The Game Awards 2016 will be held in just a few days, and two fan-made Nintendo projects were up for accolades in the “Best Fan Creation” category. AM2R: Return of Samus and Pokémon Uranium were both hit with DMCA takedowns earlier this year, and shortly after they were announced as nominees for The Game Awards, they were quietly removed from the lineup. No official explanation was given at the time, but we speculated that Nintendo once again pulled the plug, and according to Geoff Keighley (creator of The Game Awards), that’s exactly what happened. Here’s his full explanation.
“I think the big challenge that we face as a show is that everything in the show has to be legally cleared by the game companies in question. So one of the things that we go through is this clearance process where we have to get basically rights from everyone that owns the IPs of the games, but we don’t tell those companies in advance who’s nominated, and we find out together. It became clear once we announced the nominees that we weren’t going to be able to get clearance on those games from Nintendo, understandably so, it’s Nintendo IP, they’re trying to protect their IP, and those creators had sort of taken those games down. So from a show perspective, those games had been I think issued take downs, and if we include those in the show, then the show is potentially at risk for take down as well.
“I think the fan creations are amazing things that fans do, and I hope that game companies and fans find ways to continue to create that content, and I would like nothing more than those creators and Nintendo to figure out a way to collaborate on content, but from a show perspective, it’s a bummer because I think those things are amazing efforts from fans, they created it, but at the end of the day, they are illegal use of IP and different game companies have different approaches to that… I think fan creations for me, we have to make sure those creations are legal creations or at least creations that are not subject to take down to be in the show. It was a bummer to see that happen, but it was something that unfortunately from a show perspective we had to remove them because we couldn’t obtain the clearance.”
— Geoff Keighley
Keighley apparently did not inform Nintendo that these fan games would be up for awards prior to announcing it to the public, and Nintendo wouldn’t give clearance. According to Keighley, the entire show could have been stopped by Nintendo if he had failed to comply with their wishes.