend to have pop in their head upon reading news like this is, "Isn't it kind of obvious that Sega wouldn't be cool with a developer making a game based on their intellectual property without their say-so?" Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants-Obvious-Question-Asking-Person, yeah, that does make a lot of sense, and in a statement to Kotaku, they said as much: == TEASER ==

"SEGA is committed to supporting any fans that take an interest in our games, and where possible we do so by involving them in Beta tests and other development, marketing or research opportunities. However we need to protect our intellectual property rights and this may result in us requesting that our fans remove online imagery, videos or games in some instances."


Now, the thing of it is, Bombergames says that they repeatedly sent permission requests to Sega regarding the remake, and even claimed that Sega was pretty much cool with it. That's the thing, though: unless you have iron-clad approval in writing from a legal department, you don't have permission that will hold up to any kind of scrutiny. Sega is still selling versions of the Streets of Rage games in various digital formats, so it's completely logical that they'd be less-than-enthused by the notion of someone remaking their games without some agreement in place that will make them money.

That cold, callous logic is undoubtedly little comfort to anyone involved in the making of Streets of Rage Remake. You can give them all the guff you like for spending eight years of their lives working on a project that seemed destined for a Cease and Desist notice, but sometimes, when you really, really love something, logic, reason, and reverence for the law go flying out the window. Unfortunately, "We're in love" is not a valid legal defense. Believe me, I've tried it.
Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Here is a completely unsurprising piece of news that is, nonetheless, disappointing. Over the course of the last eight years or so, you may have heard about indie developer Bombergames working on a little labor of love called Streets of Rage Remake. The game, which is less a remake of Sega's first Streets of Rage game and more an almost fetishistic love letter to every entry in the series (especially Streets of Rage 2, which we all know is totally the best one), included every single character featured in the three titles (including some that were only included on the box art), over 100 levels, and an almost disturbing level of attention to detail. Then again, after eight years of development, you'd hope that it showed off a little polish.

Various versions of the game have been released over the last few years, but just last week, Bombergames released the "final" version of the title via Windows to a great deal of fanfare across the Internet. Hopefully you got your chance to play it, because now it's impossible to find except on various torrent sites, thanks to a legal notice just sent to Bombergames by Sega. The studio was contacted today and subsequently pulled down all download links to the title, and asked players via the company's forums not to redistribute download links while they sort this out with Sega.

Now, the natural question one would tend to have pop in their head upon reading news like this is, "Isn't it kind of obvious that Sega wouldn't be cool with a developer making a game based on their intellectual property without their say-so?" Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants-Obvious-Question-Asking-Person, yeah, that does make a lot of sense, and in a statement to Kotaku, they said as much: == TEASER ==

"SEGA is committed to supporting any fans that take an interest in our games, and where possible we do so by involving them in Beta tests and other development, marketing or research opportunities. However we need to protect our intellectual property rights and this may result in us requesting that our fans remove online imagery, videos or games in some instances."


Now, the thing of it is, Bombergames says that they repeatedly sent permission requests to Sega regarding the remake, and even claimed that Sega was pretty much cool with it. That's the thing, though: unless you have iron-clad approval in writing from a legal department, you don't have permission that will hold up to any kind of scrutiny. Sega is still selling versions of the Streets of Rage games in various digital formats, so it's completely logical that they'd be less-than-enthused by the notion of someone remaking their games without some agreement in place that will make them money.

That cold, callous logic is undoubtedly little comfort to anyone involved in the making of Streets of Rage Remake. You can give them all the guff you like for spending eight years of their lives working on a project that seemed destined for a Cease and Desist notice, but sometimes, when you really, really love something, logic, reason, and reverence for the law go flying out the window. Unfortunately, "We're in love" is not a valid legal defense. Believe me, I've tried it.
Staff
#2 Posted by BeardyDuck (84 posts) -

Luckily I got it withing the first few days of it being released.

#3 Posted by august (3836 posts) -

SUPLIES

Online
#4 Posted by Bocam (3722 posts) -

That sucks

#5 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6197 posts) -
@BeardyDuck said:
" Luckily I got it withing the first few days of it being released. "
How was it?
#6 Posted by StarvingGamer (8156 posts) -

Hahaha I love your titles.

#7 Posted by Commisar123 (1791 posts) -

shocking

#8 Posted by august (3836 posts) -

I'm sure this is because Sega has new and exciting plans for this excellent and beloved classic game series.


Or they'll just keep pumping out more Sonic games.
Online
#9 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

Don't call it Streets of Rage, change names around, change some art, and put it back up.  

Fair Use, call it a parody.

#10 Posted by MiniPato (2732 posts) -

Just name it Street of Remage.

#11 Posted by ZombiePie (5642 posts) -

Brevity is the soul of wit. 

Moderator
#12 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2489 posts) -

You can still get it through a site that rhymes with Pirate Say.

Oh wait, nothing rhymes with pirate.

It's pretty cool for a free remake, and it's shame Sega is pulling in the reigns on it considering it's on a platform they probably wouldn't actually release a new Streets of Rage game on themselves.

#13 Posted by Undeadpool (4924 posts) -

You know? For a minute there...yeah, I kinda did...

#14 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -
@Undeadpool:

Silly Rabbit...
Staff
#15 Posted by Phoenix87 (479 posts) -

Well Sega, get off your ass, and do something with the franchise, instead of letting it rot for almost 20 years.

#16 Posted by agentboolen (1764 posts) -

After playing it Sega would be stupid to not try to buy this remake off this developer.  I was blown a way by how good it actually was and how much extras it has in it.  If you ask me we have not seen the last of this remake, quality is just to high for it to be completely buried.  For anyone dying to play it just use our friend Google, he'll find anything.    

#17 Posted by ajamafalous (11963 posts) -

It'll live on through torrents I'm sure.

#18 Posted by Landon (4139 posts) -

Rerelease it under Raging Streets

#19 Posted by csl316 (8469 posts) -

Got it day one and it's amazing.

Really, if they repackage and redistribute this I'd pay $10 for it again.

Online
#20 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@KaosAngel said:
" Don't call it Streets of Rage, change names around, change some art, and put it back up.  Fair Use, call it a parody. "
They've already done that, it's called Beats of Rage.  This was meant to be something special and frankly SEGA are being dicks about it.  It's not the dudes released the game on iOS or anything.
#21 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

Sega HATES people having fun with their properties. They employ the negative Midas touch when they make games themselves.

Only Sega would refuse to update Virtua Fighter in this reborn age of 2D fighting games. "We have a PC version of VF2 that still runs on today's hardware... let's put up an emulated version of the Genesis port on Steam and sell that instead."

#22 Posted by WJist (313 posts) -

Hell yeah Streets of Rage 2 is the totally the best one!

Maybe there's a possibility for this news to goad them to do a XBLA/PSN Streets of Rage HD and not this "unofficial" fan remake (c'mon, give them credit for trying, Sega!) Also, why do I feel like a lot of Sega titles evoke this kind of fan response (cough, Sonic, cough)?

Online
#23 Posted by rjayb89 (7720 posts) -

I'm gonna miss Best Coast Alex. =(

#24 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow: But I have to take Sega's stance on this.  It's Sega's IP and fair use doesn't work when these guys are doing it this way, so either get Sega to get on board, or convince them to sell it over PSN and XBLA.  

These guys are technically committing a copyright crime, and while they aren't asking for money, Sega still has the right to shut it down.  
#25 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Yeah, I have version five of this, as well. It's really something special, considering everything was redone. It also included all player sprites from all of the games, plus editors, a shitload of unlockables (like characters), and divergent pathways.


Hopefully Bombergames works something out with Sega that will allow them to distribute this, because for beat'em up fiends like myself, this is a love letter to the entire genre.
#26 Posted by Eribuster (487 posts) -

Sad but expected news. It would be great if Sega works with Bomber games to have a legitimate release of the game with online multiplayer.

#27 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@KaosAngel said:
" @SeriouslyNow: But I have to take Sega's stance on this.  It's Sega's IP and fair use doesn't work when these guys are doing it this way, so either get Sega to get on board, or convince them to sell it over PSN and XBLA.  These guys are technically committing a copyright crime, and while they aren't asking for money, Sega still has the right to shut it down.   "
Sure and that's a valid argument to defend one's business from being defamed or losing income but to allow the progress of such a thing for almost a decade and then shut it down at the last step?  That's malicious and isn't particularly clever when it comes to supporting your supporters.
#28 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1091 posts) -

The smarm in this article is almost palpable, Alex.

Sega has, in the past, had very good relations with fan projects like these. Going "Well dur, of course they shut this down" is kind of ignoring the history at play here between Sega and its fans. The fact of the matter is, if you're the kind of person who's understood all of this stuff and kept up with it as its unfolded, a move like this feels a little backhanded on Sega's part.

Yes, they're totally within their legal rights, but they're also in their legal rights to shut down all fanart, fanfiction, and everything else, and well, the amount of sad Sonic the Hedgehog fanstuff out there proves they aren't really terribly proactive in that arena. The same goes for every other DeviantArt profile chocked full of slash fiction for every franchise under the sun.

And that's not even counting the huge steps Sega has apparently been taking in the last 18 months to get closer to their community . This, on the other hand, feels more like a knee-jerk reaction and is more likely to help push away the community.

Not cool, in other words.

#29 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow: Well, I didn't know it was going on for a decade.  That is indeed a dick move.  

Best bet would be to sell it to SEGA and hope that they don't drop the devs like rocks, and just "steal" (can you steal your own IP O_o) it from them.
#30 Edited by Skald (4367 posts) -
#31 Posted by jakob187 (21665 posts) -

Hey, here's an idea for Sega:  how about you pay those guys some money and release the game via XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, Steam, and whatever the fuck else you can put it on?!  Seriously, these guys busted ass for eight years on a labor of love to make a game that they wanted to make.  Meanwhile, you want money.  There's a product with your characters and licenses, and the labor is done.


Problem fucking solved.
#32 Posted by powerpc127 (99 posts) -

I'm downloading that torrent right now even though I probably can't play it (I'm on a mac) JUST because Sega took it down. It's not much, but I feel that if Sega is going to pretend to be fine with a fan remake of a game for EIGHT YEARS before sending a cease and decist, the least I could do is give the torrent some hits and help seed it a bit. This kinda has me worried about the Sonic 2 HD fan game that's being worked on right now.

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Usually these games attract more attention to the original than any advertising possibly could. And if someone plays a great fan game, they're more likely to buy actual games in the frachise later on. Whatever. This really sucks.

#33 Posted by HairyMike87 (1016 posts) -

Well, I found a way to get it so I'll be enjoying it anyway.

#34 Posted by SomeJerk (3217 posts) -

Use intellectual property that belongs to another company when you don't have any right to it, get treated accordingly, I thought this was clear? What next, anonymous goes after Sega?

#35 Posted by sickVisionz (1268 posts) -

The internet in general has to learn that inspired by and obviously a knock off but not legally identical is the way to go for projects like this.

#36 Edited by Axelhander (159 posts) -
@somejerk:  Wouldn't surprise me if they did.

I don't get why the people who commit to these long and (apparently) thoughtful projects don't just come up with original IPs for them.

I mean, I'm an aspiring screenwriter, but I don't want to do it for free. I want to make fantastic, heartfelt stories that mean something... and I want money.
#37 Posted by Evilsbane (4595 posts) -
@jakob187 said:
" Hey, here's an idea for Sega:  how about you pay those guys some money and release the game via XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, Steam, and whatever the fuck else you can put it on?!  Seriously, these guys busted ass for eight years on a labor of love to make a game that they wanted to make.  Meanwhile, you want money.  There's a product with your characters and licenses, and the labor is done.

Problem fucking solved.
"
Pffft stop making sense you fool.
#38 Posted by Undeadpool (4924 posts) -
@alex: Trix are for-
#39 Posted by SBYM (1219 posts) -

Make something original, and if not that, then make something that's very similar to, but non-copyright infringing.

#40 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5254 posts) -
@jakob187 said:
" Hey, here's an idea for Sega:  how about you pay those guys some money and release the game via XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, Steam, and whatever the fuck else you can put it on?!  Seriously, these guys busted ass for eight years on a labor of love to make a game that they wanted to make.  Meanwhile, you want money.  There's a product with your characters and licenses, and the labor is done.

Problem fucking solved.
"
Like you just have to think that someone in Corporate Sega land thought of this. I mean right? I wouldn't be too surprised to see this pop up as a downloadable game.

Eventually.

In some form.
#41 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2379 posts) -

Sega's being a jerk. Let it exist, they're just saying they love your games and it won't hurt you at all. In fact it might even help sales of your streets of rage ports or other products. And you can always shut down any franchises made on your intellectual property so just let it go.

#42 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Dealing a legal distribution agreement would be a nice play, but Sega's publishing wing is supermega incompetent.

#43 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

Ya, that headline pretty much says it all. It's too bad, but it's just the way things are.

#44 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -
@Undeadpool:

...kids...
Staff
#45 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

Sega should either pick the studio up, or let them keep doing what they are doing. If they care so much about this IP, they would have done something with it by now.

#46 Posted by AngriGhandi (774 posts) -

Sega! 
Don't you know that telling the internet they can't have something only makes them steal it harder?
Don't you have kids??

#47 Posted by SpicyRichter (531 posts) -

Why doesn't sega buy it and distribute it themselves, giving the developers a cut?

Seems like free money for both sides

Or is this a crowd sourced game and royalties would be impossible to figure out?

#48 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -
@SpicyRichter: All the royalties would go to Sega.  They can just take this game and not give the devs a dime.
#49 Posted by Karkarov (3079 posts) -

I would agree with the article if it weren't for the fact that they have been doing this for 8 years, made repeated requests to SEGA for the rights, and SEGA is doing absolutely nothing with the IP to begin with.  If SEGA really cared why did they wait until all the work was done and it was live to shut it down?  Can you say BS corporate politics?  It is legal sure, but it isn't moral, professional, or very conducive to earning your fans respect or trust.

#50 Posted by AgentMOO (186 posts) -

Kids, there's nothing more cool than making a beat em up game and playing it with someone you like.
But if someone wants to remake your intellectual property in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that's no good.
So what do ya do? Well first you tell someone you trust, like your legal department, then you send a big ol' cease and desist letter and get out of there!

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