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"Video games are meant to be just one thing. Fun. Fun for everyone."

  • It should be stated up front that almost all Game Mods are this by default, since in most countries mods legally can't be sold commercially. If you see a mod that you like, it probably owes its existence to the dedication (and free time) of fans of its parent work.
    • Project M and its successors are the most well-known case in console gaming. Why would fans spend years working (without pay) on such a massive mod of Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Because they love Smash Bros. and its community.
  • The developers that made Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines stayed on for months after the company filed for bankruptcy without pay to release a patch that added a lot of content back into the game and fixed a whole host of bugs.
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  • Black Mesa is a prime example for the modding community. All the effort of an officially licensed game, but entirely free to the community. Everything is polished and well done. The best words to describe it: "A labor of love by fans of Half-Life."
  • The Team ICO Series. Neither ICO nor Shadow of the Colossus sold very well, but Sony continues to fund and support Team ICO because ICO and SOTC were met with universal acclaim from the press and gamers alike. They are considered two of the very best games on the PS2 and any conversation about "games as art" will inevitably include a discussion of these particular examples.
    • Turned Up to Eleven for the The Last Guardian, a game that took an entire decade to complete and unfortunately lead to the effective dismantlement of Team Ico due to Fumito Ueda's uncompromising vision for it. It's amazing that the game even released, and that Sony continued to fund its development all the way though even with the previous games in the series having lackluster sales figures.
  • Telltale Games. They're started to get entrusted with franchises like Wallace & Gromit, Jurassic Park, and Back to the Future because they just love the titles they work on. What Could Have Been had they managed to secure Doctor Who...
    • Telltale also provides an arguably negative example of this trope. Part of the reason they switched from the point-and-click interface to the much-maligned directional arrows found in Escape from Monkey Island and Grim Fandango is because it's very hard to do cinematic angles with the traditional point-and-click. They have worked on ways to incorporate the mouse into the control scheme, but not everyone is happy about it and this has led to accusations of them being more concerned with visuals than with gameplay.
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    • They also get a lot of (perhaps deserved) flack for their puzzles being incredibly simple. It's pretty clear they care more about telling good stories than constructing challenging games. To be fair, they ARE pretty damn good at the former so many are willing to forgive them that.
  • Hideki Kamiya, formerly of Clover Studios and now of PlatinumGames, with this tweet that says it all. If needing an example, Ōkami has often been cited as one of the most beautiful games visually out there.
  • Arc System Works seems to put a quite of attention to their fighting games. Both BlazBlue and Guilty Gear have high resolution 2D sprites with various animation, voice work, music that depends on character matchups. BlazBlue, Guilty Gear Xrd, and Dragon Ball FighterZ deserve mention to the use of 3D technology, as BlazBlue rotoscopes its 2D sprites off of 3D models, while the latter two games use the models, but animate them slightly choppy and custom colored per frame to maintain the old animated sprite look.
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  • Steel Battalion presents a Gone Horribly Right example. Atsushi Inaba and company had to have realized how commercially infeasible such a Hard Core Real Robot simulator would be, requiring a US$200 controller bundle and an original Xbox if you didn't have one already, and the Roguelike approach to saving and death and no pause feature. Unless you unplug the controller. And yet they STILL managed to release it for us to enjoy...
  • Cave Story may not seem all that impressive to big brand name releases like Metroid and Castlevania, but consider this: the entire game, and the "Studio Pixel" responsible for it, consists entirely of one person. Who made all of it. Over the course of 5 years. During the time he graduated and started to work. The kicker? He wasn't even considering working in the game industry, he just did it for fun.
  • azurelazuline, the co-creators of Copy Kitty, have been working on the game for over 6 years, putting in more detail than is perhaps healthy for an indie shooter. Instead of being traditionally drawn, all the sprites have been converted from custom 3d models and scanned to give everything a sterile, precise look with smooth animations. The game's main gimmick that lets you copy up to 3 powers which you can combine to create a fourth unique power is simply staggering in complexity. There's over 175 unique powers, more than a dozen extra upgrades that give an elemental change to your power, every ability has unique and colorful animations, over 172 main levels with an unlockable bonus world, a Hard difficulty that does more than simply ramp up the damage, enemies have completely unique patterns, there's quite a few new types and bosses you've not seen before, lots of extra powers on top of what's already there, an endless mode that generates random enemies and environments, and has a Level Editor for fans to create their own missions. There's a story mode that has a wealth of background lore. In most 2d run and guns, the plots tend to be minimal at best. Here, there's an entire universe created with fleshed out ecologies, planets, alien cultures, and Worldbuilding with enemy bios and in-universe blog postss by the main character, with over a hundred pages of writing. Did you know the main character is part of a race called Kitera that are partially colorblind, live underground in caves, digest gems, and meow as a form of echo location? The environments change depending on what you destroy, grass will light on fire if you use a laser, ice will crystalize the plants, lightning will cause electrical lighting to stutter, and so forth. The vast majority of players won't see any of this as it's a legitimately engaging gameplay experience, but not even Touhou (see below) has this much universe depth. When they put the game on Steam, they could've long since declared the game complete, but they put it on Early Access on a system that's infamous for shovelware and continue to update the game with more content and balancing tweaks to make it as polished as they can.
  • Team Shanghai Alice, which is one guy named "ZUN", made the Touhou Project, a whole series of Shoot Em Ups that has become perhaps the best known among the anime crowd. The one series alone spawned dozens, if not hundreds of doujin circles, creating music, videos, and manga. He's very generous with the copyright as he let's others make whatever they want, provided that they don't call it an "official" work. This may be the reason why he doesn't care so much about commercializing his series. He's even said that while he's pleased people like the games, he's mostly making them for himself, and even if they didn't sell, he'd continue making them anyway.
  • Nintendo says they put their top teams onto their casual video gamesWii Sports and the like. Most developers scoff at such an idea. Those games are inexpensive enough to be almost guaranteed a profit. Nintendo does have potboiler games, but they don't seem to think casual games are potboilers.
    • Given how many other companies have tried and failed to duplicate Nintendo's success with casual video games, this seems to be a case of Much Harder Than It Looks.
  • The Mother series. There's a good reason why only three MOTHER games have ever been made, and why they have such a devoted fanbase. All Shigesato Itoi wanted from this series was the chance to experiment with telling a good story in a new, different medium. All that's likely to bring him back to the series is feeling that he has a new story to tell for it. Actually, this extends to most things Itoi has ever done and the purpose of his current work, the Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun.
    • And then there's the fangame MOTHER 4. Not to be deterred by Itoi's official statement that the MOTHER series is finished, some die hard fans have started work on what seems to be an incredibly professional sequel for no reason other than their passion towards the series. When they became concerned about the possibility of a DMCA (see the Metroid example below), they rebranded it into a brand-new game, while still keeping the spirit of their influence and intending it to be played for free upon completion.
    • The Fan Translation for MOTHER 3. The translation team was very, VERY serious about their work. There were many technical hurdles they felt they might never get around, and they got around them anyway. And it paid off.
  • Victor Ireland of Working Designs was clearly Doing It for the Art. Not everyone liked all of their art, but they put a phenomenal amount of effort into localizing relatively obscure Japanese RPGs, even in the days before Final Fantasy VII brought RPGs into the United States mainstream.
    • Working Designs's staff went out of their way to rewrite Gratuitous English into more natural-sounding English. Furthermore, they lobbied to keep the PS1 port of Ray Crisis 100% intact, right down to a mini-game for an accessory not released in North America.
    • When localizing Magic Knight Rayearth, they had to re-code some of the game from scratch. This delay caused it to be the last Sega Saturn game released in North America, long after the system died. They were also pressured by Tokyo Movie Shinsha to change the names of the heroines. They fought tooth and nail to keep the Japanese names, and it is probably the reason why all future dubs and translations of Rayearth use the Japanese names instead of the "international" ones used in non-English dubs made prior to the game.
  • The Conduit, a FPS for the Wii, started in development without a publisher (meaning they had nobody to actually sell the game to stores yet), because the developers were sick of what they felt was developers shafting the system (they were known for making licensed games for years, but that was more what's known as Paying Their Dues). From the interviews and the extensive soliciting of ideas and feedback, it's clear they were thrilled to finally get to do it for the art.
  • Too Human suffered from this, with years of prolonged development (and the issue that led to the lawsuit over the Unreal 3 Engine) making it one of the most expensive games ever made (8th place as of 2nd of January 2017).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Nintendo delayed the game's release for six months to polish the graphics, when it knew full well that the game was likely to sell well as it was (assuming the graphics were all that was unfinished). In addition, there are tons of areas that the average player is never likely to go near; the "world map" is much, much bigger than they needed to make it.
    • Ocarina of Time was also famously delayed for about a year, including a major overhaul of the plot. When questioned about the delays, Miyamoto responded "Delays are temporary. A bad game is forever." What finally got released is still considered 20 years later to be one the best video games ever made.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is another special case. Miyamoto was focused on having Ocarina of Time Master Quest as the Zelda title for the Nintendo 64DD, but Aonuma was insistent that he be allowed to create a brand new Zelda title in its place. Miyamoto gave him a year to get it accomplished. Aonuma succeeded.
    • Eiji Aonuma, producer of the current Zelda games, stated that he doesn't look at sales when he makes a Zelda game, but rather, how to give a compelling package that provides the players with memorial and compelling experiences, meaning all the Zelda games he worked on fall under this trope.
  • Shantae was released near the extreme end of the Game Boy Color's lifetime (2001), and was put out by the then-unknown WayForward Technologies. The main character was based on random sketches from the creator's wife. The game features crazily detailed and fluid 8-bit animation, using a truly insane number of sprites (in some areas, Shantae is built out of several sprites so she can utilize multiple color palettes), and was done up in classic, "hardcore" Metroidvania format despite its cutesy cover. Did the game sell well? No. Did critics adore it? Yeah! For years, WayForward had been trying to make a sequel, and couldn't find a publisher, so they published it themselves on DSiWare. WayForward have made a name for themselves by doing whatever they felt like doing, their way. For example, they generally make licensed games for other companies in order to stay afloat and earn enough money to afford making their original productions, yet keep in mind that their licensed games should be genuinely enjoyable beyond being a simple marketing product.
  • Though turning a profit after all, Red Dead Redemption according to this:
    "It will take 4 million sales at full price to recoup the development costs of Red Dead. The good news is they [Rockstar] are not expecting to make money with Red Dead Redemption. At this point, that project is just supposed to prove that the San Diego studio can make a great quality AAA title."
  • David Hayter gave up half of his paycheck to get all of the other voice actors back for Metal Gear Solid's remake, The Twin Snakes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima was reported to be a passionate creator who is pretty nitpicky when it comes to his vision and the games' conceptual integrity. For instance, he mercilessly requested revisions of the Sonic CD music until it matched his concept for the game.
    • Similarly, before Nakamura became involved in the development of Sonic 2, Sega of America tried to put a soundtrack produced in-house in the game. After the devs found this one wasn't up to snuff, they opposed SoA, and brought Namakura back on board instead.
    • Sonic's other co-creator Yuji Naka has gone on record to say that he doesn't like working on sequels, preferring to make all-new games in order to keep things fresh and interesting. Despite Sonic's massive success, he had to be coaxed into working in Sonic 2 and 3 & Knuckles, and this was one of the reasons Sonic Team produced various non-Sonic games focused on innovation from the Saturn era onward (most famously the cult classic NiGHTS), only getting back to the series and bringing it into 3D in the late 90s. It also explains why he eventually left Sega to form an independent studio that focused on new IPs.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 scenario writer Shiro Maekawa has gone on record to say that he was heartbroken when scenes had to be cut due to deadlines, to the point he'd willingly have given up an arm in exchange for keeping them.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening was created to be the last game in the Fire Emblem series after stream of lackluster sells. So, they decided to go out with a bang by putting the best features of all the past Fire Emblem games into one package. It ended up being the best selling game in the series to that point and saved the entire franchise, which is now one of Nintendo's game pillars.
  • Billy vs. SNAKEMAN is an anime Affectionate Parody MMORPG almost entirely created by one guy (though some artwork is commissioned from independent artists) whose day job is owning an anime store. The game also has an elaborate backstory (above and beyond what comes with the plots getting parodied), and occasionally parodies some utterly obscure anime.
  • Metal Black was a Shoot 'em Up by Taito. Hiroyuki Maruyama, the president of G.rev, started the company and did subcontracting work for Treasure and Taito to generate revenue just to make a Spiritual Successor called Border Down. Why? He just really liked Metal Black.
  • If the notes in the Mega Man Original Complete Works art book are any indication, it's obvious that Keiji Inafune cared a lot about the Mega Man series. After all, it might not have gone beyond the first game without the dedication of people like him.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Custom Mapping Team Version 3 (usually just called CMT v3 by fans) is a completely fan-made mod for Halo seeking to add the graphics and core mechanics of the newer games (specifically Reach and Halo 4) while maintaining the feel and balance of the first game. V3 is the third iteration and adds fire selection, armor abilities, and graphics on par with Halo 3 (in an engine older than Source and not open at all, no less); Version 2 extended many levels (the second mission, "Halo" went from being roughly forty-five minutes in the vanilla game to nearly two and a half hours due to the shear amount of content added), and Version 1 (the very first serious, complete campaign mod for the game) added lots of new vehicles and weapons while still trying to stay as lore friendly as possible. Despite most of the team's roster quitting multiple times (V2 will remain forever unfinished as a result of this), Act I of V3 was released to much fan fare in 2016, which Act II (the second half of the campaign) scheduled for 2017. In perspective, many actual AAA games don't go through this much developement before release, and none of these modders were paid.
  • Some of the fan-made mods for Civilization IV are hugely detailed with thousands of hours of work going into them. For free. Particular shout out goes to Rise of Mankind, which some have called the real Civilization V, and Fall from Heaven, a dark fantasy mod that takes the basic gameplay elements and changes everything else. Again, they did this all for free and don't even take donations.
  • Spiderweb Software seems to be aiming for this, but getting tripped up by its perpetual financial difficulties. Geneforge is a very unusual series best described as a westernized Shin Megami Tensei, and it's never really sold all that well, but the people who like it like it a lot. Avernum......well, it's a popular series, but apart from its setting Beneath the Earth it's pretty obviously an Ultima clone minus the moral philosophy that made Ultima so different from other Role Playing Games. Even the chief developer seems to have qualms about having made a series where, in his words, you "look around for people who look different from you, break into their homes, kill them, take their stuff, sell it, and use the money to buy better weapons to kill a higher class of people who look different from you." Between 2005 and 2009 it alternated between releasing Avernum and Geneforge sequels, the latter of which became increasingly dark and, to a certain extent, artistic, and the former of which soured on the fans a bit, but still sold far better than Geneforge. (As of this writing, both series have been discontinued in favor of a new IP, Avadon, so it'll be interesting to see whether Spiderweb has finally managed to strike a balance between what the creators want to make and what the masses want to purchase.)
  • As Warren Spector explained in this post-release article, the original Deus Ex was a game he was trying to get off the ground for six years, and was stymied time and time again by publishers who didn't want a "cross-genre" game and a concept that couldn't easily be defined (the game combined elements of an RPG, simulation, FPS and an adventure). With the formation of Ion Storm's Austin branch, Spector finally had the chance to realize his vision, and the end result? Well, the game actively accounts for players trying foolish or, in some cases, counter-intuitive plot choices (ex. going against your employers earlier in the game nets different dialog and more plot information); a massive amount of backstory written by the production team, even for areas the player never visits, was written (some of which was utilized in the sequel, Invisible War); a 500-page design document drafted months before game production even started, and a unified production team that focused on their work in the face of the bad press spiraling out of the Daikatana debacle.
  • In 1997, Looking Glass Studios began work on System Shock 2, the sequel to the 1994 game (which sold decently, but wasn't much of a moneymaker). The team hired for the project only had a year to complete their project, working with an unfinished graphics engine (the Dark Engine, which would be used in the Thief series of games). They had to endure staff walkouts, which arguably made the remaining team members become closer as a result. The game also codified many elements of the action genre in one game—branching character paths, an open-ended gameplay experience, a constantly-changing environment, RPG elements and a extreme infusion of horror—something unheard of at the time. The game ended up being regarded as one of the scariest video games ever made, resulted in critical accolades and awards that continue to this day, received a Spiritual Successor in the form of BioShock and Dead Space, and the creators still release materials related to the game (Ken Levine released design sketches and concept art, while composer Eric Brosius released the entire soundtrack to a fansite) more than a decade later.
    • Even after the game was released for Steam in 2013, the guys at Irrational thought it was about time to add support to Mac and Linux, as well as updating the game to contain extra content free of charge. The content in question was the game's soundtrack, concept art and original pitch, plus some additional documents.
  • After all development for Fallout: New Vegas was officially completed, including the patches and Downloadable Content, project director and lead designer Joshua Sawyer released a mod for the PC version that rebalanced the game and all of its expansions in many respects, making it more challenging overall. Changes included making the necessity meters in Hardcore Mode fill up faster, making healing items rarer and giving them weight, decreasing the rate at which the Player Character gains experience, and altering how much weight could be carried.
    • In a tangentially related instance, during the development of the original Fallout, many members of the QA team worked weekends for free as the game entered crunch, forgoing the extra pay that would come with working offhours and overtime.
  • Skullgirls:
    • The choice of hi-res 2D hand-drawn animations over 3D models was only done because they wanted to, even though it required a much bigger budget from two different publishers, and a gigantic team of animators, colorists, shaders, clean-up artists, line artists, etc. They had to reach several professional artists and animators to achieve this to full effect. The final result is absolutely gorgeous.
    • Even after getting laid off, the dev team created a crowdfunding drive, managing to raise enough funds for five DLC characters, all offered for free for three months after their release. And despite the game's infamous Troubled Production, development for the game still progresses, with patches released frequently and developers communicating with fans. The game has been regularly called a "labor of love", and it shows.
  • Nintendo wanted Rare to cancel GoldenEye (1997) after numerous delays. The choice was made not to inform the development team and allow them to continue working. The game's acclaimed multiplayer was also implemented within a month in secret: the team highly suspected that if they'd told management about it, they'd be forced to cut it from the game to get it out the door faster.
  • After a year of tweaking and a virtually total overhaul of game mechanics, Arcen Games decided they simply couldn't make the core components of A Valley Without Wind fit their vision. Their solution? Start working on the sequel. Oh, and so their paying customers don't get cheated out of what Arcen wanted to give them in the first place, everyone who owns a copy of AVWW with be given the sequel for free, and just so that new players won't be deprived of an entire first attempt that many current players like nonetheless, the first game will come free with the sequel. A blog post on the matter pretty much said it isn't the customer's fault they strayed during the first development process, so they shouldn't be punished for it.
  • Sumo Digital, the creators of (well, most of) the Sega Superstars crossover games. Tennis was meant to be a Sonic-only game, but Sumo managed to convince Sega to use various Sega franchises because they believed the variety would make for a more interesting game. And as their philosophy to recreating some games which haven't been seen in a long time is "what you remember most about them", this results in a TON of fanservice and attention to detail. It helps they're essentially Promoted fanboys of Sega. While they admit they do keep turning a profit in mind, they mainly consider what franchises can bring to the table to create a fun and memorable game.
    • And both fans and Sega have been impressed by their passion; it was reported that when the team showed their recreation track of Skies of Arcadia in Transformed to the game's original producer, she came close to tears due to how faithful and nostalgic the result was. They've even admitted if this convinces Sega to revive some of their games, they won't be complaining.
  • The creator of L.A. Noire was certainly convinced that it was his masterpiece. The work put into the game definitely shows, and the developers looked through thousands of photos of 1940's L.A. in order for it to be accurate. The open-world gameplay, from the L.A. landmarks to vehicles, was probably intended to show off their work. Most of said landmarks aren't even an integral part of the core storyline, but are re-created in loving detail. One example is how one player found his great grandfather's restaurant, a local landmark, accurately recreated in game. The developing team also utilized cutting-edge technology in order to recreate realistic facial expressions so as to enhance gameplay. Most inaccuracies found in game are actually done for Rule of Cool.
  • When Toys For Bob were creating Star Control 2, their bosses originally wanted to shove the game out the door still woefully incomplete to meet budget guidelines. The developers instead spent 6 months of unpaid work using their own resources to ensure the game would be properly complete.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was essentially born out of Sanzaru's want to make a new Sly game. They even went behind Sony's back and developed a demo of the game without their permission, putting their jobs on the line, only with a hope that Sony would greenlight the project. Luckily, they did.
  • SWERY, creator of Deadly Premonition, probably deserves an award for putting so much work into what most developers would consider a simple budget title. Like Remedy, Sweary and co. flew to Washington to gather research for the world of Greenvale. The game is filled with a lot of detail too, mostly with the citizens' schedules. For example, the sinner's sandwich scene is completely optional. When you beat the game once, you get to view a gallery filled with pictures they took while in Washington. Since food plays a big role in the game, one entire sub-gallery is nothing but Food Porn.
  • Beyond Good & Evil was in development for nearly six years, because creator Michel Ancel wanted to get every aspect of it completely right. The game features an astoundingly detailed world, from a sky filled with fake constellations (which your camera will name for you) to the fact that the protagonist already has established relationships with most of the casual NPCs in the game, and even though they're just there for a few throwaway lines of dialogue, she chats them up like old friends. The game's music was also a notorious labor of love, with the composer recruiting his friends and family members to record vocals and sound effects for the game's eclectic tracks. Eight years after its initial release, when the game was released in HD, Jade's voice actress even reprized her role just for a new trailer, as if to prove it was the real deal.
  • A majority of homebrew games for old systems count as this, considering the amount of effort required to program a brand new game for an outdated system and release it as a real cartridge that will almost certainly only be bought and played by a handful of people in the end.
  • The primary motivation behind the creation of Xenoblade Chronicles was to create a masterpiece. The fact that the game was critically acclaimed proved their success.
    • The same was done with Xenoblade Chronicles X. Monolith Soft wanted to cut features from the game so it could released sooner. Nintendo wouldn't let them and told them to take their time.
  • Takashi, the producer of the Senran Kagura series, has made many statements that indicate that this is the reason he makes the games he does. Even if his works put off some people or don't make back much money, as long as there are fans who enjoy what he makes, he's happy with what he's doing.
  • Yoko Taro sees no point in merely copying what mainstream JRPGs have been doing for the last 3 decades, and thus opts to make his games as different from them as possible and attempts to create JRPGs geared for older JRPG players, even if it means that his games end up being niche titles with comparatively small budgets. What's even more remarkable is that after NieR sold modestly well in Japan but ended up being a bomb stateside, Square Enix became aware of its cult status and liked the game so much themselves that they not only funded another entry in the Drakengard franchise, they also gave the go-ahead to a sequel to NieR itself... with some of the absolute best talent in the Japanese industry, including staff from PlatinumGames (of Metal Gear Rising fame) and Akihiko Yoshida, the character designer for Bravely Default and Final Fantasy XIV. All of this to make a sequel to a niche game that lost them money. Even Yoko himself thinks Square Enix must have been insane to greenlight the project.
  • Tarn "Toady One" Adams is the sole developer (his brother Zach helps plan and design gameplay elements) of Dwarf Fortress, an insanely complicated and detailed sim game. It attempts to realistically simulate, among other things, the effects of hand-to-hand combat on individual layers of skin. In an interview with the New York Times, he described it as his "life's work" and that it's entirely likely that it could be a full twenty years from now before he releases what he would consider v1.0. He has reportedly turned down six- and seven-figure deals to license just the name because he doesn't want it to detract from his creation.
    • One joke on the Bay 12 forums held that Toady wouldn't be done with the game until it represented a perfect simulation of reality down to the quantum level. The next response to that involved dwarven nukes. The Bay 12 Forums are a fun place.
    • In 2019, Toady announced that due to family medical issues Dwarf Fortress would be coming to Steam and Itch.io as a way to support him, in exchange for a better UI and a default graphics and music set. However, it will derive all its features from the free version, which will continue to be developed.
  • Another Metroid 2 Remake is a Fan Remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, which was done by one person (along with a few other people that chimed in to help when he asked) and it took 10 years to make, starting in 2006 and finishing in 2016. All the areas from the game were recreated and modified to bring up to remake standards with a rich color palette and new areas added to the game to have players explore uncharted territory. Enemies have their own unique animations and attacks and even Samus herself has a handful of idling animations, something that is usually never made in the official games. Even the game's hard mode is given extra detail by giving enemies new movement and attack patterns rather than simply buffing up their health and damage output only like most games would do. The game also uses scanning enemies and areas for lore like the Metroid Prime Trilogy, which adds details and mysteries to a game that originally had nothing more than "soldiers disappeared on this planet, go there and kill all the Metroids". Nintendo would issue a DMCA on the project once it was finished, leaving it a case of keep circulating the torrents. The developer harbors no ill will towards Nintendo and was just happy to finish his project while also stating to his fans that they shouldn't hate Nintendo and should support the Metroid franchise by purchasing the original Metroid II (and later, the company's own official 2017 remake on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. This is all from one fan who simply loves the Metroid series and wanted to give an underrated game and the series as a whole some love. Oh, and finding Metroid fans who think the fan remake greatly surpasses Nintendo's own attempt is far from uncommon.
  • 0 A.D. was originally conceived as a mod for Age of Kings but the development team, Wildfire Games, soon realized that that wouldn't cut it. Since 2003, Wildfire Games has been using their own made-from-scratch engine to run the game and have gone to enormous lengths to make the historical cultures represented in it as accurate as possible, which resulted in various generic civilizations like just "Hellenes" and "Celts" being split into several more specific factions. For almost any other real-time strategy series—including the one that inspired it—it would've been enough to just have "Greeks," but 0 A.D. goes above and beyond by splitting them into Athenians, Spartans, and Macedonians, (who were themselves split into several other factions based on successor states) with fan-proposals for others like the Thebans and Syracusans. On top of all that, 0 A.D. is free-to-download and open-source. You don't get much more passionate than that!
  • The Game Mod Rise of the Reds for Command & Conquer: Generals Zero:Hour is this, since as mentioned at the start of the page, it cannot be legally sold. Yet the team makes a big effort when it comes to 3d models, voice overs, story updates and balance testing, all in their free time because they want people to enjoy it. Their other mods have the same dedication behind them. Also, sometimes the team leader The_Hunter streams his work and everyone who watches the streams agrees that he clearly loves doing what he does, otherwise he would not put nearly as much thought and detail into the product.
  • Downfall (2009) could be described as a game made by two guys who asked a few friends for help. Remigiusz Michalski created the game almost entirely alone and then had Jesse Gunn/Warmer speak the main character and make the soundtrack. While the team size increased, The Cat Lady and the Downfall remake were still mostly created by just those two people. And while the latter two are sold on Steam, the original Downfall is even Freeware.
  • 2019 indie horror game DARQ was mostly created by a single developer, Wlad Marhulets, who knew nothing about game creation before he decided to make the game and had to learn everything about coding and 3D modeling from scratch. It attracted a lot of attention and became one of the most-anticipated upcoming releases on Steam. This led to Wlad receiving an offer of a considerable sum of money from Epic Games to sell the game exclusively from their much-maligned Epic Games Store (an offer which many publishers of other highly-anticipated games had accepted, prompting great backlash), which Wlad politely turned down as he'd given his word the game would have a Steam release and thought the exclusivity was a bad thing, gaining him considerable support. After DARQ was released, it was generally well-received, with the biggest criticism being that it was too short. In response, Wlad began work on a series of free expansions for the game, because his only concern is making DARQ the best gaming experience it can be.
  • The Last Stand update for Left 4 Dead 2 was made by fans that simply loved the game and wanted to not only make the Last Stand an official Left 4 Dead 2 survival map (it was originally exclusive to the first Left 4 Dead and was the only map to not be ported over to the sequel), but also making it as a two map campaign that can be played outside of Survival mode. The update also included two new melee weapons (pitchfork and shovel) and a slew of quality of life updates that originated from fan mods. The whole update was done with Valve's blessing.
  • Phigros is absolutely free of charge with all songs legitimately sourced, a rarity for Rhythm Games since rhythm games rely mainly on licensed and commissioned music to exist, both methods of which usually cost money since the musicians understandably want to get paid for the use of their songs.note  There aren't any in-app purchases hidden behind a technically-true "free to download" designation or even advertisements! In fact, this trope is enforced as some of the song contracts, such as that of the song "Aleph-0", mandate that the game remain a non-profit project, which is an example of this trope in and of itself on the composer LeaF's part.
  • Due to its status as a Fan Game, the creators of Power Bomberman can't make any money off of the game, instead doing it out of geniuine love and adoration for the series it's based on.

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