An official release of the Kotor 2 missing content DLC/patch had been promised, then pulled back. It had been enough of the promise that a free game was offered to people who had bought the Kotor 2 rerelease. Why does that kind of rollback on an official plan happen? How is the decision to stop weighed against free stuff and bad PR?

I think it would help to provide a little more context as to what is going on.

Way back in 2004, a game called KOTOR 2 shipped and was played by a lot of players. Many players did not like the ending, but the game had been in development for less than a year and Obsidian were on the hook to ship the game by the deadline. The game was regarded by many players as a flawed gem.

Years later, modders would discover a whole bunch of unfinished endgame content in [KOTOR 2's original files]. Some of them collaborated to unlock, fill out, debug, and finish that content and restore it. This was released for the PC as an unofficial fan mod called The Sith Lords Restored Content Modification in 2009 and has had several updates since.

In 2015 Aspyr Media, a smaller game publisher and developer, obtained the rights to port old Bioware games and began releasing titles like KOTOR, KOTOR 2, and Jade Empire to platforms like iOS, Linux, and Steam. It was around this time that Aspyr began working with the mod team responsible for the Restored Content Mod mentioned above, all in hopes of bringing the mod to these other platforms. The DLC was never really Aspyr's work, it was the mod team working with Aspyr to bring that content to Aspyr's Switch port of KOTOR 2. Eight years later, Aspyr announced that things had fallen through and the Restored Content DLC was cancelled.

It sounds like what happened was that something essential fell apart along the way and there was really no way to complete the work in a timely and legal fashion. One of the original modders posted to reddit after the announcement was made and said "Aspyr did nothing wrong. Quote me on that. Shame it ended the way it did... I have nothing but good things to say about Aspyr and our cooperation over the past eight years". I suspect that, had the DLC been completable within reasonable circumstances, they would have done so. But there's a lot of potential issues that could have stopped them - the license may have expired, it may have been a Nintendo certification thing, the mod team could have fallen apart, there could have been some major legal liability that came to light, it could be the financial trouble currently hitting Embracer Group (Aspyr's owner as of 2001), or any of a number of things. The only people who know for sure are the mod team and Aspyr. I suspect they are all under NDA, so I doubt they will be telling.

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