Let's say you're interested in getting together with a few people and creating a video game. Now let's say said game is a sequel to a known, copyrighted property and you'd be using assets from the original game. Logic dictates at this point that you'd get permission from the copyright owner doesn't it?
Last week, Square Enix, maker of the original Chrono Trigger--an RPG originally released for the SNES in 1995 that garnered a huge cult following--sent a cease-and-desist letter (PDF) to a team of developers who'd been working on a "true" sequel to the game dubbed Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. (The followup to the first game, called Chrono Cross, did not continue the storyline from the original game; thus the general consensus among fans was that it was not a true sequel).
The letter was sent just a few weeks before Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes was to be released.
In the letter, the team is instructed to stop all development and destroy all materials relating to Crimson Echoes, and not to release the ROM.
Created by a team of fans using Chrono Trigger sprites (2D graphics), Crimson Echoes has been in development for four and a half years.
I know I have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight here, but really, in all probability, this had to be one of the more likely scenarios, right? I'm sure the team made the game out of love for the property and knew there was a chance this could happen. Similar projects, however have been completed and released, so why not this one? Who knows really, but I'm sure every company would have their own reaction to something like this. Just sad to see four and a half years of work go spinning down the drain.
I hope the developers can take what they've learned while developing their title and apply it elsewhere--hopefully an original property or something they get permission to make beforehand.
I feel for the fans who were anticipating this, though. Seriously, if there was a fan-made true sequel to the first Phantasy Star that got canceled weeks before release, I'd be pretty irked too.