In retrospect, how did we not see all the signs? Take a moment to think back to June 2010. colour_thief reported an innocuous update about the status of TGM4. No problem, right? They just released Sega Dekaris, so it isn't surprising that they'd want to space out the release of another Tetris game as to not compete with themselves. A month later we hear more of the same: "The latest news is Mihara says we should be asking Sega when it's coming out, not Arika." Again, no real cause for concern; it took a good while for TGM3 to come out too, right? One must not rush perfection! However, not everyone was anxiety free. I recall Kevin quoting machine translation of another Mihara blog post, "the news about TGM is that there is no news" as cause for his concern. How could it be that there was nothing to report after all this time if production was in fact going smoothly? Come September, the grim truth was confirmed: TGM4 had been cancelled. According to Mihara, "because there's not enough leeway in time to clean up overseas clones, TGM4 will not be released (Oh well, here is one of the reasons). It's been one year already since that predicament, yet it's still not published. It seems impossible, doesn't it?" The general consensus was that Mihara must have been referring to a restriction imposed by The Tetris Company due to player-developed clones of TGM series games. It had happened once before, right? There was still the possibility that it had something to do with Sega (or even Arika themselves), but at the time it seemed like a decision handed down by The Tetris Company was the most likely cause. It seemed like a reasonable interpretation, but perhaps we should have known better. Perhaps we should have thought more of it when the comments of Meroigo and others -- comments saying that clones are just how people without access to TGM made do, and that we'd gladly pay to play the games they love so much -- were met with derision from Mihara. It seemed so easy at the time to write it off as Mihara airing frustrations with TTC's supposed decision. On September 19th, 2010, I wrote the following e-mail to Henk Rogers, the CEO of The Tetris Company, hoping he could shed some light on the events leading up to TGM4's cancellation: In the meantime, however, we were left with only the understanding that any decisions regarding TGM4's cancellation must have been influenced by the presence of clones. In desperation, an experiment was proposed: if clones were really the root of the problem, would putting a hold on fan game discussion have any effect on TGM4's cancellation? Although the chances of effecting any change were slim, it didn't have to be permanent. The Powers That Be couldn't say we didn't at least try to work with them on this one, and we could always reverse the decision if necessary. Well, look where we are now. On September 23rd, 2010, colour_thief announced that Tetris Concept no longer condoned the discussion of clones. While I don't think anyone was particularly happy with the idea, the sheer volume of the outrage expressed at the decision was far greater than expected. What you may not know is that an email was sent to Mihara the next day (signed "The Tetrisconcept administration") that announced the clone ban and informally requested a reply: However, no reply was received. It probably should have ended right there. One one hand, if it were to have any effect on the status of TGM4, we would have to give it some time. On the other, if such a significant portion of the community could not abide by the decision, then the harm done outweighed whatever slim hope there was for any good to come out of it. On September 26th, I received a reply from Henk Rogers: This was worrying. "Nothing to do with TTC?" Could that really be true? If the cause of TGM4's cancellation was not, in fact, penalties doled out by TTC due to the presence of clones, then why was it such a big point of contention with Mihara? Would Sega really drop the game on account of fan games, or was this just Mihara taking an opportunity to air his distaste for cloning? Whatever the case may be, Mihara was clearly unimpressed with the efforts. Despite having been sent a translated statement regarding the cessation of clone discussion on TC, he had not given as much as a sentence in response. He was completely silent on the matter until I sent him a simple tweet in celebration of my TGM1 sub-10 performance: "We love TGM! http://twitpic.com/30os5l" His reply was less than grateful: "If you love TGM, stop playing clones. And, if you know the clones are troublesome, then why are they still on your YouTube and other video sites?" (For the record, I had removed my TGM videos for some time after the initial clone ban announcement and brought them back about a month into the whole ordeal. I removed them again after this Twitter exchange as a gesture, but now... well, frankly, fuck that.) About two weeks ago, he made another blog post regarding the status of TGM. "The Clone Wars doesn't seem to be ending, so while it hasn't ended, the new TGM is put on ice. That's too bad, it's a pity, and so on. At least Eddy-san and Henk-san is really feeling that way (that it's a pity). In other words, all the people playing clones are, from my point of view, enemies (lol)." And yet still, he had not e-mailed any sort of formal response back to TetrisConcept, despite being prompted via Twitter if he had received the e-mail and could respond on the matter. At any rate, on November 19th, I tried to follow-up with Henk about the situation with TGM4: On November 28th, I received this reply: When you have all the facts laid out, it really makes a lot of sense. Sega was reportedly the cause of the delay from the start, and they have confirmed to be the cause of the cancellation now. Henk Rogers has been helpful and told us all that he knew throughout the ordeal, whereas Mihara has hardly spared us a word. Even if the clones were the cause of the decision to drop the game, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference if Mihara won't respond on the matter. So, there you have it. The clone ban has dragged on for far too long, but it is with great relief that I announce that it is now officially over. On behalf of Tetris Concept, I would like to apologize for its continuation despite the outcry; I can safely say we'll never impose a decision like this ever again. I hope those that have sworn off TC can find it in themselves to forgive this mistake.