In recent times, fan game development has become a bit more difficult than usual. It’s been under fire from lawyers and internet sites, with claims going around that it’s of questionable legality. It’s seen an increase in take downs from paranoid companies (like Nintendo and Konami). And with the recent track record of projects released to classics like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, many developers are now looking for an alternative.
And in most cases, that means turning to indie game development. Or just rebranding their projects so they’re not based on an existing IP.
So here are some examples of this. Here are some examples of fan game creators becoming professional game developers, starting with a small company you may not have heard about yet…
Despite actually knowing the fan games they’ve developed. Why? Because the folks at Fusion Gameworks were responsible for Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, Super Mario Fusion Revival and Mega Man Day in the Limelight. Yes, that Mushroom Kingdom Fusion:
The one where Mario (and a bunch of other characters) save the multiverse from the forces of evil in an absolutely gigantic mega crossover. That was these guys’ first (and most well known) project.
Since then though, they’ve slowly gotten tired of the fan game world, eventually culminating in their recent decision to stop making them altogether. That’s in part because of Nintendo’s recent fan project shut downs, and the team deciding Super Mario Fusion Revival (their most recent project) was too risky to continue in that form.
So they quit fan game development for the time being, and are working on a bunch of indie games with a similar gameplay style to their fan projects. I can’t say more than that yet, but they do look really good none the less.
And hey, talking of crossover fan game devs, they’re not the only ones to have moved to the indie scene…
Oh no, their ‘rivals’ in crossover fan game development are doing likewise. That’s because Exploding Rabbit are the creators of a game called Super Mario Bros Crossover, and they’ve also decided to move into the realm of indie games.
They’ve done this with a game called Glitch Strikers, a 2D platformer mixing various gameplay styles from the eight bit era. This project (previously titled Super Retro Squad) was announced back in 2012 and had a successful Kickstarter campaign to go with it, raising over $50,000 from more than 1,800 backers.
Unfortunately, that’s where the story kind of goes a bit wrong. Why? Because it turned out that $50,000 isn’t really all that much in the greater scheme of things, and the title’s development eventually collapsed on itself. This was not taken well by certain people online. Nor by certain gaming blogs, who accused them of ‘spending the money on a house’ or funding it with Super Mario Bros Crossover revenue.
Still, it’s back in development now, with a new trailer:
And more updates on their official site and YouTube channel. Hopefully this revitalised attempt at making the game will work out a bit better than their first one.
Either way, onto a slightly more experienced example of fan game dev turned pro now. Why more experienced?
Well, because they’ve actually made multiple games. Two full titles in a series called Last Legacy, and without having to raise any funding for either on Kickstarter.
But this wasn’t where they started off. Oh no, they started off with some fairly well known fan game projects beforehand, and those were what they build their name on. Said projects were a Super Mario 64 demake called Super Mario Sunshine 64:
Plus a more advanced one called Super Mario 63:
Both were damn impressive works in general, and their indie works were arguably just as good. So yeah, it seems making the move from fan games to indie games can be done successfully.
For the last few months or so, Nintendo has been getting a bit more into the smartphone market. They’ve released Miitomo, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes alongside DeNA. Pokemon GO is still making a ton of cash for both them and the Pokemon Company. And with more games coming along the line, it’s quite clear many other franchises will be making the jump too.
One of which seems like it may be the Zelda series. Why? Because as the title suggests, the Wall Street Journal has sources saying that a Zelda smartphone game may be in development over at Nintendo.
So how does it work?
Well to be honest, no one really knows yet. Some sites are speculating that a Super Mario Run type model might be in play here (aka one time payment for the full game), though it’s unknown how well such a title could be monetised. I mean, Super Mario Run made less money that Nintendo wanted it to. I’m not sure they’d be too thrilled about Zelda on smartphones doing the same.
Freemium mechanics could work I guess. They’d be controversial (like the Amiibo in Breath of the Wild already are), but they’d certainly lower the barrier to entry here. People don’t like spending money on buying mobile games after all.
Either way, that brings us to the next question. Namely, how would the gameplay work in such a Zelda title?
Well again, no one really knows. It’s generally assumed it won’t be like Breath of the Wild or the 3D Zelda games out there, since such games are seen as excessive on smartphones. Too many resources required for too little benefit.
But generally, there are two schools of thought here. One, that it’ll be like a traditional 2D Zelda game (except maybe with shorter levels). That’s the Super Mario Run way.
Or alternatively, that it’ll be a spinoff game with a new gameplay style. You know, like Pokemon GO was to Pokemon. Or perhaps, how Link’s Crossbow Training was to Twilight Princess. That would perhaps be the simplest answer here.
Regardless of what they choose though, we’ll know about it sooner rather than later. That’s because the Wall Street Journal also mentions that the title will follow their upcoming Animal Crossing game on smartphones. And given that said game is coming in late 2017, that means the Zelda mobile game will follow some time afterwards. Perhaps in early 2018 or something.
So what do you think about it? Are you interested in the possibility of a Zelda game for smartphones? And if so, what kind of game do you think it’ll be?
Nintendo Developing The Legend of Zelda Smartphone Game (Wall Street Journal)
Well, this is certainly an announcement we never saw coming! It’s a new game by PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura and Gitaroo Man creator Keiichi Yano! Here’s the teaser trailer for the title:
Plus a link to the official website. As you can see there isn’t much info there, but damn, the art and music certainly look great already. You’ve got the wacky character designs both are known for. The short bit of music on the site is as catchy as you’d expect. And well, with the game confirmed as a rhythm adventure title, it’s quite clear that it’s exactly what the fans are expecting. It’s basically gonna be like a new PaRappa the Rapper game. Or maybe a new Ouendan one.
And well, with those games being classics, no one can say no to that. Let’s hope the title ends up on Nintendo Switch at some point along the line too!
PaRappa the Rapper and Gitaroo Man creators announce Project Rap Rabbit (Gematsu)
Ever since Super Mario Run was released last year, it’s gotten a fair few regular updates. Nothing major (like new levels), but enough event items and Kingdom Builder additions to keep anyone busy. Like say, the Golden Goomba events run in February. Or the one off Christmas events that kickstarted the game in the first place.
And today, another one has been released! However, this is no ordinary update. Oh no, this update does quite a few things. Like fixing one issue that’s been causing player’s trouble right from the get go.
Yep, it removes the 9999 Toad limit. This is a freaking godsend for the game.
Why? Because as any player knows, you need thousands of Toads to get the more expensive objects.
And that presents a major problem. Because at only 9999 Toads maximum, you literally couldn’t ever afford to buy the objects without deliberately losing Toads to change your ‘balance’. You simply wouldn’t have any red Toads to buy the 8 Bit Mario statue or enough green Toads for the Luigi one.
Changing the cap to 99,999 fixes this immediately. Now you can always get an item for your kingdom without worrying at all about hitting the cap and not having enough Toads to make it available. Best of all, even the new items don’t seem to break this! Yeah, they cost more money and require more Toads, but even the most expensive one now only needs 15,000 red Toads and a few thousand of the other colours. So completionists can rest happy knowing they can afford anything the game throws at them.
As for other additions? Well there are some here. For example, now the game lets you use your Mii from Miitomo as you icon, if showing off your fancy outfits is something you care about. And Game Centre achievements have been added in too. So the game now works fine with Apple’s achievement system.
Either way, it’s a much needed update, and one that will make the game much more enjoyable to play for those still involved in the whole thing. Kudos to Nintendo for the fixes and improvements.
It’s been out for iOS devices since December 2016, but now the plumber’s first smartphone adventure is available on Android too. Yes, a few days ahead of schedule, Nintendo has released the game on Google Play for Android users to install. This can be seen on the official page right here:
Super Mario Run on Google Play
Along with a few of the standard app pictures as seen below:
However, that’s not all there is to it. Oh no, Nintendo have also released the update for the game today too. This 2.0 update adds in such things as:
- New Yoshi colours for characters
- The ability to play level 1-4 for free (in addition to the first 3 available already)
- And more varieties of Toads that free players can collect in Toad Rally. This in turn means extra playable characters and houses are now available in Kingdom Builder without buying the full game.
So yeah, go ahead and download it if you want. It’s a tad late given how long ago the iOS one was released, but at least you can now play it on Android devices too. Better late than never I suppose!
Super Mario Run on Google Play