A player-ran build of Toontown Online intends to launch after Disney shut their servers down. Players mourn the loss of the 10 year-old game and their characters over social media. Copyrighted material is at the heart of the situation.
Getting the word out
An hour after Toontown Online’s servers were pulled down, reddit user alex_newtron posted a declaration of a new server. The publishing process will take some time, the alpha test was announced to start “within a week”.
Reddit and tumblr users are trying to get hands on alpha test passwords. The password is required to set up an account on Toontown Rewritten. On the thread posted by alex_newtron, 12 comments requesting an alpha code fall blow the zero karma score. While the FAQ states, “We have already started giving out Alpha Keys, which you can learn about in another question,” no explanation is listed.
Toontown Rewritten’s FAQ acknowledges the legal implications of borrowing and distributing this software. The approach is ethical: Toontown is currently abandonware, no one is going to make money from users playing it, and so it shouldn’t break the law.
The server space the game will run on is being provided by Toonbook, a social network platform targeted at Toontown players. The claim made on the FAQ is that Toontown doesn’t require a lot of server space and maintaining it won’t be very expensive. Toonbook is ran on donations.
When launching Toontown Rewritten, users will have to create their toons from scratch. Older toons will not be able to transfer over. Reddit user PwnerJohn, tagged as “Developer” in the official subreddit, stated, “We’re doing a fresh start (hence rewritten).“
Individuals who were strongly attached to their toon customizations can store a back-up of their information on the site Toons Unite. After uploading their toon specs, users can share with one another.