If all goes as planned, on July 15, the video game world will be unveiling Mega Maker, a new game based on the Nintendo franchise that will basically be to Mega Man what Super Mario Maker was to Super Mario – a good old platform game where its possible to create your own levels, sometimes with spectacular results.
In development since September 2016, Mega Maker aims to offer countless choices to players, taking all the elements from Mega Man 1 through 6 and letting you mix and match them using their Mega Engine to create your own levels.
In other words, it's a great idea, especially since the game will be completely free. The only cost is the servers. But we're not certain the game will ever actually come out.
Because, as with any game with an unofficial license, Mega Maker is a rare, endangered specimen. In the ecosystem of video games, you can't just borrow any license you like, especially not a license as lucrative as Mega Man.
The team of programmers, led by WreckingPrograms, was undoubtedly full of good intentions when they decided to offer Mega Man fans a game that would satisfy their wildest dreams, but we have a feeling Capcom might put up a fuss.
And when we say "put up a fuss" we mean "send a legion of highly experienced lawyers to block the release of the game."
But to be fair, it's hard to anticipate Capcom's reaction. They tend to be pretty random when it comes to licensing. As Polygon reminds us, last month, Capcom asked YouTube to take down the English translation of a Japanese video game.
What if Capcom pulls a Sega?
Aware of the risk they're taking by releasing Mega Maker, the game creators are careful to mention on their official website that Mega Man does indeed belong to Capcom, that their game is not for commercial use and that Capcom did not authorize them to make it.
Those notes on the website don't seem terribly fool proof, though, if Capcom decides to take action.
From a legal standpoint, whoever owns the rights to the intellectual property tends to win in court when fans decide to "steal" one of their story lines. That's especially the case for games from the Nintendo franchise, as Pokemon Uranium and Breath of the Nes have proven.
Video game history is filled with the skeletons of mods and fan games that were sacrificed on the altar of copyrights for daring to try to keep a fictional universe alive.
Until the video game press got their hands on it, Mega Maker had gone quietly unnoticed, but thanks to Kotaku, the project is now well-publicized. It's kind of bittersweet for the developers, who might run out of time to put the game out before getting letters from Capcom's laywers.
But hey, maybe Capcom will decide to just go with it, like Sega, who recently surprised us all by authorizing the mods for Sega Genesis, which have just come out on Steam. So there's still a shred of hope. We'll know for sure on July 15.