As the resident Star Control 2 uberfan, I should throw some caution onto the enthusiasm here. Atari owned two things:
1) The Star Control name.
2) The properties from Star Control 3.
That's all. They don't have the rights to any of the races or characters or storylines from Star Control 1 or 2, and as a result, nor does Stardock. In other words, if they're to make a new Star Control without any other rights than these, they're going to have to do it in the same way as Star Control 4 was trying to do: With all new races in an all new part of space.
Also keep in mind that the SC1 and 2 rights (except the names) are still held by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford. These are the same guys who run Toys for Bob, which is owned by Activision. In other words, Activision could block any attempt by Stardock to obtain the remaining rights.
Here's a relevant quote from Brad Wardell:
It won't be a continuation but more akin to a revisit (ala XCOM using Star Control 2 as the inspiration and start back before the earthlings were in any kind of slave shield). We'll be talking more about our plans as we go forward.
We won't be making any changes to the existing Star Control games. And Atari doesn't actually own the copyright on Star Control 1/2 so it's not like one could make a Star Control 2 HD or what have you without a license from Paul Reiche. And even if we did have rights to SC 1/2 I wouldn't touch them without his blessing.
I think what most Star Control fans are looking for is a new Star Control game where the inspiration comes from Star Control 2. They want a game with fun, adventure and top down ship battles like in Star Control 2 that all play within a fun sci fi universe. Preferably one with Ur-Quan and Spathi and lots of insults.
On the plus side, Brad appeared on the Ur-Quan Masters (the free Star Control 2 remake) forums and said that he'd formally contacted Paul and Fred:
Brad from Stardock here.
We have connected with Paul and Fred. Fingers crossed but things look hopeful. The copyright to Star Control 1/2 is owned by Paul Rieche directly, not Toys for Bob so I think there is reason to think that they might be able to participate in the creation of a new Star Control game.
None of this changes the status of the Ur-Quan Masters or Star Control on GOG.
Our core team involved at Stardock (myself included) have been huge fans of Paul's work since the Archon / Star Flight days.
By an XCOM like reboot we don't mean XCOM game mechanics but rather creating a new Star Control game that brings in the fun and game play we all know and love. The *campground* is looking *flavorful*.
Earlier in that same thread, a response from Paul Reiche about the situation was posted:
Stardock hasn't contacted us, so we don't yet know their plans. Looking at
the court schedules (and this is consistent with my recollections), they
acquired the trademark 'Star Control' and copyright to the original
materials in Star Control 3 -- that is to say, not any of the copyrightable
materials from Star Control I & II, which Fred and I still hold.
In terms of our interest in the trademark and why we didn't buy it -- we
weren't sure that we could make use of the trademark soon enough to make
sense, but we sure are interested in what Star Dock wants to do next!
Paul and Fred have mentioned several times that they would love to make another Star Control, but that they are bound by their contracts with Activision. Skylanders has been so successful that this has become their sole focus. You can imagine what Activision would say if the two of them asked to spend a year or two working on a niche franchise instead of one of Activision's biggest cash cows.
It'll be interesting to see how this develops, in any case. Right now it's looking like we're getting a game "inspired by Star Control" instead of a true Star Control sequel. Just keep that in mind.