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Von Ithipathachai

Should I avoid using the Fire Emblem name in my SRPG Studio game?

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I'm making a Fire Emblem fangame in SRPG Studio and want to submit it for this year's FEE3.

While I would like to promote my game and give it more attention (to the point where I asked in my submission form if Mekkah or some other well-known Fire Emblem YouTuber would be able to play it), I'm also starting to become very concerned about the possibility of Nintendo giving me a DMCA takedown request if its profile becomes too high and the company itself takes notice.  Because when the game is eventually completed in the distant future I would like for Mangs, probably the biggest general Fire Emblem YouTuber I know of, to do a Let's Play of it.

None of the hacks of existing Fire Emblem games that I'm aware of (many of which do use the Fire Emblem name) have gotten cease-and-desist orders, but I've noticed that no SRPG Studio games, sold for a price or not, seem to use the name.  Perhaps the very fact that such games may be commercially viable (namely Clarent Saga: Tactics and the upcoming Vestaria Saga localization) makes Nintendo more likely to notice them?

I don't know.  I just don't want to become known as the first Fire Emblem fangame maker to get into copyright trouble and potentially put the entire fangame-making community in danger.

So should I change the name of my game and edit references to the Fire Emblem out of my script accordingly?  For that matter, should I also get rid of the GBA-style portraits I've been using and redo them in my own artstyle?

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This is just my opinion, but I think its better to avoid using any references or names from Nintendo. I take Metroid 2 as an example, the developers invested so much time in this and made a remake which looked just fine. But they were forced to cancel this. If they just had gone a different path and made their own Metroidvania we may have gotten a nice Metroidvania on Steam, who knows.

I don't know about your luck in that case, but you show much dedication. And no matter how low the chances are, but in my opinion it is better if you try with your own art style and make your own game without any references. You can show love to Fire Emblem without that. It will cost more time, but you have a result that can't touched and you don't limit yourself to only make an FE clone, maybe will you come up with something new and fresh. So my vote is for avoiding.

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If you're worried, trying using a synonym to make it clear you are making a FE-inspired game, but without actually saying "Fire Emblem". The idea I've always been bothered with, but can't construct fully on paper, I've called "Insignia"- another word for "Emblem".

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12 minutes ago, Stroud said:

but in my opinion it is better if you try with your own art style and make your own game without any references.

Editing references out of the script should be easy, but the portraits are an entirely different matter.  Changing all of them (including ones for NPCs) and making them look better than what's currently in my DeviantArt gallery will take a considerable amount of time.

On an unrelated note, the world map also needs work.

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In the long run, you should avoid having FE in the name. But if it's something small and you're not planning to sell it, I don't think it's a big deal.

To be honest, although SRPG Studio is heavily based on FE, none of its assets are from FE.

So unlike FE hacks, you can afford to benefit by not marketing your game as a FE fan game.

Whereas hacks have already "lost" in the IP and copyright battle, so it doesn't really matter if the creators borrow the FE name.

I hope that makes sense.

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2 hours ago, Von Ithipathachai said:

So should I change the name of my game and edit references to the Fire Emblem out of my script accordingly?  For that matter, should I also get rid of the GBA-style portraits I've been using and redo them in my own artstyle?

it's always better to be on the safe side, especially when it's something either related and/or heavily inspired by another already existing franchise, wich is why there's good chances you may end up getting a "cease and desist" from Nintendo/IS.

i'm not sure about custom sprites, since that is kind of a gray area, but as for official names, i guarantee you it's a risk.

Edited by Fenreir

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Yeah, if you're not planning to make a profit or publish it, it doesn't matter too much.  But there's no real reason why you should feel obligated to name it FE, since unlike with a hack you aren't tied down by the fact that you're using a Fire Emblem engine and the creators of SRPG Studio expressly gave all users permission to use it for profit.  I don't think folks will bat an eye at you submitting a FE-like game that isn't titled Fire Emblem.

It can still be a sort of nod to FE without the name being in there.  It's better that your work was simply inspired by Fire Emblem, not that it's imitating it.

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Okay.  What I'll do is change the name of the project from Fire Emblem: Ascension to Sanctaea Chronicles and remove all mentions of the Fire Emblem object.

However, for now the GBA-style portraits will stay, at least as placeholders.

Edited by Von Ithipathachai

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For legal reasons, probably but I doubt it's any sort of deal at all. Just don't release a commercial product w/ the same name, that's a prime way to get a lawsuit going. 

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On ‎26‎.‎09‎.‎2018 at 7:24 PM, Von Ithipathachai said:

Editing references out of the script should be easy, but the portraits are an entirely different matter.  Changing all of them (including ones for NPCs) and making them look better than what's currently in my DeviantArt gallery will take a considerable amount of time.

On an unrelated note, the world map also needs work.

True, sorry for answering so late now.
I can understand it. I want to try to built my own game too and I am learning to built my own sprites. That takes a long time, I am even aseprites which is quite good in my opinion, but I still have to learn to make good sprites. And I see how difficult it is to make good visuals alongside the rest, placeholders are always for that.  

But I read that you came to your decision and that's good. changing name etc should suffice, changing sprites etc is too much for now and can be done later anyway. 

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My opinion on the subject is that if you want to sell your game, obviously don't use the FE name, but otherwise, there's a 99.9% chance IS or Ninty won't care about your fangame, so you're safe if you use the FE name.

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Hey again Von!

Was just browsing the questions to see if I could help anyone LOL

So yeah just avoid the "Fire Emblem" name in general if you want to sell the game in the future, as well as any assets from the original Fire Emblem games, custom animations and textures would be safe for sure. Pretty much, just not selling your game will make it like 100% safer, furthermore it will probably only be super popular in the FE Community if its really good like Blazer's TLP(Don't misunderstand I truly believe you can make a amazing game, just the exposure probably won't be like that of that of Metroid II which Nintendo just smashed a while back). Also since we're the English side of Fire Emblem we are very unlikely to ever get hit with a take down notice like our Hacker Brethren in Japan. 

You also want to avoid any names that already exist in the gaming world(I think you wanted to make a game with a name of a different one?), It'd be best to make the name of your game Unique as well as the characters, but if its some super obscure company, I'm sure you can probably get away with the character names. 

GBA style Portraits should be fine, its a work of art, Nintendo can't claim a parody of art similar to theirs as their own.

Again GBA Assets like Nintendo made class animations and stuff could be extremely dangerous if you intend on selling the game. 

Many games make references to others in the industries, you'll be perfectly safe, I'm not too knowledgeable with regards if you explicitly reference something from something not your own and the legality of that. Pretty much like if you want to sell the game and make a nod to Fire Emblem that should be fine, like vague things that could be applied to many things like you make a character make reference to Marth by saying "Hero-king" could also apply to Cyprus the Great and many other figures making it vague enough so that Nintendo can't claim you explicitly included properties that are theirs into your game.

Goodluck with your hack or game making, looking forward to playing it!

Kindest Regards,

Yazuki

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