Fans Resurrect Disney's Toontown Online

Fans Resurrect Disney's Toontown Online

Toons of Toontown

Disney's MMO theme park Toontown Online may have shut its doors, but a few super-fans are working hard to pry them back open.

Toontown Online had a pretty good run, all things considered. The Disney MMO retained a dedicated community for a full decade, until the servers closed last year so that Disney could shift its focus to more active enterprises like Club Penguin. A lot of people were sad to see it go, as many gamers fondly remember it as their first MMO - but it might not be gone for good. A team of loyal fans is rebuilding the game with an ambitious new name: Toontown Rewritten.

Toontown Rewritten is a joint effort by 16 "super-duper fans" of the original game, all of whom are volunteering their time and sometimes money to revive the MMO. Although the original game charged subscription fees for premium accounts, this project is free-to-play; in fact, the team won't even accept donations. "Whether it is legal or not, I don't want to make any money off of Toontown Rewritten," explains 'Sir Max,' the team lead. "Disney originally owned this game, and they deserve all credit for it. We are doing nothing but volunteering to let Toontown stay open a little while longer."

"A little while" might be an understatement. The development team is focused on coding the new game to be "built to last," with plans for frequent updates and even entirely new content. Sir Max even hopes that Toontown Rewritten gets enough steam to last another ten years. In the end, though, its lifespan will probably depend on the players. The team is slowly distributing keys to interested players, and will continue to do so until Toontown is ready to open its doors to the public once again.

Source: Toontown Rewritten, via Technology Tell

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hmm no mention in the article of the super duper fans have gotten permission from mr lawyer about doing this which might mean mr lawyer contacts his great leader at disney which ends up with disney not only refusing but also owning their first born children in the lawsuit

Hey, I remember playing that! It might be my nostalgia talking, but that game was really fun. I think it was my first MMO.

I think I'll go see about getting myself a key now.

EDIT: Why did you have to taunt me by saying that they are "Slowly giving out keys"? They already finished giving out alpha keys. Now I'm sad and I'll have to wait around the park for my happiness to recharge.

They might have even been able to do it too, but now that there are articles being written about them the C&Ds are sure to follow.

Remember kiddos, never publicize your fanworks until they're done.

I've never played Toon Town so I couldn't be called a fan but I think this is a great idea. It'd be nice to give fans of an mmo the chance to keep playing the game they enjoy even if the original developer is done with it.
Now granted actually completing this endeavor is another matter but I for one really hope they succeed.

Cease and desist in 3...
I'll be really surprised if Disney just looks the other way.

DasDestroyer:
Cease and desist in...
I'll be really surprised if Disney just looks the other way.

This is Disney we are talking about sadly. I don't think there is any other company out there that is more protective of their IPs than Disney. Nintendo comes close, but Disney still trumps them.
Hopefully they can look the other way for this...

huh. Pretty cool, I guess, that is, if it doesn't get flushed.
I remember commercials for this waay back when, but I never played it. Didn't have good enough internet way back then.
Just Battleon... and Runescape.

I might go play some Battleon now. I got a nostalgia binge going on now...

It will be interesting to see what happens, but honestly I don't think there will be much of a problem here. Simply put other MMOS have been more or less privatized by fans, either after their collapse, or even during their run when players wanted to get away from changes the company was making. "Earth And Beyond", "Star Wars Galaxies" and "Ultima Online" (private shards) are all examples of this kind of thing.

The big problem is that the company needs to have someone to actually go after legally, and deliver a C&D too, as well as a target that can be made to actually do something after the legal action. This can cause interesting questions depending on where the game servers are located, and who exactly is involved and where they happen to be. Going after the people publically speaking for a project might not actually prevent other, anonymous, people from working on it, and if the servers are still going to go up and run, your only real option is to play hide and seek with those devs trying to shut things down so they can't be accessed... and simply put it becomes a big headache. Companies like EA and Sony have apparently given it the "old college try" in trying to shut down EMUs and private shards and the like, Disney is a big, and very powerful, company, but honestly I don't think they will really do much better here if the developers are that intent on setting it up, and of course if former Toontown fanatics are actually motivated enough to jump through the hoops to play on a private re-launch anyway.

That said, this kind of thing is one of the reasons why I think the government needs to force MMOs to be backed by a trust to ensure the perpetual operation of their servers and such. Your already seeing some interesting results when it comes to early MMOs going down and fans trying to keep them running just to continue their hobby... when later gen MMOs start to go down where people have invested hundreds or even thousands of dollars in virtual property, I think we're going to see things get really interesting. Sadly the government probably won't seriously start thinking about this kind of thing until it has already happened and become a huge issue. It will raise some interesting legal vs. moral debates and probably finally cause the rights of media owners and things like what is in some of those EULAs to get the more mainstream scrutiny they deserve. Not to mention the simple fact that with the kind of effort going into things like "Toontown" just to restore it, and the fanaticism that requires, I wouldn't want to be the publisher that costs fanatics like that thousands upon thousands of dollars in virtual property since those are likely to be the guys raging about announced closedowns right up until the lights go off. It makes me wonder if we'll see many video game publishers from the last couple of gens making plans to retire to hidden bunkers buried in the Ozarks. :)

Sure, Disney is well known for being totally cool with this sort of thing. *cough*

Neronium:

DasDestroyer:
Cease and desist in...
I'll be really surprised if Disney just looks the other way.

This is Disney we are talking about sadly. I don't think there is any other company out there that is more protective of their IPs than Disney. Nintendo comes close, but Disney still trumps them.
Hopefully they can look the other way for this...

Considering it's Disney we can thank for the rise of copyright protection's lifetime to protect Mickey Mouse, yeah fair use isn't in their vocabulary. Seriously I'd love to see us non Americans turn around and stand our ground.

Oh. For a moment, I thought they were somehow resurrecting that Disney shorts show from the nineties, then I thought they had shut down the actual Toontown area in Disneyland, and I was all like, "But why would they do such a thing?" Then I realized it's just talking about a game I've never heard of, so now I'm left feeling a little confused.

RicoADF:

Neronium:

DasDestroyer:
Cease and desist in...
I'll be really surprised if Disney just looks the other way.

This is Disney we are talking about sadly. I don't think there is any other company out there that is more protective of their IPs than Disney. Nintendo comes close, but Disney still trumps them.
Hopefully they can look the other way for this...

Considering it's Disney we can thank for the rise of copyright protection's lifetime to protect Mickey Mouse, yeah fair use isn't in their vocabulary. Seriously I'd love to see us non Americans turn around and stand our ground.

As an American, I'd love to see more people around the world fight these ridiculous copyright giants. I've seen too many great fan projects get utterly destroyed by corporations that haven't even acknowledged their IPs in years.*cough* Square Enix.*cough* Nintendo at least turned a blind eye to or hasn't noticed tons of Rom hacks that expand on their old games. (And, Nintendo, if you do start doing anything to them, instead of trying to Cease and Desist them, maybe you should put them on the virtual console(with fan created comment disclaimer) so there would be a reason for me to buy the games that I already have a psychical copies of.) If we can't fight these guys to make a not for profit work based of their IP in this country without risking financial ruin, maybe if the rest of the world says it isn't the end of their cashflow if a few free games come out every now and then they would let up on the legal strong arming everywhere they are trying it.

Props to the fans making this game without even accepting donations to run the servers though. Maybe that won't draw the dragon that is Disney's legal arm to them, as fast.

I really wish there was this much effort put into reviving Dungeon Fighter Online in the west.

Ah, I remember Toontown fondly. Was my first MMO and I got super into it. Collected the posters and cards back maybe 7 or so years ago. It was a shame to see it die, and hopefully it can be remade.

But as other people have said, I don't have high hopes.

When did the servers shut down? I was playing this JUST a few months ago online, hhhhmmm

I hope the redo by the fans is the same game, I LOVED Toon Town

 

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