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Nicalis hits Cave Story fan game with DMCA takedown notice

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correction: nicalis does, in fact, own the source to the original gamethis doesn’t impact the takedown in any way however since the code in the repo is *not* the original sourceNovember 23, 2020

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Publisher Nicalis has issued a DMCA takedown notice against the Cave Story Engine 2 repository, which collects the various different versions of Cave Story Engine 2, a fan-made enhanced version of the original Cave Story by Daisuke Amaya, also known as Studio Pixel.

In the takedown notice, Nicalis argues that CSE2 uses code based on the original game, which they own and distribute under the name Cave Story+. However, Cave Story Engine 2 actually uses a demake of the freeware version of the original. The main developer “behind a major fork of CSE2” has commented under several tweets reporting this, saying several developers on the project will try to get the takedown overturned.

the DMCA claims Nicalis owns the code to CS+ and believes said code exists in the repos, but that’s not the case to our knowledge.Several major participans in the CSE2 project (myself included) are currently planning to approach nicalis to settle on the matter.November 24, 2020

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The takedown is ironic, seeing as the whole point of Cave Story Engine 2’s existence is to avoid Nicalis and their version of the platforming classic in order to bring enhancements to the original game, such as widescreen support and a 60FPS toggle. Part of this decision is probably not only to preserve the original Cave Story, but also to give players an alternative to supporting Nicalis, in light of allegations of racism and abusive behaviour made last year, which has previously caused other developers to cease working with them.

The freeware version of Cave Story remains available via FilePlanet and a fan site. It is widely acclaimed not only as a great platformer but as a major achievement for a single developer and one of the first indie games as we know them today—games developed independently that eventually attract the attention of publishers and become large successes. In his twitter thread about the takedown, industry veteran Rami ismail, previously of Vlambeer, spoke to the game’s influence:

“When I started as indie dev back in 2010, there were barely notable indie games. A small handful of games would get brought up a lot, sure, but Cave Story was the only absolutely inspiration. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it shaped indie games.”

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