For the past few years, a YouTuber known as Krollywood has painstakingly recreated every level from GoldenEye 007 inside the level editor of Far Cry 5. This week, Ubisoft removed all of those levels from Far Cry 5 due to a copyright infringement claim.
(Update: 7/1/2021, 1:35 p.m. ET: The stricken levels appear to be back up in Far Cry 5's arcade mode on PC. They’re now under the name “Golden Cry,” courtesy of creator Graslu00.)
Kotaku first reported on Krollywood’s efforts earlier this month. Over the course of three years, in an endeavor that tallied more than 1,400 hours, Krollywood recreated every stage from GoldenEye 007, the classic N64 shooter (well, save for the two bonus levels). It was an impressive effort: a modernized recreation of a beloved yet tough-to-find old game. And it looked great, too.
You could find and play these levels yourself by hopping into Far Cry 5’s arcade mode and punching in Krollywood’s username. As of this writing, you no longer can. Ubisoft removed them all from Far Cry 5, a move that Krollywood described as “really sad,” noting that he probably won’t be able to restore them since he’s “on their radar now.”
“I’m really sad—not because of myself or the work I put in the last three years, [but] because of the players who wanna play it or bought Far Cry just to play my levels,” Krollywood told Kotaku in an email today.
When reached for comment, a representative for Ubisoft kicked over this statement:
Ubisoft did not immediately respond to follow-up requests asking whether the rights holder mentioned is MGM, which controls the license to the original GoldenEye 007.
The rights around the GoldenEye 007 game have been stuck in a quagmire for decades. Famously, Rare, the developer of the original game, planned a remake for the Xbox 360. That was cancelled in 2008. (Years later, Xbox boss Phil Spencer chalked up the cancellation to the legal rights issues being “challenging.”) That canned remake resurfaced as a full 4K60 longplay via a leak this January, with a playable version making the rounds online shortly after. A Kotaku report concluded: It was fun.
It is further unclear how, exactly, Krollywood’s map remakes in Far Cry 5 harm MGM at all—or how it violates Ubisoft’s terms of service in the first place. Krollywood didn’t use any assets or code from the original game. He didn’t attempt to sell it or otherwise turn a profit. And MGM doesn’t own any of the code from Ubisoft’s open-world shooter.
Players just want a taste of nostalgia, and MGM has a track record of shattering the plates before they’re even delivered to the table. (Recall GoldenEye 25, the fan remake of GoldenEye 007 remade entirely in Unreal 4 that was lawyered into oblivion last year.) MGM has further neglected to do anything with the license it’s sitting on—for a game that’s older than the Game Boy Color, by the way. At the end of the day, shooting this latest fan-made project out of the sky comes across as a punitive move, at best.
“In the beginning, I started this project just for me and my best friend, because we loved the original game so much,” Krollywood said. “But there are many GoldenEye fans out there … [The project] found many new fans and I’m so happy about it.”