A Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake (opens in new tab) was announced in September 2021, and it was a pretty big deal: KOTOR is one of the best Star Wars games ever, but it’s also nearly 20 years old, which makes it a challenge to play these days. A remake seemed like a can’t-miss project, but a Bloomberg (opens in new tab) report now says it has been delayed indefinitely amidst trouble at developer Aspyr Media.
According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Aspyr completed a vertical slice demo of the remake at the end of June to show to executives at Lucasfilm and Sony. The following week art director Jason Minor and design director Brad Prince were both fired from the studio. Prince indicated on his LinkedIn page (opens in new tab) that the termination was not expected, writing, “Things can change very fast in a day. I am no longer working at Aspyr and looking for work.”
The vertical slice (opens in new tab)—essentially a demo that’s intended to showcase all of a game’s intended features in action, and that Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert once called “one of the dumbest things (opens in new tab) the game industry has ever come up with”—is apparently the cause of the uproar. Minor may not have seen trouble coming, but sources told Bloomberg that Aspyr’s studio bosses weren’t pleased with the state of it, or of the amount of time and money that had been put into creating it.
There are also concerns about the remake’s projected timeline: Aspyr had said internally that it would be out by the end of this year, but developers now reportedly believe that a launch sometime in 2025 is more realistic. That’s the sort of discrepancy that no amount of crunch (or anything else short of straight-up magic) could ever solve.
For now the full status of the KOTOR remake is unclear, but employees at Aspyr have reportedly been told that the company is seeking new projects, and the remake could be moved to a different developer—possibly Aspyr’s parent company Saber Interactive, which is a subsidiary of Embracer Group. I’ve reached out to Aspyr, Embracer, and Lucasfilm Games for more information, and will update if I receive a reply.