Is this illegal?.

Hi, I was wondering, there is a game I want to remake in UE4, the game is quite old, it’s from '96, and I’d like to copy it almost identically, obviously excepting the graphics, and some minor adjustments and features.

There is no profit intention behind this project, I actually want to remake it to play with a friend, we both love the original, we still play it often, and a “next-gen” version of the very same game would be amazing to play.

Until now I think it shouldn’t be a problem to make it happen, however, if at some point I want to publicly upload it so people can play it, for free of course, would that be allowed?.


Sorry if this thread doesn’t belong here, it was here or off-topic.

Technically, no it’s not legal. You need to first try and contact the owners of the IP and get permission if you can. If a big publisher owns it now they might not even take the time to respond though. If the developer is long gone and you can’t find out who owns it then you could risk going ahead. Just remember that without permission the owners could show up at any time to ask you to stop.

I’am not into US law but this is actually easy to answer, within the USA the copyright is full activ till 70 years after the death of the owner…
established by sony entertaiment for media/Picture rights “§ 302 US Copyright Act” Of course this can change from country to country.
So far i know this is also valid for video games…

I see. I always thought that if there was no profit involved it was “ok”, I was going to contact the owners of the game anyway, but I wanted to know what was the situation.

Personaly i think contacting is always a good thing… maybe you have luck, i’m not sure but for half-life 1 & 2 “valve” there was also a profit free remake made, so there should be a chance just try it…

Oh, but this game is way less popular than Hf, actually, it is a game that didn’t leave Japan, not sure if it’s a good thing or not in my case.

No idea but in my opinion less popular should be easier to realize “to get” … Simply try it :cool:

If story and lore are not as important as the gameplay in the game that you want to remake, I would just make my own lore and have gameplay the way it was in the original game - it is legal and you can still promote it at the original game’s fansites as a spiritual successor.

If your project is not making money then you can use anyone ideas. There is not a law dictating what you can and cannot do when you are exercising your freedom of expression. as long as you are not making money off that freedom of expression.

For example there is an american tv show called “The Daily Show” and it will use clips from various news shows to make political points. It’s using freedom of expression to drive a point home by said clip. They don’t get permission nor do they get cease and desists, whilst making money off of copy-written material.

If the company sends you a cease and desist while working on a freedom of expression work, ignore it. They seriously cannot do anything if the projects intent is to express yourself. It’s like drawing a Disney character for drawing practice, sure Disney can send you a cease and desist to intimidate and bully you, but because your drawing there IP as an expression of your freedom, they cannot act upon it.

To avoid any of this, work on it all you want and play it with your friend, just don’t release it publicly.

@SaxonRah, Not so easy to be hornest, imagine you have a “big” indie studio, So… and now you are deciding to bring out The Divison “from ubisoft” as a free version, which is basically a clone of everything you have seen so far :cool: Good luck with that…
I’m pretty sure you will hear from ubisoft quicker than you can count to three :o Remember it is not just about the game and the content also about name which is protected by itself too etc…

For example 20th Century Fox “partner game studios” is absolutly not agreeable even with “free” fan remakes, you will here from them instantly…

@Artemix, If you are absolutly serious about your idea, asking in forums is not really the solution, go to a lawyer and inform yourself about “what can happen” you can ask the owners of the original game at the very end… having no more options left.

The daily show is protected by fair use. Whether you make money or not is not legally valid. When you own the rights to something you own the rights to all use regardless if anyone profits.

I would personally skirt the line, change the names, make the representations general and capture the spirit instead if copying directly.

If, for example, I change all the graphics, names, don’t include lore, etc, in other words, if I only keep the gameplay aspect of the game, would that be ok?.

Of course I’m contacting them first, they are kind of hard to find though.

It all depends on the details but even though I’m not a lawyer I’m pretty sure that gameplay cannot be copyrighted (but it is in theory possible to abuse the system and copyright some super specific thing I guess)… what really matters is names, art, assets, music etc… you cannot copy any of these without permission.
For example, if I was the first guy to invent an inventory system for a game that doesn’t mean I can copyright inventories :smiley: that would be hilarious if it was possible.

However… and here is when it gets kinda dark… even if what you publish is technically 100% legal, if some big company decides to sue you then unfortunately it really doesn’t matter whether your game is legal or not! They have money and lawyers, you (probably) do not :stuck_out_tongue:

So perhaps what you want to think is “are they going to like it if I do this?”

Im not a layer but I dont see any contraindications to clone it. If you have another name, You can freely make a clone game. There are milions of clones game :slight_smile: even the AAA titles. If that would be the case, no one could make a shooter game after doom 1 etc. Ubi can write to You to stop clone their game but what more? You could throw away their email with a smile on you face. Thats way the big companies give a warning that :" names and characters are purely coincidential". Becasuse it is a big company You cant say that he is not allow to clone it if there are no copyright protected things like title etc. Anyone can make destroyed city, old cars and shooting guys. You see it everyday in many games :slight_smile:

I would also recommend that, to get permission from the owner is better. So try to locate him and contact him, if unable to locate then you can proceed.

This is bad advice and as it is wrong. The use of a protected intellectual property is not protected as an ‘expression of your freedom’, you are still liable if you use it. Regular Show gets away with what they are doing under a fair use policy.

Even if what you were proposing were true, in the case that Disney send a C&D order they are still perfectly capable of acting upon it, and regardless of whether they are right or not, their legal pockets are going to be deep enough to bury you anyway.

@ Illusionray, of course if you are just uisng that kind of gameplay, even with the same city “new york” etc… there are no problems. But we talked about a real clone, means same name, same characters, same content etc… You can’t simply copy a whole project, the name etc… and thinking because it is free to use “play” it has no consequences, absolutly wrong. Building something similar, with a different name, changing things, contnet, changing slightly the story etc… you should / will not get in trouble… But i can just repeat myself, always go to lawyer and ask clearly how far you can go without getting in trouble. The trouble you will find yourself in, when simply not paying attention to the copyright, depends on the company the owner of the original concept.

For example there is or was a free remake of Resident Evil 2, made in unity. The guys which worked on this project… didn’t asked capocom for premission… so there was of course some kind of risk, especially because capcom is doing “remakes” by they’re own.
But so far they got “lucky”, “from what i know and read” and capcom saw no risk in this “fan made free to play project” so they simply ignored it. In my opinion they simply ignored it, because it wasnt looking really nice and not really a threat for the original remakes by capcom… But it was and still is “playing with fire” :slight_smile:

i quote my lawyer, she says “Article 19 of the ICCPR states that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference and everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his or her choice.”

Meaning, they can’t do squat. You have more rights than you might think…

Also lets look at the context of this thread, what has he said he was going to do ?
They want to make a game to play with a friend. They said they wanted to copy the game almost identically. They did not say he was going to steal graphics or code. They did not say anything that would be considered infringement. therefor he is exercising his freedom of expression.

Look at bejeweled for example. it plays exactly like candy crush except that one is jewels and one is candy.

are they infringing ? Nope. Freedom.

Was it ever copyrighted or distributed in your country?

First what country do you live in? (Don’t answer me…)
Is it different than where the game was published as a copyright. As far as you are aware was it copyrighted in your country.

While some have touched on it, some companies can get really mad if you “Give” their IP away for free. and despite what everyone here says, You can be sued for anything in the US.

Winning in court is a completely different thing. Only the lawyers win. Most small entities don’t have enough cash to defend a lawsuit of any type, regardless of right or wrong, lawful or not.

You mentioned making it public. Basically if it’s not your IP you would really be advised to change enough of it to be your own. It’s not that hard.

Many people make similar types of games, and in certain cases there can be a legal issue, but it’s rare that that happens. There’s many clones of popular mobile games, and it happens from time to time that major AAA games get released that are similar and nothing happens (think Prototype and Infamous)