Somehow Disney lawyers haven’t noticed
Toontown Online was my very first MMO, back when I was a wee child. It was pretty rad at the time: teaming up with people all over the world was a novel idea at the time, and even though I never subscribed, I can still vividly remember the two week free trial.
Unfortunately, it shut down in 2013 and other games such as Club Penguin became the game of choice for kids. Even though I hadn’t played it for at least eight or nine years, I was sad to see it go.
Turns out I’m not alone, as Toontown Rewritten is a fan-made project to bring the game back to life. Hosting their own servers and ‘replicating’ assets to rebuild the game, the team have recently released a new trailer showing Toontown just as I remembered it.
Toontown Rewritten is eager to point out it is free-to-play with no microtransactions, and that they are making absolutely no money from the project, probably in an attempt to cover their asses from legal repurcussions:
“Us folks over at Toontown Rewritten pay for it all out of pocket. It seems like a hefty bill, but when we volunteered to restore the game that just as much includes paying for it. Hardware prices have dropped plenty since Toontown’s original launch in 2003, and we are happy to keep it going. We won’t accept any form of donations – whether in currency, hardware, or any other form of payment. Seriously, we’ve gotcha covered. We just want to let you have fun and play the game that we all enjoy, on us!
As mentioned above, Toontown Rewritten is completely free to play. We make absolutely no profit whatsoever and will refuse any donations given. We’re not in this for money or fame — We’re in this because of kids like Charlie, their parents, and you who genuinely loved the game and want it to continue. Disney was unable to sustain Toontown as a business venture, and that’s why we want to sustain it as a gift to the Toontown community in memory of the great things they made.”
How long this will survive until the legal team at Disney catch wind of it and shut it down is unknown, but sadly it feels almost inevitable considering the cruel world of copyright law. Here’s hoping it survives though – it’s a neat project.