Fan-Made KOTOR Reboot Shut Down By LucasFilm

A couple of years ago, a group of dedicated fans announced that they were giving Knights of the Old Republic a remake in Unreal Engine 4. Two years on, the Apeiron project has been shut down after the developers received a cease and desist from LucasFilm.

Knights Of The Old Republic Gets Unreal (Engine 4)

It would have been interesting to see how far this progressed when Disney wasn't in control of the Star Wars universe. Either way, that hasn't stopped a group of fans from trying to rebuild one of the most iconic RPGs of all time — and perhaps Bioware's finest work — in Unreal Engine 4.

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The letter from Rhonda T. Hjort, deputy chief counsel at LucasFilm, was posted on Twitter by the Aperion developers. It's largely your typical C&D letter from a lawyer, although there is at least some acknowledgement of the passion behind the project.

The fact that the KOTOR logo is front and centre on the Aperion probably didn't help, although there's no guarantee that Lucasfilm/Lucasarts wouldn't have taken action anyway. There's not much wiggle room when it comes to defending copyright and IP in the United States, and the Apeiron devs noted themselves that "we knew this day was a possibility".

Apeiron was pitched as a total conversion that required the purchase of the original KOTOR. The developers pledged to add extra features beyond giving KOTOR a UE4-inspired coat of paint, including first-person cameras, more customisation options, an overhauled inventory system, while maintaining the game's original spirit.

For fans who have been begging for some kind of KOTOR revival - particularly given the last few Bioware games, which have drifted further and further away from the more traditional RPG upbringings - it's saddening news. It's not unexpected, mind you. But it also highlights the very real risk that modders take when embarking on grand projects like this: if you don't own the IP, and you don't acquire prior approval, it's very possible that years of work can be shut down in a single email.


Comments

    Given how frequently (and predictably) this kind of thing seems to happen, I find it kind of baffling that people even undertake these projects, knowing that they'll almost certainly get shut down.

    It seems that if you want to do this kind of thing, you'd be better off not announcing it until it's already finished and released. At least that way, by the time the C&D letter arrives and you have to take it down, it's already out in the wild so all your hard work isn't lost forever.

      That's because the people doing this kind of fan project have zero interest in finishing the project.

      This is a way to be scouted by developers or add something to their resume.

        Maybe some are, but I've been involved in fan projects, and it is mainly a way to try and get the game you really want to play, when no-one will make it for you.
        You also make great friends, learn heaps and achieve good things along the way. Most of us are genuinely hoping it will show publishers that there is interest and passion left in their IP and hopefully prompt them to release a new game or remaster.
        It really isn't true that people have zero interest in getting it completed, but it is often a much bigger task than you realise when starting out. Many of us are too old to get scouted :)

          What does age matter when getting scouted for this sort of work?

      The part I find baffling is Why challenge the Trademark / Copyright Intellectual Property head on and take the high risk in that fashion you will be shut down. Instead make the game as a clone with your own art assets and own creativity...

      ... then release a post launch mod that has all the copyright sensitive assets :P

      Build a space fantasy RPG with swords guns and wizard powers... and then asset swap it in mod with lightsabers, blasters and the Force.

      Build a generic platform game sell it on Steam and then steamworks a Mario mod or Megaman mod.

      To think the art work is holding up a fan work is ridiculous, they should just better plan to be in the grey area.

      I say this every single time something like this gets shut down. I feel for the developers that have put so much work into these projects but at the end of the day you're using someone else's IP without their permission and you can't do that. These guys even admitted "we knew this day was a possibility" - they knew what they were getting into. There's nothing wrong with creating your own IPs and your own games that are inspired by the source material but as soon as you start using someone else's IP you're infringing on IP rights.

      A lot of users point the finger at the IP owners for shutting these things down - in this case LucasFilm, but they love blaming Nintendo, Hasbro, Disney etc as well. I'm always confused as to why. It's their property, they have a right to protect it. While you might wish they would turn a blind eye to this kind of thing and allow it, the fact is they own the IP and you can't use it without their permission. Some companies like Sega don't seem to mind and in fact encourage it to a degree but they are the exception rather than the rule.

        Not only do they have the right to protect it, but as IP legislation stands, they're practically forced to. I remember when Mojang wanted to make 'Scrolls' and Bethesda tried to get involved, it was basically explained that they didn't want to, and didn't have an issue, but if they didn't take legal action, it would set precedent for anyone actually trying to use their IP to have legal standing.

        As a side note, mods tend to be largely ignored, it's only when someone is working on a 'product' that the C & D letters come out. I'm curious what would happen if you were to make 'Untitled Sci-Fi laser sword RPG' that's legally distinct from any of the Star Wars IP, but is otherwise a copy, and then an entirely unrelated Total Conversion mod came out that changed all the Textures, Models Sounds etc to actual Star Wars ones.

    Once again, we need to hear Woolie's wise words:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqwP6uuYOWo

      That videos right on the money. The mistake they made was publicizing it. They should have just shut the fuck up as he said.

      Look at AM2R. They didn't bring attention to themselves, and that's why it got finished and released before Nintendo was able to C&D it. Companies can't C&D a project that they don't know exists.

      Last edited 12/10/18 3:13 pm

    There is nothing else for it but to sit and laugh at these fools!

    *Nelson Laugh*

    *OH LOOK AT OUR WONDERFUL FAN ART, WOAH WEE PEOPLE LOOK WORLD LOOK AT US, WOW!

    *Lawyers: yeah we gonna need you to delete everything forever, here's a multimillion dollar lawsuit if you don't comply.

    *BUT BUT BUT.......

    Lol I can't wait till Disney, Lucasfilm, EA and DICE go bankrupt and the femitards and soyboys that were employed by them get the sack. Betray the original fans and suffer the losses in profit and ultimately your jobs. Nice work with TLJ btw. Total trash... More and more people are boycotting these companies and it will start taking its toll. Once major shareholders and investors pull out these companies will plummet. I hope to god that time is soon. Will enjoy laughing at the left once again since the trump election. :D

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