A Kickstarter project for the Hand-Drawn Game Guides was cancelled by the creator, after an unspecified game company’s lawyer expressed “concerns;” though everyone is otherwise in amicable terms.
The project launched August 6th, and was fully funded “within minutes” of launch. The project had planned to create hand-drawn and lettered strategy guides for classic games Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Contra, and Ninja Gaiden. An artbook was also planned to be produced.
Despite raising $322,337 USD out of the $20,000 USD goal, and each book emblazoned with the “Unofficial & Unauthorized” disclaimer, the project was cancelled September 5th. Speaking on the Kickstarter page, Philip Summers noted it “was always a risk,” and that it was “for exactly the reason you think it’s for.”
While explaining this was due to a legal dispute he wished to avoid, Kotaku had initially reported this was due to being shut down by Nintendo. Due to Nintendo’s vigorous defense of its IP from fan-games, it would not be an unreasonable assumption to make [1, 2, 3, 4].
Summers clarified on Twitter that he was the one to shut the campaign down, made no mention of the company involved, and had not received a cease and desist. “There will be a conversation between parties. The party involved has been polite and I’m hopeful something can get worked out. They have every right to act as they are.”
In a subsequent Kickstarter update, Summers explained in further depth. A lawyer representing one of the game companies had contacted them “suggesting there may be concerns.” As such, Summer decided to cancel rather than use Kickstarter’s tools to pause the campaign as an “abundance of caution” and being too close to the campaigns conclusion for Kickstarter to respond.
That would have meant if the project concluded, backers would be charged and Summers would be obligated to deliver the rewards. This could have then lead to a game company taking legal action at that point- cancelling production and leaving Summers unable to refund everyone fully. This is due to Kickstarter and payment processor fees not refunding to Summers if he decides a backer is refunded.
Nonetheless, Summers has high hopes for the future of the project coming back soon. “There are similar situations that have happened before with people trying to make gaming-related books,” Summers explains. “We are hopeful we’ll have good news for you soon and will be allowed to relaunch the campaign… with the blessing of the game companies!”