Report: Nintendo of America Clamps Down on Review Copies Following Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga Leak

Smaller outlets and video influencers have been hit hardest, with copies of Super Mario Odyssey up in the air.

News by Matt Kim, .

Last month, a copy of the Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga and Bowser's Minions remake for the 3DS leaked online several weeks ahead of its official release date. Now, multiple sources who work with Nintendo to produce content have agreed to speak under conditions of anonymity, and have come forward claiming Nintendo of America has changed its internal review process. Nintendo is now reportedly clamping down on which outlets and video influencers will receive advance copies for reviews and video content, with video influencers and smaller outlets being hit hardest by the policy changes.

On September 21, a post on the r/3DSPiracy Subreddit announced that a version of the Superstar Saga remake leaked on the 4chan message board and ISO sites, with pirates claiming that the version of the game is legitimate.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, which leaked in September.

In the following days, posts about the leaked copy began appearing on other subreddits and forums like GameFaqs with warnings about potential spoilers, or worse a ban from Nintendo services if pirates decide to play the game with wi-fi turned on.

While pirates enjoyed the leaked version of the new Mario and Luigi RPG weeks ahead of the official release, Nintendo of America quietly responded to the leak by tightening its reviews process. Multiple sources claimed that this was in deliberate response to the Mario and Luigi leak with one anonymous source telling USGamer:

"After the leak of Mario & Luigi, done by an influencer, [Nintendo of America] flipped out and changed their review policy. Plenty of outlets and influencers are without [Fire Emblem Warriors] and [Super Mario Odyssey]... Apparently, it will be [sent out] in tiers, but [I'm] not sure how they are set up."

They noted that the move from Nintendo of America feels a little drastic considering, as they claim, "Nintendo knows who did it," referring to the leaker. "[Nintendo] downloaded the leaked [ROM], checked the files and found the 3DS serial attached." They say it's a shame that Nintendo has decided to punish more than just those responsible.

Another source who works with Nintendo as an influencer also reached out to USGamer saying that the review situation surrounding games like Fire Emblem Warriors and Super Mario Odyssey after the Mario and Luigi leak feel different from their previous interactions with the company. "Normally review copies are out anywhere from [two] weeks out or within several days of release... I was expecting Mario Odyssey to be a given, for getting a review copy and being able to produce/prepare a bunch of content for launch day, now it looks like we'll be starting on it when the public has access to it as well."

They add that some colleagues of theirs "haven't received anything either, and that "lot of people are not sure what to think or do in regards to their content for the upcoming games."

Several outlets in North America are without copies of Fire Emblem Warriors

"I know 100 [percent] Europe has had [Super Mario Odyssey and Fire Emblem Warriors] for days... I also know no [North American] outlet has [Fire Emblem Warriors] and I'm pretty sure very few have gotten word on Odyssey," said a third source who produces content of Nintendo games.

While the critics on Twitter who are teasing their Fire Emblem Warriors reviews for the Nintendo Switch primarily work for outlets based in the UK, one reviewer has said that their review of the game will appear on GameSpot in the next several days, suggesting that one established outlets hasn't been affected by the policy change. However, at least one major outlet has said that they have yet to receive either Mario Odyssey or Fire Emblem Warriors.

The hushed rumors of Nintendo's changed review policies have several video influencers and smaller review outlets worried as the holiday season approaches, as much of their coverage will be dedicated to big Nintendo releases like Super Mario Odyssey. Some have expressed frustration that they are paying for the consequences of the mistake of a lone or small group of individuals.

This could also explain why talk about Fire Emblem: Warriors has been unusually quiet, even as the game is set to release this week on October 20. As one of the bigger Nintendo Switch and 3DS titles for Nintendo's 2017 holiday season, this feels highly peculiar.

Will influencers and sites dedicated to Nintendo miss out on the company's biggest holiday release?

Also, it should be noted that according to these sources, this is a strictly a change in policy for Nintendo of America. Nintendo of Europe appears to be working under similar review processes as before.

Either way, while traditional media outlets have often had to contend with each individual video game company's review policies, Nintendo of America's latest move appears to affect small YouTubers, in a major blow to the influencer community.

We've reached out to Nintendo of America for comment and will update the story as more details emerge.

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Comments 21

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  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #1 Vodka-Tonic A year ago
    NoA has adopted the brilliant, "Nuke the entire site from orbit-- just to be sure," approach.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #2 KaiserWarrior A year ago
    Nintendo swinging a giant, spiked club when a precision needle was more appropriate? Who'd have thought?

    And yet these "influencers" keep supporting the company. They've supported it through every boneheaded, intensely customer-unfriendly thing that it's done.

    Hope those views are worth selling out your dignity and dealing with all this frustration. There's a solution to this problem, and it is not to just keep on keeping on, sniveling at the foot of Mario's bed even while he kicks you repeatedly with spiked boots.
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  • Avatar for RushDawg #3 RushDawg A year ago
    Is it fair to assume that "influencer" means YouTuber?
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #4 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    So does this mean they DON'T know for sure who is doing this in responce? You'd think a lawsuit would have a better chilling effect.
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  • Avatar for strongbadsings #5 strongbadsings A year ago
    @KaiserWarrior Yeah, the solution is not to leak the games that were given with the trust that they wouldn't be ripped and posted all over the internet.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #6 Kat.Bailey A year ago
  • Avatar for DestinyDecade #7 DestinyDecade A year ago
    As someone who is a brand ambassador, this is upsetting. Absolutely upsetting. Whoever did it really messed up big time.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #8 Kuni-Nino A year ago
    NoA is probably overreacting but I only really care about this if USGamer doesn't get any copies. I could care less about the other sites and "influencers".
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #9 KaiserWarrior A year ago
    @strongbadsings Tell that to all the people that didn't do that that Nintendo has hit with this policy anyway. That's sort of the entire point of the article -- one person, whom Nintendo has identified, leaked the game, and yet the company is taking it out on far more than one person.
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  • Avatar for fstim82 #10 fstim82 A year ago
    Hopefully larger, professional outlets won't be affected. There's plenty of a-holes in America, and a few of them were bound to have Youtube channels. Much as it sucks, it's probably a wise move on Nintendo's part, if just to avoid early piracy.
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  • Avatar for shurn #11 shurn A year ago
    Sending a message huh? Does Nintendo give review codes out or physical copies, I'm assuming codes if they know who the culprit is. I wonder if it was a steam key scammer like situation but instead of reselling they just want free games and internet fame.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #12 Tetragrammaton A year ago
    @KaiserWarrior Do we know that Nintendo knows who did it or is that the grapevine talking? Could also be they want more direct control. Could also be they DON'T know who did it and are going into lockdown ....but I can absolutely see NoA looking at the creator program and saying "This is less useful than we thought" and taking an axe to it. Here's a perfect excuse.
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  • Avatar for saturn500 #13 saturn500 A year ago
    @KaiserWarrior Do you smug pricks EVER stop being so obnoxious?! Go back under your bridge, geez.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #14 VotesForCows A year ago
    @Kat.Bailey Is USG getting an early copy of Odyssey?
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  • Avatar for yoPowerTime #15 yoPowerTime A year ago
    I don't think Nintendo is being irrational here at all. If a single let's say Chipotle restaurant had a health issue, like poorly prepared meat that got hundreds of people sick, I would expect Chipotle corporate to assess the incident and potentially change policy at all their franchise locations. Tighter policy would further prevent that from happening again, despite the fact that maybe it was one careless teenage employee that made the mistake. The cost might outweigh the benefits.

    Nintendo is still a very conservative company, so I'd expect them to protect their top assets- their games. It'd be one thing if reviews and details leaked early, but here we're talking about pirated games. It's a bummer, but I get it.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #16 NiceGuyNeon A year ago
    The measure might seem drastic, but they're protecting their property. It sends a message to everyone that they aim to deter this conduct and it does so in a timely manner.

    I know people are mentioning things like lawsuits or "precision strikes" but that takes time (sometimes years), resources, and legal fees, and might not even go in their favor depending on evidence presented. This way they send a timely message to everyone at no major cost to them. This is a plan that makes sense. It might not be the best plan, but it's a plan they should feel justified in enacting anyway (you know, because it's their game).

    Unfortunately, for people who wait for reviews from certain sites, it means waiting a few days to read a review. Suck it up, you'll live.
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  • Avatar for jago81 #17 jago81 A year ago
    @KaiserWarrior My god. Relax. Notice how not once you put any blame on the idiot pirate? What is Nintendo supposed to do? Trust people on Youtube? YOUTUBE. They are 65% of the time attention whores who will do anything for "smash that subscribe button!!!!!!!!!" crap. The whole idea of regular people getting early copies is fairly new in the industry. And a lot of major releases have issues because of this. You talk of dignity but didn't bother to talk about Youtuber's lack of it. If idiots weren't idiots, we wouldn't be here. Stop stealing shit.Edited October 2017 by jago81
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  • Avatar for Lane #18 Lane A year ago
    @yoPowerTime Exactly. I'm not sure why the concept of "one person ruins it for everyone" is so unusual for some.

    Nintendo has a long history of disliking YouTube, but they eventually decided to test the waters. Now, they've gotten burned and are tightening the reins again. Which is well within their rights. Reviewers or "influencers" aren't owed a damn thing.


    On a separate note... The 3DS was cracked wide open years ago, which makes those games easy targets for pirating. They really need to learn how to harden their systems better.Edited 3 times. Last edited October 2017 by Lane
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  • Avatar for TernBird #19 TernBird A year ago
    @yoPowerTime Yeah, this is in line with how Nintendo drops the hammer on unlicensed fan games.

    This isn't unfair of them so much as it's just them protecting their IP.

    As for youtube inlfuencers? Well, I regret that their income has taken a hit, I really do--but really, I don't depend on Youtubers for reviews when there are writers like Kat Bailey or Nadia Oxford around. I don't need Furious Fred raving about the ethicality of Peach's cleavage or whatever when there are reviewers who, y'know, actually critique the game.
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  • Avatar for SingingBrakeman #20 SingingBrakeman A year ago
    This is very disappointing. It's hard to imagine this not resulting in slower sales for the company, given that many folks (myself included) wait for the press on a game ahead of purchasing it. After the crummy stuff that Bethesda's been doing with review copies, I'm sorry to see my favorite developer moving in the same direction.
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  • Avatar for SingingBrakeman #21 SingingBrakeman A year ago
    @jago81 I think it's fair to blame the pirate and the company that responded badly. The press and, eventually, the consumer will be victims of both, since it slows the pipeline of review content. The pirate was a jerk, and Nintendo responded badly.
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