Lucasfilm has effectively shut down an ambitious fan remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
“It’s with a great sadness that I’m posting today; I recently received a letter from Lucasfilm instructing Poem to end production on Apeiron,” said project lead and Poem Studios member, Taylor Trotter. “I recently received a letter from Lucasfilm instructing Poem [Studios, the team behind the remake] to end production on Apeiron. After a few days, I’ve exhausted my options to keep it afloat; we knew this day was a possibility. I’m sorry and may the Force be with you.”
Trotter posted a copy of the letter Lucasfilm sent him. For a cease and desist letter, it was actually quite polite. The Lucasfilm representative noted “Poem Studios’ affection and enthusiasm for the Star Wars franchise and the original KOTOR game” before noting that Lucasfilm “must object to any unlicensed use of Lucasfilm intellectual property.” Effectively, it sounds like they are saying that they’re not spiritually opposed to this project, but they do have to adhere to a legal precedent when it comes to these kinds of things.
Let’s get one thing out of the way now: this remake was shaping up to be incredible. The footage of the game we’ve seen thus far highlighted the project’s brilliant visuals (it was being made in the Unreal 4 engine) as well as how modern technology can help smoothe some of the original game’s rough edges. We would have loved to play the final version of this game.
From a legal standpoint, you could argue that this project’s creators could have battled this notice in court. There is no shortage of Star Wars fan projects/mods out there, and many of them are allowed to be completed and eventually prosper. The Apeiron team could have argued that such precedents apply to their project, but the costs of such a legal battle were likely too great.
So why did Lucasarts go after this particular project? We’d like to believe it’s because they might be interested in producing an official KOTOR remake/remaster. It’s much more likely, though, that this has something to do with preserving the possibility of such a project or simply just preventing anyone else from working on KOTOR while The Old Republic MMO is still technically active.
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Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.