What just happened? Fans of Bioware's classic Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic RPG may have heard of Apeiron, an ambitious fan game that sought to recreate KOTOR with modern visuals and gameplay mechanics: Apeiron. Despite years of development, Apeiron will never see the light of day - Lucasfilm has issued a cease and desist letter to Poem Studios, the team behind the project, prompting them to shut it down.
Game publishers have a history of shutting down promising fan projects - it's a trend that's been going on for the better part of the last decade (if not longer). As unfortunate as it is, it's hard to fault them for it.
Allowing fan games that reboot or otherwise recreate older titles can set a dangerous precedent for companies. Unfortunately, some companies are certainly more zealous about the policing of their intellectual properties than others.
One such company is Lucasfilm. The entertainment giant shut down a fan-created spiritual successor to the original Star Wars: Battlefront games back in 2016, and now, it's doing the same to one of the most promising-looking Star Wars fan games out there: Apeiron, a recreation of the classic Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) RPG.
This information comes directly from the game's development team, Poem Studios. The team took to Twitter to announce that the project would be shutting down due to a cease and desist letter they received from Lucasfilm.
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. 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 pic.twitter.com/OCRmMIjwGT— Poem Studios (@PoemStudios) October 11, 2018
"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," Poem Studios said in their tweet. "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."
This is a pretty unfortunate situation for everybody involved. Apeiron was an ambitious, beautiful-looking project, and now it seems Poem Studios' hard work will never see the light of day.
As I said before, it's hard to fault Lucasfilm too much here, but the company's timing couldn't have been worse. Apeiron has been in development for years, and Poem Studios has probably sunk hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of work into the title. If Lucasfilm was going to shut it down -- and it's hard to believe they weren't aware of it previously, given how much coverage the game has gotten -- why didn't they do it much, much sooner?
Sad though this news may be, there's not much to be done about it. If you want to see what the game could have been, feel free to visit Apeiron's official website. For now, it's still up and running, but don't expect that to be the case for much longer.