Alright, it's time for a post that's both exciting and a little anxious. The exciting part first: I have officially put up version 1.0 of a game that I've been working on for 10 months in my free time. It's called the Rise of Magus, and is a platformer based on the character Magus from Chrono Trigger, a classic Japanese RPG.
The official site for the game is here: www.silentellipsis.com/riseofmagus
If you go to silentellipsis.com, you'll also find a nifty link to this blog (henceforth the official blog of silentellipsis.com). Now, a necessary awesome looking title screen:
Now if the page on the other side of that link looks suspiciously like this one, it's possibly because I just ripped off the style sheet for this blogger page and made a couple changes.
The game was a lot of fun to make - I created it in Game Maker 7 using, among other resources, sprites from Chrono Trigger. That's where we get to the anxious part...
One of the sites on which I found some useful resources was the Chrono Compendium, and I decided that after I finished, I would submit the game to the webmaster and see if they wanted to put up a link to my game.
Today, having just finished my game the night before, I visited the Chrono Compendium to see an announcement that they'd received a cease and desist order from Square Enix over the weekend in reference to some of the other fan projects on the site. Obviously, this did not sound like it boded well for me.
However, when I looked at the cease and desist order more closely, I realized I might be ok afterall. The document (which they link to on their front page) is specifically concered with ROM-hacking, and a quick look through other projects that had previously been linked to showed that the ones to receive cdo's were either:
2) Recreations of the original game
While I'm sympathetic to the webmasters on the Compendium when they say that they disagree with Square's argument, Square has much more justification for ordering stops on these kinds of projects than they would have with one like mine. ROM-hacking, as a practice, enables game piracy, and recreations of the game compete with their own product (and at an advantage, since they're free). Whether or not these projects will actually result in a loss of revenue for Square Enix (I seriously doubt they actually would), the practices have the potential to hinder Square's business.
My game, on the other hand, is not a ROM-hack, mod, or remake of Chrono Trigger. It's an independent game that uses sprites from Chrono Trigger. The fact that the game is a different genre from the game that inspired it does a lot to support the argument that it doesn't directly compete with the original game, and since I didn't do anything with Square's software, I haven't violated any user agreement or tried to circumvent their copy protection.
That's enough for me to go through with putting the game up and posting about it on a couple sites. The folks at Square Enix aren't stupid, and they have no reason to pursue litigation against people who aren't actually threatening their business. What's more, the cdo against the Chrono Compendium shows that they looked into the situation in decent detail, so I doubt they'll be sending me an email just because they're in a litigate-y mood. Of course, they can prove me wrong at any time.
So I don't think I have anything to worry about, and for now will just enjoy the fact that I actually completed this project (of course, if I get enough positive feedback, I'll probably come back and add a little more to it). Seriously, check it out, I think it turned out pretty well.