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Nintendo Warns MMO Company Over Trademark Issues

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the all-cell-shading-looks-vaguely-similar dept.

GameCube (Games) 86

Gamasutra.com (news now registration free) has word that MMOG developer Webzen has received a friendly letter from Nintendo discussing the similarities screenshots of their upcoming game have with The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. The developer states that this is a coincidence resulting from the cell shades style of their game, and the particular hair and clothes show in published media. From the article: "a spokesperson from developer Webzen claims that the hero of the game does not have any fixed image, and is created by the player to be their avatar in the game world." Heads up courtesy your friendly neighborhood simoniker.

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86 comments

I was going to say Nintendo is full of it, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11768393)

But those screenshots do look remarkably similar, except they did it right. No charlie brown esque models. They look like humans

Re:I was going to say Nintendo is full of it, (1)

Celestial Avenger (826964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771422)

The only way they can get away with this is if they change it or give it away for free under the name "Wind Waker: Pirate mod! ARRRRR!"

Cut/paste (4, Insightful)

wynterwynd (265580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768423)

Come on guys, at least TRY to differentiate your product some. The screenshot I saw look almost identical to Wind Waker, aside from the lack of a jaunty green outfit. Methinks Big N has a point on this one.

Re:Cut/paste (1)

zeno_2 (518291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771463)

Yea, even down in the corner where there was some word, then like an air gust, which looked exactly like some of the graphics in wind waker also..

If your gonna release some screenshots of a game where you can have thousands of different characters, why release some where they guy looks just like link?

Re:Cut/paste (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771761)

The "Zegend of lelda : The wand wilker" is a totaly origional work , and i resent any implications of plagery

Re:Cut/paste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11773384)

But then they would actually have to do some work to get people to pay attention to and care about their game!

Re:Cut/paste (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792834)

I seriously hope Nintendo loses this one. They have no right to say anything from what I've seen. First off, you can not copyright/trademark/whatever an art style! If this were so, then ID could sue any game company using demons in a first person shooter... "oh look! there's an upside down pentagram!!! ...yep, definitely a rip off of doom! And look! There's an ammo counter in the bottom..." NO! If Nintendo won this battle, it would be a great stumbling block for any other game creators. As a character designer, I can see just as many differences as there are similaities in this one possible character instance. No, his hair is not the same, height and body shape do matter. The thing is that Link is not a very original character to begin with and a pretty vague design at that. It may be a slight rip-off in style but didn't DiVinci say "A good artist borrows, a great artist steals"? There is no such thing as an original idea...

I think... (4, Funny)

DrZombie (817644) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768475)

...that the little puff of "wind" in the lower right hand corner doesn't help their case either.

Make Him Spunky (4, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768497)

Geez! The guy in the picture looks just like Link! Why don't they just make the default hero a spunky little Black kid, then Nintendo won't have anything to complain about. Seriously though, given the stink Marvel is raising over the ability of players in City of Heroes to clone (to some extent) Marvel characters in appearance, Webzen might consider getting this settled quickly.

Re:My first Slashdot Simpsons reference (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768614)

Your post, especially the title, reminded me of the Poochie creation scene from the "Itchy Scratchy and Poochie Show" episode:

Myers: No, no, no! He was supposed to have attitude.
Silverman: Um... wh-what do you mean, exactly?
Myers: Oh, you know, attitude, attitude! Uh... sunglasses!
Lady: Could we put him in more of a "hip-hop" context?
Krusty: Forget context, he's gotta be a surfer. Give me a nice shmear of surfer.
Lady: I feel we should Rasta-fy him by... 10 percent or so.
[the resulting dog is rather... proactive]
[all stare at it w/o any expression]
Myers: Hmm... I think he needs a little more attitude.
[Silverman blackens in Poochie's sunglasses]
All Three: [variously] Oh, yeah, bingo. Yeah, that's it! There it is, right there! I love it!

Many thanks to SNPP [snpp.com] for the transcript.

Re:Make Him Spunky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11768868)

"Seriously though, given the stink Marvel is raising over the ability of players in City of Heroes to clone (to some extent) Marvel characters in appearance, Webzen might consider getting this settled quickly."
Wow. That's such an amazing idea. Anytime any corporate entity raises a fuss over something in court, anyone who could possibly be in line for being brought to court on similar charges should immediately backpedal and give in? Great thinking there tough guy. You know - back when blacks were being arrested for fleeing the bonds of slavery in the U.S., they should have just stopped trying to run away, right? I mean - they should just get it settled quickly instead of worrying about the best overall solution for themselves. Honestly - why would they want to drag such a fight out?

Congrats - you made a really dumb post.

Re:Make Him Spunky (2, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769436)

Congrats - you made a really dumb post.

And welcome to the Missing the Point Club! As a black person myself, I think I know a bit about standing up for what you believe in. I do that everyday. As for Webzen, the character does look too much like Link. Ever seen the Sho Yu Weenie episode of Harvey Birdman?

NO NIGGERS ALLOWED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11772751)

You being a nigger has nothing to do with this jackass.

The character does look too much like Link according to you. What the fuck does your opinion have on the matter? Why not fight it out in court and begin to combat fair use? No one is going to get this character confused with Link because Link is a well established character who is tied, quite closely, to the Nintendo brand name. Furthermore, Nintendo has made enough money off of Link and it is time that the character entered public domain.

Go ahead and take Nintendo's side in all of this but if it were some "evil" company like MS trying to force someone out of the market because of similar characters, you'd be up in arms. You're a fuckstain. For fuck's sake, it's not like the fucking game is very similar to a standard Zelda game. Go fuck yourself and get strung up in a tree you dumb coon.

Re:NO NIGGERS ALLOWED (1)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11805991)

Furthermore, Nintendo has made enough money off of Link and it is time that the character entered public domain.

This is dumb. You cannot say a character "should" become public domain since you've decided Nintendo made enough money off of him. THat's not even an opinion, that's just false. Disney will fight you over this with Mickey Mouse. Do you think they've made enough money with him too? If Link ever does become public domain, it could only happen about 70 years AFTER Shigeru Miyamoto bites the dust anyway.

Re:Make Him Spunky (1)

Chooche (214143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771052)

C'mon . A BLACK protagonist in a KOREAN game? Are you nuts?

Re:Make Him Spunky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771282)

Then make the character mixed race - like Hiro Protagonist ;)

Wow! (5, Insightful)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768622)

I clicked on the link expecting to see a picture of a game that might have maybe looked like Zelda:WW if I squinted and the light was right. I thought it would be another case of a big company going crazy over its characters and art style, trying to shut down anything that looked like their own stuff, no matter how far from the truth it really was.

But then I loaded the page and saw the screenshot.

The Big N has a point.

That shot could easly pass as something directly out of WW.

Re:Wow! (3, Interesting)

merdark (550117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769360)

I looked at screens from both games. So what, Nintendo has patented cell shaded characters with white skin and yellow hair?

I don't think the Big N has any point here. Really. Hair is different, cloaths are different, no green zelda outfit. Have you ever seen Link in anything but green?

Sorry, last I checked nintendo did not have a trademark on all cell shaded wasp characters.

Re:Wow! (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769477)

Have you ever seen Link in anything but green?

Actually, yes [google.com]

Re:Wow! (1)

merdark (550117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771573)

ok, I stand corrected. I still don't think the resemblence is that big though, especially if there is nothing else about the game that is similar to zelda.

Re:Wow! (3, Informative)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769558)

Have you ever seen Link in anything but green?

In the Wind Waker, link is in a light blue outfit without a hat the entire game when you play it a second time on hard mode.

so... Yes

Re:Wow! (5, Informative)

zonker (1158) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769668)

you looked at screenshots from both games, but have you actually played windwaker? there are so many visual similarities aside from the character (who is very very similar to link) that i can see exactly why they'd get pissed. everything from the little swoosh on the right of 'wiki' to the subtle facial detailing to the general colors of each scene.

here's another screenshot: http://games.tom.com/images/2005/wlgame/0218/002/0 10.jpg [tom.com] and here's a good compare image for those who've not played the game: http://www.gameking.com.cn/gk/news/05/2/17/1432184 487_1.jpg [gameking.com.cn]

Re:Wow! (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769905)

Have you ever seen Link in anything but green?

It's pedantic, but in Ocarina Of Time Link can also wear fetching Red and Blue costumes in his adult form, as well as the Wind Waker example someone else mentioned...

But I do think this games designers have taken a quite bit of inspiration from Wind Waker, at least in the graphical style. Having a vaguely Linkish character in your promo shots isn't likely to dissuade people from that notion. They could've tried to be a bit more original and disguise some of the Wind Wakerness

Personally I want a Jet Set Radio style MMO. ;-)

Re:Wow! (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770856)

"Have you ever seen Link in anything but green?"

There was that obscure "The Legend of Zelda" game on the Nintendo Entertainment System where Link spent a good portion of the game either blue or red depending on his ring color.

Friendly Copyright Infringement (1)

AeonOfReason (757301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768644)

Can you really copyright a particular artistic style?

It seems to me that this is more of a style infringement than an actual copying of ideas.

Re:Friendly Copyright Infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769535)

Can you really copyright a particular artistic style?

No, which is why this is about a trademark. Geeze.

Re:Friendly Copyright Infringement (4, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769637)

Trademark!

Trademark! Trademark! Trademark!

If people didn't talk in generics like "IP" all the time, maybe people would figure out the difference.

It's not the same thing as copyright, and the law *requires* that Nintendo do stuff like this to keep their trademark. Trademark law can include things like trade dress, which is what protects things like the shape of a Coke bottle, or the exterior look of McDonald's resturants.

Re:Friendly Copyright Infringement (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769667)

In case you didn't get it from my other reply to you (I forgot to say it plainly), trademark and copyright aren't the same thing. This has nothing to do with copyright.

Um. (5, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768662)

OK, true the pic looks similar to Zelda games, but to be fair, how many 8 bit rpg games followed in the style/art of the original gold cartridge LOZ game?
I'm not saying that this is or isn't a copyright infringement, but one small screenshot is hardly representitave of their work on the game as a whole, nor is the game complete.... I'm guessing that Nintendo's letter will simply protect their right to complain in the future while making the Wiki development team think about a some changes in the artwork. The style and technology lend a bit to the art effect, but short of seeing a "Jaunty Green Outfit(TM)" or a "Breeze Baton(not tm)", I'm betting that the company is smart enough to change the art such that there's no infringement by the time the final product comes out.

Re:Um. (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768999)

They also might want to think about changing their logo. Come on, at least have a different number of curlicues on the wind gust than Windwaker does.

Re:Um. (1)

Random832 (694525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11780742)

The windwaker logo i find on google images looks nothing like this - can someone please link the logo everyone else is talking about?

Re:Um. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772232)

Actually Nintendo probably doesn't want there early shots to look like Wind Waker, because they are making no mo ney on it.

If there are 10's of 1000's of looks the developer really should make the caracter look different and release new shots.

Very similar, I'd say. (1)

DarkGamer20X6 (695175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768682)

Imagine... a few years after saving the world in Wind Waker, Link decides to settle into the peaceful life of a sheep herder. Kind of what it might look like, huh?

I hope this gets stamped out (3, Insightful)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768689)

A note to the many who didn't RTFA - it's a MMO so the character is going to look however the player makes it look.

It is inevitable with MMOs increasing the ways players can customize their characters people are going to make them look like a super hero, or another video game character.

I know this is a terrible analogy but Ford and GM don't get sued for what their customers do after purchasing a car. On the service side of things my phone company doesn't get sued if I use the phone to conduct illegal activities. Why is the creator of the game responsible for the actions of their customers?

Re:I hope this gets stamped out (2, Informative)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768875)

If you read the fucking article, you would see that the game will be undergoing closed testing in December. The product was just announced.

This is not the case of a character that some random user created that happens to look like Link. This is the developer making promotional material to hype its game that is 10 months from beta testing that happens to look just like Link.

Re:I hope this gets stamped out (5, Insightful)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11768968)

The problem here seems to be that even the press images created by the developer/publisher/whatever feature a character that looks just like a slightly elongated version of the Wind Waker protagonist wearing an outfit strikingly similar to one worn by another character in Wind Waker (pirate girl) and using an art style apparently almost identical to that used in Wind Waker. The body proportions (elongated torso, shortened legs that taper to small feet, large round head with wide-set round large-pupiled eyes and thick black eyebrows above an understated nose and thin-bordered mouth) are strikingly similar to the previously unique style used in Wind Waker. To be honest, I had to look twice to realize that the picture was from the non-Nintendo game Wiki, whose logo even features Wind-Waker-esque dust-whorls.

I understand your point of the vendor not being liable for infringing after-market modifications and uses, but in this case, these shots are coming from those making and selling the game. To use your car analogy, it's like GM advertising their Corvette as easily modified to look like a Mustang and featuring such a modification in their press material.

Re:I hope this gets stamped out (1)

white1827 (848173) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769005)

Exactly.. my female undead mage in World of Warcraft looks exactly like Marge Simpson (well if she was dead .. whatever you get the picture). The fact that I named her Marge doesn't hurt the resemblence either..

Modified the screenshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11768820)

Did a pretty crappy photoshop of screenshot which the Wind Waker logo. Might help visualize how similar it is. Anyone out there want to make a better one?
koreanww12gi.jpg [img220.exs.cx]

Re:Modified the screenshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11768884)

ImageShack doesn't like /. I guess. Just copy & paste: img13.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img13&image=koreanww19km.j pg

Wiki (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769020)

But here's the real question: Can any user edit the game?

Re:Wiki (2, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769082)

"But here's the real question: Can any user edit the game?"

Doesn't matter. They can't advertise the game looking like WW. For the purposes of marketing/advertising, they cannot infringe.

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769835)

NanoGator misses the point, once again. What else is new?

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769910)

I see you're posting anonymously now. I'm guessing you don't want your ass handed to you again...?

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771839)

FIGHT! I have $5 on the Anonymous one!

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771852)

I'm sorry - were you under the impression that only one person here thinks you're an ignorant buttwad?

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771876)

Psst... now it's pretty clear he knows who you are. Way to go.

Re:Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771933)

sigh... yeah, your right. i should have known better than to get into a fight with him, lose, then attempt to heckle him in another thread anonymously. he is clearly the superior intellect. i apologize.

It's All Over (5, Funny)

jmole (696805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769126)

All hell will break loose if Tingle appears in this game.

Nintendo: "You may have stolen our main character Link, but stealing our homosexual Frenchman who flys around on a balloon has gone too far! He is our Jar Jar Binks of the Zelda series, not yours!"

Re:It's All Over (1)

xgamer04 (248962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769179)

I've always found Tingle to be amusing. This is probably because he's the most "uber-japanese non-researched-for-localization-to-USA character" ever. At least in such a popular game series as Zelda.

Conflicting points of view? (2, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769156)

--On the one hand, as the designers point out, that is merely an early screenshot. The real avatar may look like that, or may look entirely different.

--We also have to consider that if you make a cel-shaded farmland scene, it will probably look like a cel-shaded farmland scene in another game. Just like how a red-haired chibi-anime girl looks a hell of a lot like every other red-haired chibi-anime girl.

--The *NAME* of the game is Wiki. No, the puff of air will not stay right there the entire game. It's a promo shot, so they stuffed the game's title into the scene... and since they wouldn't want to override any of the aesthetics, the bottom-right corner was the best spot for it. Coincidence of design, not an attempt at deception.

--That being said, Webzen could very well have done their avatar with some other design options, and shifted the scene camera around to put their logo into another spot.

Yeah, it's a screenshot that looks similar. Deal with it. I think this is an instance of an overzealous lawyer (What, an overzealous lawyer from Nintendo? That'd be like Apple suing their fans for discussing gossip... wait... right.)

Yeah. It's kind of like that.

Re:Conflicting points of view? (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769270)

"--On the one hand, as the designers point out, that is merely an early screenshot. The real avatar may look like that, or may look entirely different."

On the other hand, maybe they should release screenshots that don't look like they belong to Wind Waker. Then they wouldn't be infringing on trademarks or confusing people into thinking it's Wind Waker instead of Wiki.

"Yeah, it's a screenshot that looks similar. Deal with it."

They are. They sent a letter instead of a lawsuit.

" I think this is an instance of an overzealous lawyer"

I think this is an isntance of an overzealous attempt to assume lawyers only represent evil intentions.

Re:Conflicting points of view? (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11773295)

As far as I can tell, most Slashdot posters only have two emotions. Everything is either great or an atrocity against all that is good and proper. These folks aren't exactly even-tempered.

Re:Conflicting points of view? (2, Informative)

Impotent_Emperor (681409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770490)

To be fair to the lawyers, trademarks must be defended. If someone doesn't defend their trademark, they risk losing it.

ehh - not quite (1)

wuHoncho (587718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769298)

The character pictured in the article looks vaguely like Link if you've had a couple drinks. It might be important to note Nintendo's specificity to Wind Waker and not the Zelda series in general.

Character branding is simply a marketing manuvuer that is now becoming obsolete because with graphical community online games such as MMORPGs, people don't have to depend on the releases of a particular image of an alter-ego to live out their imagination. Say you see yourself as Wolverine or Link or Mario. The copyright holder of those characters has you as a loyal customer. If you're able to fashion your own image of an alter-ego, you break free of that grip and they lose their traditional business.

If Webzen is going to use the Linkish-looking character (who is wearing a blue Revolutionary War-style coat and NO HAT for those who haven't RTFA) as the primary advertisement for the game, then *maybe* Nintendo has some kind of point here. Otherwise, this is simply about owning the meta-image of a cartoonish character with spiky blond hair.

This would be like Disney suing Warner Brothers because Bugs Bunny kind of looks like Thumper.

Re:ehh - not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769962)

dude, you are on some serious crack. the comparison is more like comparing goofy, daisy and pluto (if they were each from different companies)...

Re:ehh - not quite (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11784031)

His hair looks exactly the same as link's does in the beginning of Wind Waker. Also, they both wear blue. And Nintendo is not sueing. They sent a letter saying maybe this will be an issue, please think about this. I think Nintendo's in the right here.

Higher Res Screen Shots (5, Informative)

mowph (642278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769305)

When I originally saw those shots last week, it occurred to me that the design looked vaguely familiar. I didn't initially even connect it to Zelda, but taking another look, I think there could be serious trouble, especially if this one design is to be used as a "spokescharacter" for the game. Check out the direct comparison [dreamwiz.com]. (In Korean.) Looks like the offending shots were right out of the press release. Here's another article [gamemeca.com] (in Korean) with side-by-side comparisons of the images... including the little puff of wind in the title.

And, if you'd like to take a look at some of the other upcoming releases promoted during Webzen 's Feb. 15 conference, all of which seem to be MMORPGs of different themes, look at this Japanese article [4gamer.net]. (Writer Kim Dong Wook regularly covers new games from Korea.)

Re:Higher Res Screen Shots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769348)

blocked by websense! dang it!

Customer Confusion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11769445)

Don't forget, one of the main reasons that companies want to protect their copyrights and trademarks (aside from cash cash cash of course) is that they don't want their customers to think they worked on a product if they didn't. Branding and recognizability, ESPECIALLY for a franchise-driven giant like Nintendo, is extremely important; probably the most important thing in their long view. If somebody puts out a game that looks exactly (and this game, at least in that screenshot, does look EXACTLY like WW) like a Nintendo game, but is not up to their standards, then it is bad for their reputation and brand name.

Say you are Nintendo. You spend years developing a fairly controversial new art style for your most popular franchise. It sells extremely well and garners critical acclaim. Some company across the street copies everything about that art style down to the finest details, puts their name on it, and then starts selling it. Do you just sit there and let them prosper on your hard work and ingenuity?

I know that Nintendo has a history of being overly defensive about their brands and branding, and a less than perfect past in regards to suing the crap out of people for things they didn't necessarily deserve. But in this case they are clearly in the right. And as their market presence dwindles in America and Europe, I certainly don't blame them for making sure that what little territory they have isn't stolen out from under them!

Three points (4, Insightful)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769876)

1. The eyes on the character are the giveaway. Nintendo's artists created a unique look for the characters in Wind Waker, but the focus of it all is the eyes on the three main characters, Link, Aryll and Tetra, which are like white footballs, topped with eyebrows, with a large black circle in the middle. The eyes are what, in my mind, defines the look of these characters, and this screenshot apes them pretty much exactly. But it is not the only thing it copies, which is telling in my mind.

2. The letter, I don't think it was a cease-and-desist, just a warning. Nintendo's lawyers aren't actually *that* overzealous concerning matters not related to people making illegal copies of their games. It'd be nice if they were more enlightened in regard to some of their older, forgotten properties, but large corporations are not particularly known for their Buddha natures.

3. Dudes, the game's called Wiki! Has anyone asked Ward Cunningham about this?

Samurai Jack (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11784344)

Nintendo's artists created a unique look for the characters in Wind Waker, but the focus of it all is the eyes on the three main characters, Link, Aryll and Tetra, which are like white footballs, topped with eyebrows, with a large black circle in the middle. The eyes are what, in my mind, defines the look of these characters, and this screenshot apes them pretty much exactly.

Which itself seemed copied from the Samurai Jack cartoon. Check out the first episode, with Jack as a little kid - his face is the spitting image of Link in Wind Waker. I couldn't believe it when I saw the rerun on TV for the first time (this was after Wind Waker's release).

The rest of the visuals are fairly remicient as well, though, like you pointed out.

Nintendo afraid of MMORPGs (2, Interesting)

Sim9 (632381) | more than 9 years ago | (#11769935)

At least from my perspective, Nintendo has always been afraid of Zelda MMORPGs. While it can be understandable to send cease and desist letters at fan games, Nintendo generally lets singleplayer ones slide, while being aggressive against multiplayer ones.

Nintendo fought against Graal, who was at the time making a very Zelda-esque MMORPG (clearly derivative). And yet, Zelda classic (Single player, and also clearly derivative) is alive and thriving...

Re:Nintendo afraid of MMORPGs (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771321)

They fought against Graal because Graal was using the name "Zelda Online." Did Nintendo make Zelda Online? No. Were people going to get the impression that Nintendo did play a hand in ZO, based on the name? Yes. Just the same with Wiki. It looks EXACTLY like Wind Waker. Many people WILL think it is Wind Waker. This isn't good.

As for non MMORPGs not being shutdown: OoT2D (a 2D, overhead, ala LTTP version of Ocarina of Time) received a cease-and-desist from Nintendo.

Re:Nintendo afraid of MMORPGs (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792808)

Technically the name Zelda Online should be fine for anyone to release. The name "Zelda" was not invented by Nintendo and may not be common, but has been used by many people long before Nintendo opened their doors. Not only that but Nintendo has never released a game called "Zelda", it is called "The Legend of Zelda"...so technically, anyone could release a game called Zelda Online if they wanted.

Pika? (2, Funny)

ABaumann (748617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11770072)

They should also sue them because of that little (dog?) thing running around that has the same color pallette as Pikachu.

I mean, Nintendo clearly owns #FFFF00.

So Nintendo owns all 3D manga? (1)

emarkp (67813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11771225)

Link looks like a generic 3D implementation of a manga character. Big eyes, no nose, tousled hair. Pick up any manga and tell me if you can't find a dozen characters that look as much like Link as this Wiki avatar does.

Re:So Nintendo owns all 3D manga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11773320)

Have you seen the screenshots? The resemblance is so uncanny that it's hysterical.

Re:So Nintendo owns all 3D manga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776237)

Er... you clearly don't read manga. Wind Waker's art style is nothing like most manga; it's closer to Peanuts.

Simple fact: Wind Waker's art style is extremely distinctive. And Wiki's art style is extremely derivative of it.

That in itself is fine. Derivative can be good. But those screenshots cross the line between derivative and straight ripoff.

It's been tried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11771440)

You can't copyright look and feel. Ask Apple.

Cel shading (1)

fluxrez (844819) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772466)

I dont beleive they have any sorta case. You can't copyright cel shading. And the main character is the player's work of art. End of story.

YES if its the same Cel shading! (1)

AzraelKans (697974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11772794)

[i] I dont beleive they have any sorta case. You can't copyright cel shading. And the main character is the player's work of art. End of story.[/i]

Not correct. The actual problem is that they are using the EXACT same Type of cell shading the EXACT same proportions on the eyes/mouth, the same proportions in the hairstyles and even the same COLOR PALETTE. there are hundreds perhaps thousands of ways to do cell shading and anime but these guys are using EXACTLY the same one! (example at hand: check the style of the late "true fantasy online" is similar but not quite the same)

Believe me these guys worked and worked hard to get exactly the same graphics style than Wind Waker. Trademarks are valid in Character likeness, caricatures and imitated work. These guys carbon copied these characteristics from WW and then from the logo font and style to add insult to injury.

Nintendo HAS a case and a very strong one. Is sadly obvious that the gamemakers planned to use these likeness as a game feature and profit from it which is a huge copyright violation (basically the same than using a pirated version).

Besides thats not just some player character thats the game promotional screens! You dont see a spiderman "look alike" in the cover of City of heroes do you?

My 8 ball sees this game getting sued, and quickly dismantled shortly after.

Slashdot Editors need to learn what trademarks are (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774854)

Why is it that every time there's an article about patents or trademarks, the clueless Slashdot editors call it a copyright issue; and whenever there's an article about copyright disputes, they call it a trademark issue? They're three completely different things, and you're not really qualified to *report* on the subject until you know the difference.

In this case, there is a copyright dispute, since Nintendo is alleging that the graphics and artwork (creative content) resemble Zelda very closely.

If they had called the game "Zelda" and made it look totally different, *that* would have been a trademark issue.

[OT] (1)

smileyy (11535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11774914)

Since simoniker didn't post this himself, does that mean he's been shit-canned as editor? If anyone were to have posted any of my troll stories, I figured it would been him.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11782749)

I do understand why Nintendo is saying this - the screen shots are *very* similar.

But instead of getting upset about it, why not pull a Rare/Dinosaur Planet? Hire the company, make it Zelda online, improve the graphics (make them a little more complicated but in WW style), and beef it up as a launch title for the Revolution?

Seems like a much smarter thing to do to me. Who the hell doesn't want online Zelda? The possibilities alone are spectacular. Mini games, races, sword fight PVP, everything. It would be SPECTACULAR in every damn sense of the word and would give a boost to the launch of the next system.

At least, seems like a good idea to me...
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