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Can you give away free remakes of old games?

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I have a similar question.
I want to develope a remake of the game "A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES - Nintendo)" with own graphics (based on the original style), own music, but same story and world-design.

If I do that, do I infringe the copyright of Nintendo? Edited by getConnection

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The title and possibly character names will be protected by trademark. The story is definitely protected by copyright, and world-design may or may not also be covered. If you create your own graphics based on the original assets then they'll probably be considered derivative works, which are also protected.

You can't do any sort of remake or sequel to an existing game without permission, or you'll be risking a cease & desist and/or legal action.


You can make a game with the same style and game play -- you can not use any of the existing property.

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"You can make a game with the same style and game play -- you can not use any of the existing property."

We know that. The question is, what exactly is considered "existing property" except for the obvious: names, graphics, sound etc.

Only a fool would copy works of art straightly from the original and try to sell his/her game.

Level/Puzzle Design? The fact that on position (4/3) there is a black box, while on position (2,6) there is a red box an so forth?
I could actually go ahead and make all black boxes blue and all red boxes green in my game: the abstract level design would still be the same. The strategy to solve the puzzle would still be the same.

My game would look/sound totally different, but I would like to reuse the level design, because with the given gameplay mechanic the creation of levels is very very complex.

Can I do that? Has there ever been a court case where ONLY the abstract level design had been copied? Edited by zissakos

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What does your lawyer say...?

"Look and feel" MIGHT be protected, and level design MIGHT be protected, but they also might not. You should always check with your lawyer if you want to be more sure.


This article provides an example of The Tetris Company filing a lawsuit based on the "look and feel" (including level design) of their game. Edited by jbadams

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1. My game would look/sound totally different, but I would like to reuse the level design, because with the given gameplay mechanic the creation of levels is very very complex.
2. Can I do that?
3. Has there ever been a court case where ONLY the abstract level design had been copied?


1. So you're saying you are incapable of doing this very very complex thing? Or you're just saying "it's too hard"? Then maybe you should make some other kind of game.
2. You CAN do that. But is it a good idea? That depends on your comfort level with risk.
3. Maybe, maybe not. How comfortable are you with there being one, with you as the defendant? The advice we've given is that it's best to do what jbadams says:

[quote name='jbadams']
You should always check with your lawyer if you want to be more sure.[/quote]

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I could actually go ahead and make all black boxes blue and all red boxes green in my game:


You're on very shaky ground there I would say. It could be well be argued that the level designs are original creative works governed on normal copy right laws. Especially as all you are doing is textures swapping someone else's work.

You might get away with reusing small sections but ripping off the whole level definitely sounds like a bad practice.

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