Those guys can burn in Hell. (not that I'm livid or anything...)
My personal guess, with no inside info or anything, is simply that making a creative game like Star Control is hard. Either R&F didn't want to do it, or they were contractually unable to do it, or whatever. Maybe they didn't think they could make a worthy sequel without the other people they had back 25-30 years ago.
They decided to take money from Activision and run a company that did children's movie tie in games, console ports of older/outside developed games, and Skylanders. Just type Toys for Bob and Skylanders and you can see interviews with PR-III happy to be working on the series, excited about 3d printing.
Nothing wrong with that. Our priorities change as we get older and more risk-adverse. I'm sure making Skylanders was fun for them and more profitable than any 1992 PC game by a few orders of magnitude. Maybe Star Control 3-For-Real was always in the back of their minds, but it was never going to happen.
BUT: once they saw Stardock was actually going to make the game, they had the human reaction to want something now that they realized they couldn't have it anymore because they gave it away. Sorry, but you can't be president of a 100-200 person company with 25m/year in revenue (Internet estimates, they're private so you can't tell) and then also do a major development project on the side. I almost refuse to believe that they've actually made any steps toward making this game. What's the name of the new studio who are making the new game? Are you seriously expecting me to believe that Paul Reiche is just going to code it by himself in his free evenings while being president of Toys for Bob?
I mean, the fact they set up crowdfunding for a lawsuit instead of the damn GAME should tell you everything. Suddenly their dead blog is a PR site - not talking about the new game, but how they're such victims. "Look at the pictures of spaceships I sketched during desert storm." Well, holy shit, might as well turn over the SCO source code to them and close up shop.
I'm also suspicious of the idea of Activision saying "Sure, we'll let the president of one of our studios work on a side project video game we have no financial stake in. " You think corporate giant Activision is just suddenly cool with that?
2 million? That's all? Pretty sure they have that money after 25 years making bank for Activision, and why pay 2 million now when Brad offered it to you for $400k before SCO was made? Bad business call there if you had these secret 25th anniversary plans to announce. Oh, or did Skylanders bottom out and now you give a shit?
Christ, I'm annoyed and writing too many rants. I found out about this when I went to gift the game to someone on steam and it was gone.