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Original Betrayal at Krondor game designer Neal Hallford has explained on his official website that he is working on a free remake of the first areas of the game for Amazon's CryEngine-based Lumberyard engine. Hallford stresses that this free remake can't be turned into a full for-profit project due to IP ownership and contractual obligations, but he also adds that the ultimate objective is to use this as a basis for a new title based on a new IP he owns:
What Is Betrayal At Krondor: Remastered?
Betrayal at Krondor: Remastered (or BAK:REM for short) is an attempt to resurrect the core systems â€“ as well as the general look and feel â€“ of the hit, award-winning role-playing game Betrayal at Krondor. Using the newly released Amazon Lumberyard Game Engine, I intend to build as much of the original engine as I can with as little outside help as possible, not only as a test of the general usability of this very cool new tool, but also as a self-guided, intensive exercise to refresh some of my level design and scripting skills. As a bonus, fans of the original game get to see what a sequel to BAK might have looked like by fusing elements of the original together with more modern technology.
Will Betrayal at Krondor: Remastered Be a Total Remake of the Original?
No. Far from it. My primary focus with this project will be on the reconstruction of the game systems, and to a limited degree, a tiny fraction of the original game content. My plan is only to recreate the first Chapter and the first Zone of BAK, which might only represent 3 or 4 percent of the total content of the original. This should be sufficiently adequate to demonstrate and test the functioning of all the core systems, and will still offer at least a hour or two of gameplay.
Will BAK:REM Be Commercially Released?
No. Let me say this again to make this clear. NOOOOOOOO. This is a not-for-profit, self-educational project. I will never sell anything with the Krondor name on it, or with any of the content based in the Midkemia universe unless otherwise given express permission / license from Raymond E. Feist and Midkemia Press. BAK was in their playground, and they let me play there for a few years.
Why Not Rebuild The Entire Game?
First and foremost because the Midkemian universe doesnâ€™t belong to me. Yes, I created a very big corner of it, as well as several characters, and a significant number of chapters in its history, but again, it all belongs to Ray and the good folks over at Midkemia Press. Itâ€™s one thing for me to be noodling around on a small non-profit project like this, but a full remake (and especially a commercial venture) would be a very big violation of their copyright. I donâ€™t like getting sued. Really, I donâ€™t. Also, Iâ€™m a writer, and even if I werenâ€™t worried about litigation, Iâ€™d still want to be respectful of Rayâ€™s rights. Heâ€™s been a good guy to me, and I donâ€™t want to cause him any worry or irritation.
A more relevant point is that currently, all things Midkemian are tied up, at least in terms of â€œofficialâ€ computer games. When Kickstarter exploded a few years ago, a lot of folks suggested that we Kickstart a modernized reboot, and I got hold of Ray to discuss it. Unfortunately he has a contract that ties up the rights to Midkemia as a gaming property for a while, and every time Iâ€™ve run into him since, Iâ€™ve been told the same thing. Legally thereâ€™s just no recourse to build an official, full remake of BAK at this time. Maybe that will change in the future, but at this time, BAK:REM is as far as Iâ€™m willing to venture.
Whatever the future reserves, however, what we'll get in the short term is a look at a slice of what a modernized Betrayal at Krondor could look like, as proven by the video Hallford has published on his personal YouTube channel, which focuses mostly on UI and dialogue:
The 1993 first-person RPG has always been on my shortlist of classic role-playing titles to play, but I've yet to get to it. I suppose I should fix this mistake soon, if nothing else to get an appreciation of the historical context and get a rough idea of the design goals Hallford is pursuing yet again. I suppose being able to see the difference between the same scenes in 1993 and in 2016 is also an additional boon.