ASMB, the developer behind the fan game mash-up No Mario's Sky receives a takedown notice from Nintendo, but chooses to repurpose the game instead of killing it.
Although many have considered No Man's Sky to be a major letdown, fans of Mario and space exploration were delighted to meet No Mario's Sky last week. Unfortunately, with widespread fame came the attention of Nintendo, and No Mario's Sky has been issued a DMCA takedown notice as a result.
Nintendo wasted no time in sending a takedown notification to ASMB, the creators of No Mario's Sky, citing the use of characters resembling Nintendo's Mario properties. However, fans of the game will be happy to know that it's not quite the end for No Mario's Sky. The game is once again available for download, albeit with some changes. Rather than shutting down the game and removing its download links, the development team tweaked the character designs and names just slightly to remove the resemblance to Super Mario Bros., thus avoiding copyright infringement. Mario is now named Spaceman Finn, Peach is Princess Mango, and Goombas are now Moombas. In addition, the game is now being called DMCA's Sky, which the developers have cheekily dubbed it in reference to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which Nintendo's legal team implemented to issue the takedown request.
Given Nintendo's recent history of takedowns, chances are most fans of No Mario's Sky knew this was coming. Nintendo has recently forced developers to cease production of a Metroid 2 remake, and it's lashed out at the entirely fan-created Pokemon Uranium game. Sadly, altering Pokemon Uranium or Metroid 2 in the same way ASMB did with No Mario's Sky would defeat the purpose of those two games, so those developers don't have an easy solution.
While Nintendo is still a beloved gaming company, it's unfortunately developed a reputation for stepping on the toes of fans in other ways, too. Two years ago, YouTubers were angered to learn of Nintendo's plan for YouTube gamers, giving YouTubers the choice of either ceasing to play Nintendo titles or surrendering the majority of their earnings from playing those games to Nintendo.
Since Nintendo owns Mario, it does have every right to shut down ASMB's game, even if it wasn't doing the long-running Mario series any harm. Thankfully, the clear reference to No Man's Sky doesn't seem to bother its developer, as ASMB hasn't received any legal notice from Hello Games. However, Hello Games probably has its hands full trying to turn No Man's Sky into the game with endless potential that it was promised to be, so it may not want to risk chasing after a free indie game that doesn't offer much of a threat of usurping potential players of No Man's Sky anyway.
DMCA's Sky, formerly known as No Mario's Sky, is available now.