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I'm interested to learn if there have been notable cases of a game maker accepting code or game engine portions developed by fans to replace their own buggy/flawed/slow parts, or even complete game remakes that turned official. For open-source games it should not be uncommon, but I'd like to know if there were any closed-source games which did that and the details of such occurrence.

For example, if Dark Souls was remade on Dark Souls 3's engine to improve world mesh clipping, graphics and framerate.

The goal is to find out how realistic it would be to remake or improve some (possibly old) games and figure out all the legal intricacies so it would be allowed for public distribution.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure this question is on-topic here, and I considered using tag related to gamedev history but there isn't one, so idk. Please retag or advise on where to get this answered. \$\endgroup\$ – user1306322 May 20 '16 at 7:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the last part of your question; If you're seeking legal advice you're better off asking a laywer. \$\endgroup\$ – Soapy May 20 '16 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nah, I'm not even approaching that stage. Just trying to find out if it's been done. \$\endgroup\$ – user1306322 May 20 '16 at 10:26
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When GameSpy went belly-up, Bungie "worked with fans" to create a patch for the original Halo that would route features previously relying on GameSpy through other mechanisms. It's not completely clear what direct input the fans had in this case.

Additionally, the Project Magma group that maintains Myth II (coincidentally, another Bungie game) was originally a group of map-makers and fans. They have access to the original game's source code through a legal agreement and continue to produce actual builds of the game.

The story of Sonic Mania is similar: an officially-licensed game that was "originally" (in some form) a fan game and involved the hiring (or subcontracting of) the author. It doesn't involve a change to an existing product though, so much as hiring somebody to produce a new one.


In general, there are a huge variety of legal, marketing, ethical and other issues that would make a company very hesitant to do something like this. The legal ones are probably the biggest: ensuring modifications are unencumbered from legal issues and free of malicious intent or other serious defects, assuming legal ownership of the changes, et cetera.

To that end, I'd expect cases like you're thinking of to be few and far between. But it has been done.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would cases where official re-releases of classic console games have been found to contain code from third-party emulators also count as an example of this kind of thing? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Oct 10 '18 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd think they'd certainly be examples of the kind of thing many companies would be trying to avoid (especially if they showed up in there "accidentally"). But I guess they could also count for the kind of contribution the OP is asking about too. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Oct 10 '18 at 19:26
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Counter Strike was originally a Half-Life mod. The two developers, along with the mod itself and intellectual property were acquired by Valve.

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