A Mugenguild member that goes by Dr. Basara Kilnklein has revealed that they’ve received an email from Interplay requesting that they cease and desist development on their fangame, ClayFighter: Infinite Clayfare. The game was being built in MUGEN and, therefore, couldn’t be monetized, so it’s a bit interesting (though not outside their rights) that Interplay are being dicks about it.
ClayFighter was initially released in 1993 on SNES before receiving ports on other consoles. It received a 16-bit sequel, ClayFighter 2: Judgement Clay, in 1994 before moving to the N64 with ClayFighter 63 ⅓. The last entry to the series was 1998’s ClayFighter: Sculptor’s Cut, which was largely just a fixed/expanded version of the previous title. I say this as a fan, but the series was never very good. It largely stood out because of its claymation visuals. However, the development of most of the games were mired in complications, and none of them came out cleanly. The 3D ones are easily the worst. There’s probably an alternate reality where there was one redeeming title, but we’re not living in it.
However, as I said, I consider myself a fan, and I’m not the only one. Beyond ClayFighter: Infinite Clayfare, there are also various ROM hacks for the games to try and turn them into something worth playing. There hasn’t been a new game in the series for 25 years. The only people fans have to turn to are each other.
It’s probably worth noting that the letter has an attachment with the name of Ultra ClayFighter, the ClayFighter: Tournament Edition ROM hack, so it’s not impossible that they’ve received similar correspondence.
I’m a human bean
Interplay was something of a force in the ‘90s. They’re the publisher that brought us Earthworm Jim and Fallout. But they started struggling in the late ‘90s before locking tongues with Titus. They went into a nosedive and then started shedding its intellectual properties. The last real twitching we got out of the corpse was when they were left developing Fallout Online. After that game failed to materialize, Bethesda sued them and got the remaining rights to the Fallout series.
Since then, Interplay has still hung around, but mainly just as a funny smell that also banks off of the last scraps of former glory it clings to. With that in mind, you’d think that they’d also try to maintain whatever goodwill they have left with fans, but I guess not.
The developer of ClayFighter: Infinite Clayfare has replied to the cease-and-desist to clarify the project and request the ability to proceed but says that if it doesn’t meet with Interplay’s satisfaction, they will abide and remove everything as requested.
As a final note, yes, Interplay is within their rights to request the removal of something that makes unauthorized use of their properties. I mean, don’t quote me on that since I’m not a lawyer, but we’ve seen cases like this before. With that said, it’s a pretty crappy move from a company that barely exists anymore. I guess since Baldur’s Gate 3 is a continuation of one of their old properties, they feel like they’re allowed to put on the big boy pants again.
On the other hand, if you feel like playing ClayFighter in a place where lawyers can’t reach you, it is currently available on Antstream Arcade.