January 30, 2023

Link is surprised to receive the latest copyright strike from Nintendo.

Image: Nintendo/YouTube/Kotaku

In October gaming history YouTube channel DidYouKnowGaming reported on a failed 2004 pitch for a Zelda game of tactics on the Nintendo DS Heroes of Hyrule. Two months later, the Mario creator has now used a copyright strike to erase the video from the internet. The channel, which has produced hundreds of videos about Nintendo games and their history, says it’s the first time the company has responded with a takedown request.

“Nintendo has removed our Heroes of Hyrule video from YouTube,” DidYouKnowGaming said tweeted late wednesday night. “This was a journalistic video documenting a game that Retro Studios presented to Nintendo nearly 20 years ago. This is an attempt by a major corporation to silence the journalism they don’t like, and a slap in the face to preserving video game history.”

The original video by channel creator Shane Gill documented the Metroid prime developer’s decades-old pitch for a Zelda game that resembled a lot Final Fantasy Tactics Ahead. A turn-based strategy game with puzzle-solving mechanics aimed at children reading a history book about Ganon’s defeat and acting out. The heroes would find new pages and magical objects in their world which would then affect battles that took place in the book.

DidYouKnowGaming’s report came from the original 22-page pitch document for the game, as well as an interview with the Retro programmer Paul Tozour who created it. While there was no game to share early build footage of, it did include some visual illustrations from the document (Kotaku including one in it our previous coverage of the video and has not yet received any legal complaints). In addition to describing what the game could be, the video also talked about the studio’s burnout Metroid Prime 2 at the time, and an employee’s desire to try a different type of project.

A screenshot from DidYouKnowGaming's Heroes of Hyrule video shows a sample artwork.

The above is one of the sample illustrations from the Heroes of Hyrule pitch document DidYouKnowGaming used in its video.
Screenshot: Retro Studios / DidYouKnowGaming

It was a perfect example of the kind of quality YouTube gaming journalism DidYouKnowGaming has become known for and about how easily fascinating moments in the medium’s history can be lost without people putting in the time and effort to document them. But apparently the fact that the pitch was from almost 20 years ago and was ultimately unsuccessful prevented the infamous litigious Nintendo refrains from treating it as a highly sensitive trade secret.

“The Heroes of Hyrule video was created using the same process and video editing style used for most of the other videos on the channel,” DidYouKnowGaming told Kotaku in an email. “What sets the video apart is that it is one of the few videos on the channel that documents a piece of Nintendo history that was first discovered and reported by us.”

A screenshot shows the types of videos DidYouKnowGaming publishes.

The group believes the coverage of the field falls under fair use protection and remains with the original reporting. “We had heard from several sources during the production of the video that Nintendo was getting angry with the number of former Nintendo employees who were willing to talk about and share material from unreleased games, failed pitches and other canceled projects,” it said. channel. “This has not and will not stop us from documenting the history of video games.”

While the Switch manufacturer has become notorious for the fact that YouTube copyright violates everything free fan mods to soundtracks from old video games, this seems to have taken reflexive pettiness to a whole new level. “This is Nintendo trying to harass and silence independent historical researchers who are doing completely extralegal work,” tweeted Liam Robertson, who didn’t work on the Heroes of Hyrule video, but has contributed to DidYouKnowGaming in the past. “They shouldn’t be able to choose what is said about them on YouTube.”

Nintendo and YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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