This is more of a legal question than anything, But there is this old game that was on the gamecube that my brother and I played when we were kids, The developer and the publisher both went out of business, if I were to figure out a way to port the game to UE5 and release it for free, would I get in trouble or since I would be doing it for free would I be legally in the clear?

Standard disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. I am only a game dev speaking from my experience as a game dev about a hypothetical situation.

Even if the developer and publisher have gone out of business, somebody probably still owns the rights to the game. If you remake an existing game using their assets and/or copyrighted material, you are still using somebody else's IP without the owner's permission and that's illegal. It does not matter whether you charge for it or not, you are still potentially causing damage to someone else's property. The recent hullabaloo about AI-generated porn of Taylor Swift wasn't a big deal because someone charged for it, it was because someone made and distributed it without her permission.

If you want to remake a favorite game, my advice is always to make a spiritual successor to that game - make the new game feel and play like the old game as much as you want, but don't use the old characters/story/world/etc. Somebody owns those and that owner would be fully within their rights to stop you if you use them... but they can't do a thing if you don't use them. Make your own thing. It's a lot better for all around - players will actually be able to play your game, you'll be able to showcase your game, and you can choose either to sell it to or use it to get hired by paying game studios/publishers.

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