Shady Details That Will Make You Look At Sega Differently

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Look, Batman, Spider-Man, Rambo, Godzilla, and the Terminator are all awesome characters, and seeing them all in a single-game would be great. Thanks to rights issues, however, it'll never happen — at least, not officially. Unofficially, though, Sega's already gone ahead and tossed them all (and a few others) into a single title. After all, as we've seen, if Sega wants to do something they're not going to let pesky things like "laws" get in the way.

Back in the day, the side-scrolling Genesis title Revenge of Shinobi was famous for its demanding platforming and unforgiving difficulty, but it's probably best known these days as an example of blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement. As director Noriyoshi Ohba explains, the team wanted to make an action game that felt "like a Hollywood action film," and Ohba based some quick enemy designs on popular characters. Unfortunately, Shinobi's main artist didn't realize that Ohba's sketches were supposed to be guidelines, not rules. The end result was a game filled with other people's characters, one that Sega decided to go ahead and release anyway. "Back then, copyright wasn't as strictly enforced," Ohba admits.

Except that it was enforced, and over time, Sega was forced to put out five different versions of Revenge of Shinobi to keep the lawyers at bay. Godzilla became a skeleton. Batman became a demon. Spider-Man stayed intact for a while (Sega actually had the rights to put that character in a game), but Sega had to add Marvel's copyright information to the game's credits, and he was eventually replaced by a pink doppelganger anyway. 

Look, watching a ninja fight all of those guys is pretty cool, but copyrights exist for a reason. You can't just ignore them, even if — especially if — you're Sega.

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