The Pokémon Company has shut down a fan-made mod for Minecraft that introduced hundreds of the iconic pocket monsters to Mojang's enormously popular block-based exploration and creation game.

Released in 2012, Pixelmon allowed users to craft Pokéballs and capture critters from the first three generations of Pokémon. The Pixelmon team was in the process of adding more Pokémon from the fourth, fifth and sixth generations.

Players could also battle, trade and breed Pokémon in the game.

In a forum post, Pixelmon creator 'MrMasochism' said: "It's been a great ride. With much sadness, but keeping all our fond memories, we must announce that Pixelmon is ending its development.

"We have had a great time making this mod and creating such a wonderful community but after a request from The Pokémon Company we will be shutting our doors.

"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."

Links to download the mod have already been removed.

"All good things come to an end eventually and now is our time. However there are always more things to do, to be a part of and to enjoy. Keep going out there to find fun projects to be a part of and other great things to invest your time and enthusiasm into."

Comments from fans of the mod were full of thanks for the Pixelmon team. "It was great while it lasted," said one.

"I'm sad to see development stop, but thanks for all of your hard work," said another. "It's been incredible fun all these years!"