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The Best Unofficial Fan-Made Video Games and Remakes

Fans giving us what actual developers stubbornly refuse to
by Karen Mae De Vera | Sep 21, 2018
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Fandoms have different ways of expressing their love for the original source. When it comes to video games, creating an alternative version or remake is the equivalent of writers creating fanfiction about their fave story. But in a way, working on a project is also an act of service to the community. It can fill a void left behind by a franchise that’s taking way too long to develop, was unceremoniously canceled, or simply dropped off the face of the earth.

An infamous example of a game that got axed too soon was Silent Hills–a collaboration between Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima. Some games manage to escape limbo after ages of waiting only to result in utter garbage (the last Duke Nukem game). Meanwhile, sequels that fans are clamoring for such as Half-Life 3 have as much chance of materializing as your crush reciprocating your feelings (basically, zero).

It’s risky work since the major companies that own the franchises are always looming with copyright claims at the ready but there are projects that deserve to live because they did right by the source material and have even gone above and beyond what was expected! 

Shadow Moses Remake

Shadow Moses Remake was supposed to be an HD version of Metal Gear Solid using the Unreal Engine 4. While we agree that you can’t mess with a masterpiece like MGS, it would’ve been a treat to see iconic cinematic cutscenes look less like a blocked-up-abstract mess and more realistic. Unfortunately, they halted the game’s production in 2016. The developers explained that it was “for reasons beyond our control.” The good news is that they ended up releasing The Fan Legacy: MGS and even got David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake, involved.

Pokémon Uranium

Pokémon Uranium takes place in the Tandor region and introduces gamers to the Nuclear type of critters. The post-apocalyptic premise may look bleak but at least ’mons don’t look like Cronenbergesque monstrosities and still retain their kawaii aesthetic. Unfortunately, Nintendo gets really high-strung about protecting their properties and was most recently on EmuParadise’s ass about their titles–the long-running website that offered ROM files of previous consoles and the handheld game was shut down for good. So, it’s no wonder that they already cracked down on this promising fan-made game. 

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Mother 4

The Mother series was one of the quirkier Nintendo JRPGs released and consisted of a group of kids, psychic powers, and aliens–basically your typical 80s coming-of-age movie. The unofficial sequel utilizes sprites from Mother 3 and will pick up from where the previous game left off. Based on the trailer, you can ride a motorbike around town like a 1950s greaser, explore hidden areas in the city, and most importantly, communicate with dogs. However, due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Nintendo, the game’s title will be changed to an undisclosed new project name. But at least Mother 4 (or whatever its new title is gonna be) will still be released for Windows, Mac, and Linux for free.

GoldenEye: Source

This N64 multiplayer shooter which ruined many a 90s-era childhood friendships deserves a remake. Run across 25 maps as you completely annihilate opponents by riddling them with bullets, mutilating them with knives, and destroying them with explosives, all while backed by the rousing instrumental of the classic James Bond theme (You know, kid stuff!). The remake may have been around since 2006 but it kept the gameplay fresh thanks to continually updating throughout the years. The only downside of GoldenEye: Source is that couch multiplayer isn’t available so you can only play online. But this could also count as good news because walang comsat.

Black Mesa

The Crowbar Collective’s group effort proves that not all fan-made projects crash and burn under DMCA claims and lawsuits. Black Mesa is based on the first Half-Life game and created using the Source engine and unlike most major companies Valve acknowledged the mod and wanted them to sell it on Steam–they even wanted to play the game. That’s certainly the highest praise you can get as a fan/budding developer. We get reacquainted with Gordon Freeman and the Black Mesa Research Facility plus new voice recordings, original music, retextured and improved graphics. Considering how almost every aspect of HL1 has been altered, it could be more of a modernized version rather than a copypasta remake. The original "Legacy" version is still available to download for free but no longer has any updates and patches.

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Mega Man X: Corrupted

Playing through the Mega Man franchise has never been a walk in the park but damn if we didn’t enjoy the challenge! Created by JKB, Mega Man X: Corrupted hearkens back to the bygone retro era and will take place in an alternate timeline following the events of Mega Man X5. Play as X and Zero to explore an expansive environment (instead of stages!) with an SNES aesthetic. In true Metroidvania fashion, players will be encouraged to backtrack as well as leveling with a skill tree setup where they level up as they go further along. It even hints at multiple endings depending on how you go about the game. Mega Man X: Corrupted is still under development but has been active as of late! 

Crash Bandicoot Crystal’s Wrath

Back in 2012, Youtube content creators PatStrikesBack and JumpButton CM joined forces to work on a Crash Bandicoot game the brought all the best bits across the series—from the Naughty Dog to Vicarious Visions era of iterations. The single-player platformer will feature original levels, new enemies, and certain familiar faces while Crash will retain all his OG abilities such as the double jump, spin, body slam, and slide. The devs are also currently toying with the idea of customization called Create-a-Coot too! Pat and Jump have also put up a vlog where they provide audio commentary on character models, movement, and environment design—making it double as an educational game development 101 class. CB Crystal’s Wrath is currently under development but will be available for free on the PC and Mac when it comes out.

Pokémon Origin

A legit 3D reimagining of Pokémon FireRed, at the helm of the remake is Felipé Gouvea, who acts as animator, programmer, 3D model artist, and level designer–he’s a one-man dream team. In Pokémon Origin, your main ’mon walks/glides alongside you instead of being cooped up inside a Poké Ball while the game ditches the usual turn-based battle mechanics for a seamless real-time combat providing a more immersive experience. The Unreal Engine 4-based demo was available for the PC as far back as 2017 but unfortunately, due to copyright issues (Nintendo as usual), the link was taken down. The good news is that Felipé was hired by a company to work on another video game, the bad news is that Origin is on hiatus. Let’s hope someone picks up the game and works on a language patch since it’s originally in Portuguese too! 

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AM2R: Return of Samus

Another Metroid 2 Remake or AM2R features improved graphics, redrawn sprites, and new gameplay mechanics adopted from succeeding titles such as Metroid: Zero Mission (a remake of the first game). AM2R has new mini-bosses, extra sidequests, redesigned levels, and adds weapons from later games like the Super Missile and Charge Beam. They successfully completed the project just in time for the Metroid franchise’s 30th anniversary–too bad DMCA claims then forced team AM2R to remove the download link from the developer’s blog and halt any further updates. Fortunately, other developers have released unofficial patches to fix bugs and provided several download links are still...floating around for the game.

Skywind

The group is collectively known as The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project (TESR) is on a mission to recreate the third Elder Scrolls game, Morrowind, in the fifth game: the infamous Skyrim. While a Morrowind expansion pack was made available for The Elder Scrolls Online, Bethesda Softworks doesn’t have any plans of working on remaking the full game in the near future so they have given the team their blessing to proceed. The alpha updates have shown the character speech, creature behaviors, sprawling landscapes, fully designed dungeons, to name a few. Based on what’s shown so far, it's a promising remake! The game will be available for free on the PC once it comes out. However, it will require you to own original copies of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

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