UPDATE: 17/07/2015 5.15pm: The Zelda anime series Kickstarter has been removed.
According to project lead Michael Patch, Nintendo never sent a cease and desist order, but it was rather backlash from other fans that convinced Patch to pull the plug.
[Editor's note: It appears that the Kickstarter campaign received a copyright strike after all. It came from Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, a firm that's represented Nintendo in the past. This strike and Aeipathy's resignation post both went up on 15th July. We're currently investigating the order in which these went up.]
"Though I have not received a C&D [cease and desist], out of respect for Nintendo, and due to few incriminating crowds, (though it was maybe only 30 per cent of people who commented) I am ending the Zeldamotion journey," Patch said on the Aeipathy Industries Facebook page. "To the other 70 per cent of you, I give you my sincerest thanks. You made me feel like I was more than just some guy making fan art. You are the ones I did this for. "
"There is nothing I have put more time into, or worked on so hard as Zeldamotion," he said of the project. "I had a dream that I would make a Zelda movie one day. The reason I started really pursuing my art skills was because of Ocarina of Time. More than three fourths of the art I have in my sketchbooks, or my computer is fan art from Legend of Zelda. Through the Zeldamotion project, I taught myself how to animate, manage websites, work with public relations, and share the joy of fellow fans when my (and those who helped me) hard work was finally unveiled, after years of work.
"I learned a lot. I burnt myself out. I felt surreal joy. I think I am better for it. But the truth is, I am just a fan."
Prior to canceling the project, Patch asked folks on Twitter for feedback and pointed to a poll he'd made asking whether he should pursue the project or not. As of now, 261 folks (72 per cent) said yes, while 81 (22 per cent) said no. There were 22 "other" votes as well.
ORIGINAL STORY: 14/07/2015 7.16pm: A gaggle of Zelda fans have launched a Kickstarter campaign to make a Zelda animated series. They're doing this without Nintendo's permission, but - weirdly - Nintendo has yet to put a stop to this.
The team behind the project, Aeipathy Industries, seems just as bewildered by this as anyone.
"I am as confused as everyone else when I see that they haven't told us to stop," said one of the fans behind the project, Jarom Smith, on Reddit. "We definitely take ourselves seriously, and it is definitely a Zelda work, so what's the deal? Are we just too small for them to notice, or what?
"The bottom line is this: I don't know why Nintendo does what it does (I mean, Amiibos. 'nuff said). But they haven't shut us down yet and its been over two years. That means, if they are going to turn a blind eye, then by golly I say we get it done, because no one else seems to be doing it!
"I like to imagine that it's because Nintendo wants to see what we can do, without giving us the official green light," Smith continued. "If they approved us, who is to say we'd get it right? But if they wait and see, they can 'make us official' after we have already done all the work. That way it's no risk for Nintendo."
It seems unlikely that Nintendo, a company that only two years ago insisted on claiming all ad revenue from YouTubers making Let's Plays of its games, would be okay with fans raising money for an unlicensed Zelda series. Then again, Nintendo has recently reverted on its earlier decision and opened up a Nintendo Creators Program in which YouTubers can receive revenue from Nintendo product Let's Plays.
Yet The Zelda Anime Series Kickstarter has been up for a couple of days now and is still ticking with a current tally of $4865. Of course, Nintendo likely has bigger things on its mind right now following the untimely passing of its president, Satoru Iwata.
While Aeipathy Industries has already made a Zelda animated episode on YouTube, it did that on its own dime. Asking for money from other fans could be what brings the hammer down on this fledgling campaign.
Smith addressed the crowdfunding concerns on Reddit by claiming it was merely an option to speed up the release schedule of these episodes. "The main reason we are asking for money is because people have asked us to do it faster," he said. "People are constantly asking us when we will have new content, and when you are creating content in your spare time, it takes a lot longer to do. So we've created the Kickstarter to say 'This is it. If you want it fast, you can get it fast. But if it fails, don't blame us.' Like any other good Kickstarter campaign, you will get what you pay for."
We've reached out to both Nintendo and Aeipathy Industries about this and will update should we find out more.