Update: It turns out that, yet again, the trailer takedown was not about the game, but about licensing rights. A Sony rep told Kotaku that "as part of normal business, we delist assets with licensed music when the licenses expire." The only music in the trailer is a clip of the Star Wars theme, which is owned by Disney, and it seems odd to me that a teaser for a licensed Star Wars game would be pulled because it has licensed Star Wars music, but I am not a businessman and so my understanding of how these things work may be flawed or incomplete.
In any event, this doesn't necessarily confirm that the KOTOR remake isn't in trouble, but at the very least this particular incident doesn't mean that it is—it's just business.
Friends, I'm beginning to worry that we might not ever see the Knights of the Old Republic remake at all. It may have made a splash at its announcement during a 2021 PlayStation showcase, but it's been hanging on by a thread ever since a vertical slice demo—meant to show off all the game's features in a bitesize package—reportedly went down like a lead balloon in front of LucasFilm and Sony execs back in July 2022. It was "delayed indefinitely," and its development was moved to an unspecified "internal" studio at Embracer Group (possibly to Aspyr parent company Saber Interactive, per a Bloomberg report).
Well, the latest news isn't good, I'm afraid. As was first spotted by intrepid Reddit users on the Gaming Leaks and Rumours subreddit (via Kotaku), Sony appears to be on a quest to Order 66 any mention of the project on its various social media channels. The original short teaser for the remake has been set to private on PlayStation's YouTube channel, and a Twitter user named Crusader3456 later noticed that nearly every tweet advertising the remake from 2021 has been mysteriously deleted from the PlayStation Twitter account.
The only remaining tweet that even mentions the KOTOR remake on PlayStation's Twitter is a single entry from the day of the 2021 showcase, where it was mentioned alongside God of War Ragnarok and "other new PlayStation Studios titles". Over on YouTube, the trailer still exists as part of PlayStation's video of the entire 2021 showcase—the company hasn't gone so far as to delete that whole thing—and you can still find a chat with the devs on PlayStation's channel as part of a post-showcase series of interviews. But, well, I think the only reason those aren't gone is because other games are featured there.
I've reached out to Sony and Embracer for comment on this story, and I'll update if I hear back.
It's not looking good, is it? I'm no business expert, but I don't think companies generally set out to delete nearly all evidence of product announcements if they still have any hope of coming out. Plus, with Aspyr and Saber owner Embracer Group finding itself in dire straits after a $2 billion deal fell through last May, I have to imagine execs there aren't keen to throw good money after bad on a project that's run into the rocks.
Still, it's not a full-throated cancellation, and there's always a chance this is just some worrying housecleaning on the part of Sony's social media team. Perhaps the company just doesn't want a bunch of marketing lying around for a project that's very much in limbo, or maybe the trailer is no longer representative of whatever it is the game will eventually be. I'm not really sure how that would be the case, given that it just consisted of Darth Revan twirling a lightsaber about and Jennifer Hale's Bastila saying some foreboding Jedi stuff, but hope springs eternal.
But to be honest, I'm pessimistic about this one. I was excited to play a KOTOR remake—the original was a formative game for me and still one of my favourites—but I can't help but see a repeat of the disastrous experience of Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 here. Except instead of pushing to eventually release something, anything, in the way that Paradox did, I get the feeling that Sony and Embracer might instead be predisposed to just cut their losses and move on. I hope I'm wrong, but I've got a bad feeling about this.