Just last week, it was revealed that Lucasfilm had sent a cease and desist order to the team behind Apeiron, a small project aiming to rebuild Knights of the Old Republic in Unreal Engine 4. This wasn’t a total surprise as similar projects have been shut down in the past. Since then, Poem Studios has removed the project from the public eye and has published its response to Lucasfilm’s demands, in hopes of having the situation reevaluated.
The original order from Lucasfilm called for Poem Studios to take down all websites and social media relating to Star Wars and delete all project data. It appears that those demands have been met but the studio is hoping that Lucasfilm will reconsider. As part of a reply, Poem Studios explains that it is “not rebooting Knights of the Old Republic” and is instead “taking an existing game with an active community and simply updating now outdated graphics and systems”. Apeiron is also described as “a modification of the original game” in which the user “still has to have a purchased, verified copy” of the original.
This is the letter I sent Lucasfilm; I’m not mad we got shut down; I’m mad that no one has responded. Last time pic.twitter.com/gFG4rJHyrx
— Poem Studios (@PoemStudios) October 22, 2018
To help make its case, Poem Studios brings up a few examples of similar mods that received official blessing. Bethesda Studios sanctioned Skywind, which was an effort to rebuild Morrowind using Skyrim’s engine. In order to play, users would need to own both Skyrim and Morrowind. 343 Industries/Microsoft also sanctioned a similar project called 01Installment, which is a mod for Halo on PC, once again requiring that users already own the original game.
The letter than goes on to point out that Lucasfilm does sanction fan-made Star Wars movies under the conditions that they do not crowdsource or profit from it. This aligns with Poem’s efforts to rebuild the original KOTOR, with no plans to profit or ask for funding.
The letter ends will a request for a reevaluation of Apeiron. So far, Lucasfilm has yet to respond and it is unclear if it will.
KitGuru Says: The letter does make some good points, after all, Apeiron requires that people already own the original KOTOR and it is mainly intended to be a graphics update, rather than a reboot. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation changing at this point. Still, perhaps this will point out the continued demand for more Star Wars RPGs set in the Old Republic era.