Pirates leak and spread the Pokemon Prism ROM hack online despite Nintendo officially shutting down the efforts of the developer behind the mod last week.
Like most Nintendo-based fan projects, Pokemon Prism, a game mod of Pokemon Crystal, was shut down just days from its release. however, it is now spreading across the Internet thanks to some good old fashioned piracy.
Pokemon Prism is the work of developer Adam “Koolboyman,” who had planned on releasing the mod just before Christmas this year. With just four days until the intended release, Nintendo hit Koolboyman with a cease and desist order, which forced him to shut down his website and halt the release of Pokemon Prism.
That is, however, until the files for Pokemon Prism ended up on 4chan with a note from the group who pirated the files saying they are “a group of people interested in seeing ROM hacks succeed.” It appears the ones who distributed the mod went looking for a way to release it after the cease and desist order:
“This project grew in popularity enough to make us interested in it, and the letter from Nintendo got us in action.”
The group that hacked the files, obviously staying anonymous to avoid legal ramifications, said they were not affiliated with Koolboyman or the team that helped make Pokemon Prism. The group apparently got ahold of the files because one of the developers on the actual Pokemon Prism team “got careless”.
According to Kotaku, breaching the cease and desist order from Nintendo could result in thousands of dollars in fines. This also explains why the pirates made it clear that Koolboyman and his team had no part in the release, as he and the other developers could face serious legal issues if they were involved.
To further protect the original team, the hackers did not release the exact version of Pokemon Prism that the developers were working on, instead altering the game and deleting the credits. And in place of the credits, the pirates placed a thank you message to those that completed Pokemon Prism.
Since the game leaked on 4chan, it has spread to multiple sources including the Pokemon Prism subreddit, Dropbox links, and YouTube video descriptions. Needless to say, it’s out there for those who want to look hard enough.
For now, the team behind Pokemon Prism, who worked on it for eight years, are legally restricted from interacting with game even after it has leaked. But a community has popped up to support each other, even issuing bug fixes for the game.
Despite the illegal nature of the leak, many fans are feeling like the release of Pokemon Prism is a win, especially after the recent history of Nintendo shutting down other mods and fan content, including another Pokemon mod, Pokemon Uranium.