Hi, so I'm planning on developing a game with a friend of mine (offline RPG), so I have 2 ideas when it comes to the actual plot of the game:
- Naruto/Bleach Based (Story, Characters, Skills, Maps....)
- Our own idea (Characters, Skills, Maps (no story yet)).
So which would be a better option, I would prefer to develop an anime-based game, however I'm afraid of doing so because of all the licensing and stuff, I know that the episodes are licensed by FUNImation and what-not, but I'm just using the names of the villages, skills, and the characters, they can't be copyrighted right ? (I can skip the story and develop my own)
Anyway to get-around all the licenses ?
This seemed like the most appropriate forum to post on, move this thread if I'm wrong...
Quote from my post at the gamedev forums, can anyone help me ?
I'm just using the names of the villages, skills, and the characters, they can't be copyrighted right ?
Think again. The names are absolutely copyrighted. You'd better not use anything copied from an anime if you want to avoid being in deep legal shit. Come up with your own characters, universe, mythology and so forth. It's okay if it's very similar to the anime, but it can't explicitly copy any elements.
Anime is just a drawing and art style, but you can't use names of characters or places unless they are generic, like Bill, or Tokyo, or something. If they are names invented by a company they probably have trademarks on them. You don't have to change art much to make it look different, but don't think about ripping off sprites unless they are very old. Find some tutorials on drawing or modeling anime.
Depends. Are you going to sell the game?
If you want to use Naruto, or some other copyrighted anime IP, to make some sort of hobby project, then no harm done. But, if you start distributing it beyond close friends, even for free, you basically walk into illegality.
You cannot use any individual trademarked items without legal agreement, and you cannot copy the whole look-and-feel. So, even if skills/villages/etc are individually generic, putting those elements together in way that knocks off Naruto is still possible copyright infringement. It is admittedly grey, but do you have the money to fight in court?
Anyways, go with 2. You'll be more proud when it all comes together out of your own mind, rather than knocking off an existing world.