Fan-made title Pokémon Uranium arrived on the scene recently and was downloaded over 1.5 million times. The news yesterday that its developers had voluntarily removed the official download links from the web triggered speculation that Nintendo's legal team had gotten in touch, but the game's creative director, Involuntary Twitch (it's safe to assume that's not their real name) has claimed that isn't the case, and that despite the withdrawal of the game it is "more alive than ever before".
Here's the full statement:
A lot of people seem to be experiencing a strong emotional reaction to the news that we decided to remove the official download links—and this was bolstered by plenty of news articles & blog posts about the game claiming we 'shelved' the project after 9 years, or that Nintendo's vindictive corporate suits got the better of us.
But our own feelings about this situation are completely different. Our game project, the one we devoted so many hours of our lives into and the thing that was for both of us the single greatest creation in our young lives, had been download more than 1.5 MILLION times. That's an incomprehensibly huge number of people playing our game. We are seeing the joy that players get when they enter the Tandor Region, this world that we created. They are sharing the game with their friends, and documenting their playthroughs on YouTube and on every social media site. They are rejoicing in finding shiny Pokemon, breeding to get that perfect 6IV competitive set, and are helping each other to formulate strategies and discover secrets we hid deep within the game.
You'd only need to glance at our Forums or Discord to see the sheer numbers of people that have been inspired and brought together by this game. So, for everyone who's saying this game is dead—far from it. It's more alive than ever before.
Without a means to actually download the game officially - and with the developers warning people of the dangers of obtaining the game from other sources - you could argue that Pokémon Uranium's long-term prospects aren't particularly rosy. It's also fair to speculate that the very recent takedown of the excellent Metroid 2 tribute AMR2 would suggest that Uranium's developers jumped before they were pushed.
Still, the game has managed to generate quite a bit of activity in its short time online, and 1.5 million downloads is an impressive achievement for a fan-made release - those players alone should ensure that we see a lot more of Uranium's world over the next few months, at least.