Star Wars: KOTOR Fan Remake Shutting Down After Cease And Desist From Lucasfilm

Illustration for article titled iStar Wars: KOTOR/i Fan Remake Shutting Down After Cease And Desist From Lucasfilmem/em
Image: Apeiron

Back in 2016, an ambitious group of fans began work on an Unreal Engine 4 “reboot” of role-playing, light-sabering classic Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic called Apeiron. The project has made impressive progress since then, but it emitted a tragic Wilhelm scream this week when Lucasfilm lawyers zapped it out of existence.

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As is often the case with ambitious fan projects, Apeiron received a cease-and-desist letter from lawyers representing the series its team was trying to pay homage to. Apeiron’s developer, Poem Studios, took to Twitter to share the news. “After a few days, I’ve exhausted my options to keep it [Apeiron] afloat; we knew this day was a possibility. I’m sorry and may the force be with you,” Poem wrote alongside a screenshot of a letter purporting to be from Lucasfilm.

“Notwithstanding Poem Studios affection and enthusiasm for the Star Wars franchise and the original KOTOR game, we must object to any unlicensed use of Lucasfilm intellectual property,” reads Lucasfilm’s letter. It goes on to call Apeiron’s use of Star Wars characters, artwork, and images on its website and social media “infringing” and demands that 1) Star Wars materials are removed, 2) the Apeiron team ceases development and destroys its code, and 3) they don’t use any Lucasfilm properties in future games.

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Fans have suggested that since Poem has defined Apeiron as a total conversion mod—despite running in a new engine, it would’ve apparently required the original version of KOTOR to be installed on players’ machines in order for it to function—the fan studio could theoretically battle back against Lucasfilm’s demands in court. And while project lead Taylor Trotter believes he might have a shot, this isn’t the kind of empire a scrappy team of rebels can realistically topple.

“The legal fight would take most likely a year(s) and cost around 100k,” Trotter said in the project’s Discord. “It’s been our internal policy to end production in this scenario.” 

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

whee234whoo
WhoDatNinja

Fair use has its limits. Parody has its limits. And so on. This breaks all the laws that protect copyright, free or not, requiring the original game or not. Pretty simple.

Show a competent prototype to those that own the license (or in this case has temporary exclusive rights to it) of your favorite game. Pitch your pitch, even beg for at least a kickstarter attempt Ala Shenmue III.

If that doesn’t work, oh well. You’re out of legal options and just MAYBE! should consider making a successor that takes the spirit of the originals just without the explicit licensing. Star Wars is a martial Arts Magic Show, at its heart. Pretty easy to get that spirit while not using lightsabers or “the force”.

The extra bonus of that is, of course, YOU CAN ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY OFF YOUR HOBBY THEN.