Indie Harry Potter MMO slapped with cease and desist

    
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Let this be an important lesson to any would-be game designers: If you try to make a game based on a very well-known IP without a license to do so and then attempt to raise money to fund it, you’re going to be on the receiving end of a Dumbledore Army of lawyers.

This is the case with BioHazard Entertainment, whose Kickstarter campaign to fund The Wizarding World Online was slapped with a cease and desist by Warner Bros. “This campaign is devoted to the creation of an MMO game based on the Harry Potter stories and films,” WB’s lawyers stated. “This game is unauthorized and violates Warner Bros.’s rights in the property.”

In a forum post on Tuesday, the dev team admitted defeat: “It came to show that people expected something from us that we were not eligible to speak about, which in this case is the licenses and permits from WB.” The team said that the studio would re-brand and continue to work on its Harry Potter MMO in the hopes of gaining the license holder’s “respect.”

[Source: C&D letter, forum; via: MMO Games]
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ElisaRial
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ElisaRial

Honestly, regardless of where you stand on whether Bio-Hazard was profiteering or not issue, one thing still remains: unlike many of Kicktstarter campaigns, they’ve made a lot of money in a matter of days. You know what this means? There are a lot of people who are willing to shell out the cash for this sort of game to exist. EA and WB should take note of this and make their own HP MMO since there is a niche (or bigger, really) market that’s WILLING TO PAY TO PLAY THIS GAME. This is like the ultimate Beta test for performance assessment:”How do we know that people will buy this game? Is there an audience for it?” “Well, the people who shelled out X-amount of $ on Kickstarter for one, and that’s not counting the other people who would be willing to give money if they were aware of it.” “… Green lit, now make it happen”

blackcatcrosses
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blackcatcrosses

MikedotFoster TiaNadiezja Well, to be fair, Rowling now has more money than the Queen, so she’s pretty free to pick and choose.

blackcatcrosses
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blackcatcrosses

TronSheridan Pretty sure there are kids today reading HP books.

TronSheridan
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TronSheridan

WB could have been printing money for years with a HP mmo.  And the generation that grew up worshiping HP are now having kids of their own.  Their window milking that cash cow is dwindling.  what a massively missed opportunity.

vemerce
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vemerce

Denngar TiaNadiezja I understand where you’re coming from. The problem with Lucas was that he didn’t want to leave well enough alone. Anyone that writes a story more than likely considers what would have happened if certain aspects went differently, but there comes a time when you need to leave it be. (Especially after it’s been released to the public.)
When it comes to Harry Potter, I think they told all the stories they need to about Harry himself. If another story were to be told, I think another character in that universe would be a better choice now.
As far as being an MMO property goes, I personally think Harry Potter would be a horrible property and the final product would end up being extremely canon breaking or aimed at young children. And I can’t believe a studio actually tried to make an MMO about a legally owned property without getting a license first. Then they go on to say they’re trying to earn the studio’s respect? If they wanted respect, they could have started by asking nicely before they setup a Kickstarter.

social_crime
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social_crime

Wow they obviously don’t have talent either. That logo looks like a 12 year old made it in MS Paint.

Ten10K
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Ten10K

Wow what really where they thinking …
If anyone out there wants to play a game close to Harry Potter .. Go look at Wizard101 lol there ya go

Denngar
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Denngar

TiaNadiezja To be honest, I think it’s one of the reasons I don’t feel certain about Harry Potter’s ability to stand the test of time.
Let’s compare it to Star Wars. To be blunt, Lucas is actually the worst thing to happen to Star Wars since he made the prequels, not because the movies are “bad” (critics gave Revenge of the Sith higher ratings than Return of the Jedi), but because he disregards stories and plot lines that were decades old and considered canon. While Lucas was busy making toys, he allowed the expanded universe to thrive- we had other writers and artists creating Star Wars content for us. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was official, and to be honest, I realized a long time ago that the expanded universe is what really made Stars Wars “real” to me. 
By allowing other people to create more stories, Star Wars really cemented itself as modern mythology, much like comic books. Like traditional mythology, there are some core aspects to characters and central story lines, but we retell and reinvent them so much that they stay relevant, despite their age. 
Rowling might be doing a lot with her franchise, but she’s very tight wit the reigns. One could argue it’s for quality control but for me personally, her comments ring too much like Lucas’, wanting to change what she wrote because she herself has changed her mind. That’s not fair to the fans- you gave them a story, and now it belongs to them too. Imagine if Shakespeare wanted Juliet to live, or decided that Prospero was actually in love with Caliban, and changed that or publicly commented on it. At least for me, as a fan, it feels unfair and selfish. We have stories to drive our imagination, and once you tell that story to others, we, the audience,  invest in it too.

BryanCo
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BryanCo

Part of me wonders if this was some sort of “The Producers” style scheme.

Apollyon
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Apollyon

Hands down dumbest thing I’ve seen. What were BioHazard Entertainment actually thinking they could achieve here? That the Kickstarter would be successful and WB would be impressed into giving permission? I’d expect 13 year olds to know that to use an existing and wildly popular IP that you would contact the owners before launching a crowdfunding campaign to build the game..