Pokémon Essentials, a robust resource for making Pokémon fan games, has been removed from the internet following a takedown notice from Nintendo. Losing this resource is a harsh setback for would-be makers of Pokémon fan games.
Essentials takes the form of a file that works with the PC build-your-own-RPG game RPG Maker XP. But rather than being a full game of its own, it’s an asset pack filled with Pokémon-related sprites, music, and more—the raw materials that you’d need to start making your own game. An accompanying wiki, which was hosted on Fandom, was also taken down. Last year, Voluntary Twitch, the creative director behind the popular fan game Pokémon Uranium, told Kotaku that without Pokemon Essentials, it would have been impossible to make Uranium or any other fan game.
“[It allows] even someone with little to no programming knowledge whatsoever (for example, me) to make a fully-functioning game,” Voluntary Twitch said at the time. “And in the hands of someone who knows how to use it well...it becomes a powerful tool that can create something truly exceptional.”
As of today, that powerful tool is offline. Speaking with Kotaku under the condition of anonymity, one of the creators of the project confirmed that the files were deleted following a copyright infringement claim sent by Nintendo. Nintendo did not return a request for comment in time for publication, and The Pokémon Company International declined to comment.
There’s little evidence that Nintendo wants to crack down on fan-drawn graphic art, or covers of its game music, or other such activities, but it seems to draw a hard and fast line at fan-made games. Last year, Pokémon Uranium also received a takedown notice that lead to its developers removing the download link for the game and then ceasing development on it entirely. Nintendo also famously shut down Another Metroid 2 Remake in 2016. Nintendo’s relationship to the makers of fan games has long been adversarial, and the takedown of Pokémon Essentials pushes the developers of such games into a state of limbo.