Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic game paused during Studio Shakeup

A highly anticipated new Star Wars game is in serious trouble, according to people familiar with the project.

A highly anticipated new Star Wars game is in serious trouble, according to people familiar with the project. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, a remake of a 2003 role-playing game, is being postponed indefinitely as developers at Austin, Texas-based Aspyr Media try to figure out what comes next. Aspyr also abruptly fired the game’s art director and design director this month. In a series of meetings in July, Aspyr’s two studio heads told employees that the project is on hiatus and that the company will seek new contracts and development opportunities, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.

Knights of the Old Republic is said to be one of the first modern Star Wars console games to be released outside of Electronic Arts Inc., which previously held the exclusive licensing rights. That deal expires in 2023 and opens the door for new Star Wars games from outside companies such as Aspyr, Ubisoft Entertainment SA and Quantic Dream SA.

The game was announced last September and has been in development for nearly three years at Aspyr, which was bought by Sweden’s Embracer Group AB last year. Founded in 1996, Aspyr was best known as a service store that brought existing video games to other platforms such as iOS, including the original Knights of the Old Republic games.

On June 30, Aspyr completed a demo of the game, known as a vertical slice, to show to production partners Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC and Sony Group Corp. The developers were thrilled and felt they were on track, one person said. familiar with the project, so they were shocked by what happened next.

The following week, the company fired design director Brad Prince and art director Jason Minor. Neither responded to requests for comment, but Minor suggested on a social media page that his resignation was unexpected.

Representatives from Aspyr and Embracer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aspyr’s studio heads told staff that the vertical segment was not where they wanted it and that the project would be put on hold, according to two people who attended the meeting. A person familiar with the discussions suggested that a disproportionate amount of time and money had been invested in the demo and that the current course of the project was unsustainable. Another point of contention may be the timeline. At the beginning of development, Aspyr told staff and partners that it would release the game in late 2022, according to two people familiar with production. Developers said a more realistic target would now be 2025.

The fate of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic remains unclear. In May, Embracer announced that Saber Interactive would also be joining the project. Some at Aspyr believe that Saber, who has done mostly outsourced work for the project, can take over completely.

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