I haven't got Origins yet. I was waiting til after the holidays then BOOM this happened. I will download from the site when I get the money soon. BUT, I did out of curiosity watch some of the hyperspace footage from a play-through on youtube, and it's very, very different from Star Control 2.
Differences: Isometric view instead of top-down, 3d graphics instead of 2d, animated completely differently in terms of streaks or motion/particles, background is 'red' but a very different hue (more faded, more detail and variation), the star 'holes' show the entire system and aren't different shapes in Origins but rather all seem to be the same oval shape, the HUD is completely different, the camera is zoomed out a lot more in Origins, the main ship is not shifted red, alien ships are not black holes but actual ships, the minimap looks totally different. I mean, the music is technically the same song but is such a different arrangement it invokes a completely different feeling (and the composer owns that anyways). Everything in this scene is so generic (stars, ship(s), minimap, basic HUD) that it is very, very hard to claim that you 'own' this design. The only 'unique' artistic expression of this scene is the color red of the background. And that's just a simple color.
I get that if it turns out Fred and Paul do technically own the original IP of the aliens/ship designs/lore, things like that....that they have somewhat of a case to win, but from everything I've heard there is very, very little of that IP in Origins. And in terms of the Observers (Arilou), if they aren't named the Arilou, their likeness is grey aliens in a flying saucer (both designs that Fred and Paul do not own).
I dunno, if Fred and Paul's new Ur-Quan Masters sequel was actually sitting on the market next to Origins, I would feel differently about this. But they are using a nearly 30 year old game to justify the DMCA take-down of a new one (in their blog they did not mention any specific IP or aliens/precursors, etc). No they are comparing these screens and that's quite ridiculous.
Back in the day, when Final Fantasy came out, it was practically the same game as Dragon Warrior. For example, the overworld looked and functioned exactly the same. This is akin to Enix back in the day suing Squaresoft for copyright infringement due to things like (overworld covered in green grass, forests, mountains, oceans, rivers, little town icons that when you walk over you enter). That kind of stuff should never be copyright-able.
I feel like the DMCA used + Fred and Paul's claims regarding the design of hyperspace are opening a larger discussion or concern for the games industry. If they do win this case and the ruling is based on 'design similarities' or 'gameplay mechanics', this is going to be troubling for the industry as a whole. A week ago this case was about Star Control, but now it's turned into something the whole games industry needs to worry about, which is not good.
Anyway, just my thoughts as a fan of Star Control and a person who was looking forward to this game for a long time.