You might’ve heard of a little game called Minecraft, and the popular craze grandparents like refer to as “your Pokemans.” Back in 2012, the mod Pixelmon combined the two, cultivating a substantial community of dedicated users, modders, Youtubers, and servers over the years.
That all came to an end when The Pokémon Company sent the development team behind the mod an official cease and desist yesterday. Shortly thereafter, lead developer MrMasochism broke the news to his team, then blogged it out to the heartbroken community at large.
“All good things come to an end eventually and now is our time,” he wrote. “I’m sorry for the disappointment this will cause but let’s remember all the great times we had playing Pixelmon, discussing Pokémon, making awesome things inside this mod and everything else that we’ve done.”
Pixelmon accrued thousands upon thousands of downloads over its half decade existence, sparking a litany of Youtube series that garnered millions of views. So a big question left hanging for both the development team and the devastated community is: why now, after so long?
“While we are surprised that such a notice had never hit us earlier over the past 5 years, rumors of an upcoming Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch seem to be a good indicator as of the reason behind such recent action,” Isi, a (now former) administrator at Pixelmon, said in an email. While the request was a straightforward legal document, it seemed clear to Isi that the lawyer, “didn’t fully understand Minecraft or modding, but the message was unmistakable.”
Pixelmon user Daniel Phillips has already started a petition to The Pokémon Company and Nintendo with well over 2,000 signatures as of the writing of this article. “Pixelmon isn’t just another Minecraft mod. It’s been so much more than that,” he wrote, speaking to the friendship and support both he and so many others have found through the community. Phillips even owns a dedicated Pixelmon server named Cherish.
“We feel beaten down, discarded, and pushed around. We feel like something that was such a light of joy, has been stripped away,” Phillips continued. “Please, for the good of an ever growing community and the love it holds, do not shut down Pixelmon. That’s the whole purpose of Pokemon I thought? To let you be a child again?”
“Some of us are sad to see it end, some have a short sigh of relief, some are pretty upset – It’s a pretty mixed reaction and only amplified through the visible community,” Isi said of the development team’s reaction.
There’s a sense among everyone that the Pixelmon community, while just one of hundreds to spring from the umbrella of Minecraft, was special. “We can be very separate from the Minecraft community, with only minimal involvement,” said Isi. “We had our niche, we worked with it the best we could and we really enjoyed ourselves.”
Looking back on some personal favorite creations that have emerged from the small but devoted community, Isi pointed to The Pixelmon soundtrack composed by ZeeCount (MrMasochism’s IRL brother), the Safari Games, and the Side-Mod created by developer and Youtuber GhostWolf.
“We at the Pixelmon team will always be proud of the creation, and appreciative of all the support we’ve received over the years,” Isi said. “While we will no longer develop or distribute the mod, we will be keeping our community together as best we can, and see what the future holds.”
A Minecraft representative we contacted said the company had no comment on the story. The Pokémon Company representative we reached out to did not respond.