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Tribute game, legal issues.

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We are building a tribute game, a sort of combination of old Megaman games. We are doing graphics, sounds, code etc... 100% our own work. Character do look like the originals (not 100% ofcourse) but are done by us. We aren''t using any of the names that appear in series, but are making up our owns. Could there be any legal issues from original author (CapCom)?

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This is probably better in the Business of Game Design forum, but what the hey.

The question you have to ask yourself is how much the characters look like the original. I''m concerned by what you mean, by "100% our own work". Does that mean you''re not taking sprites directly from a Capcom program source code? That you''re not using tiles, but re-creating them on your own? It doesn''t matter that you coded the art yourself - if I draw an image of Superman and sell it, I''m infringing on Warner''s copyright. If you "create" your own sprites of various Megaman characters...they''re still Megaman characters.

Avoiding the names helps considerably, but ultimately it''ll depend on a) whether Capcom feels you infringed, and b) whether a judge/jury feels you infringed. It won''t matter what I or anyone else says here.

Also: you can call it a tribute, fanart, fanfic, or a fangame - it''s still considered a knockoff. I''m not being demeaning, I just want you to understand that it doesn''t matter that you intend to "honor" the game by copying it - you''re still copying it in the end, and that''s all Capcom (or anyone else) will care about.

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There is no ripped material what so ever, but some of the characters are there...
So if we changed all characters to original (Our own design) then the basic gameplay could be kept?

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I''ll give a tentative "yes", with the caveat that you eventually (soon, before you end up coding a ton of work and then finding out you have infringed) speak to a lawyer about it.

You can''t (to my knowledge) copyright gameplay mechanics; if you could, every FPS would be a rip, every RPG. If you make a side-scroller loosely similar to Megaman but change the backgrounds, characters, and names - you can probably get away from it. Just make sure it isn''t SO similar (don''t give MegaMan a red suit and call him GigaMan) that you still draw a lawsuit.

Whether you could win or not isn''t the initial issue; you have to ask yourself if you can afford to go through the suit to prove your point. If you can''t...then avoid it altogether. If you have the capital and strength of conviction to stand up to a copyright challenge, then go for it.

Good luck.

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Well, even if i could afford the lawsuits, it would be stupid to risk it in a non-profit game, so we''ll just make it different enough. Thanks for the answers.

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well look at how many tetris clones exist...i dont think you''d have any problem making such a game and even calling it megaman, the issue is selling the product. so long as you dont make money from it capcom isnt likely to gun you down on the streets, they have far more important things to do than stop fan made games.

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