One of the best, if not the best, Star Wars game returns in a new guise – here’s why it matters
The announcement of the Knights of the Old Republic remake turned out to be one of the main surprises of the PlayStation presentation on September 9th. Of course, it cannot be called a complete surprise (rumors about the development of a new KOTOR have been circulating for years), but few could have imagined that the remake would be announced for the first time at a Sony conference: after all, the original game was an exclusive of the first Xbox. Be that as it may, but the fact that the first part of Knights of the Old Republic is again heard by gamers 18 years after its release is extremely good news for thousands of fans. In this post I will try to briefly explain why KOTOR fans appreciate BioWare’s masterpiece so much and why they are waiting for its return.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …
At one time, scriptwriters and game designers BioWare and LucasArts made an extremely important and in many ways ingenious decision, choosing the Old Republic for the setting for Knights of the Old Republic 4000 years before the events of the movie saga. The authors essentially took a blank page in the Star Wars chronology and painted it up as they saw fit. This freed their hands quite significantly and allowed them to come up with an original story that was not tied to films.
Gamers, on the other hand, were interested in the Old Republic by its semi-mythical status. Thanks to KOTOR, it was finally possible to personally see the Jedi and Sith at the height of their power, hear about the Mandalorian wars firsthand, or visit the forbidden planet Korriban, where the Dark Side adepts have been trained to use the Force for millennia.
In general, the Knights of the Old Republic setting turned out to be recognizable only in some general outline, but for the most part it was perceived as something new and intriguing.
Dungeons & Dragons in space
BioWare studio became famous all over the world long before Knights of the Old Republic, having released the first two parts of Baldur’s Gate in the second half of the 90s. KOTOR is in many ways the spiritual successor to this series. Like BG, Knights of the Old Republic boasts a non-linear storyline and many difficult moral dilemmas. In Knights of the Old Republic, there is a constant struggle for the “soul” of the player, a struggle between the dark and light sides of the Force. The decisions made determine the development of the plot, and to such an extent that at the end of the story the hero may be left without half of the party members, and he may even have to kill some of them with his own hands if he follows the path of the Sith.
Knights of the Old Republic also uses a combat system similar to Baldur’s Gate, although it is a third-person game, not an isometric RPG. KOTOR brawls are a mixture of turn-based battles and real-time battles with the ability to give orders in pause mode, and they are based on the d20 mechanics developed by the authors of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Many RPGs have teammates, but few are as versatile as the party members in Knights of the Old Republic. The crew of the Ebon Hawk, the player’s starship, is seen more as a family than a warband. Yes, not always friendly, but still a family, where each character has a different character and has personal aspirations. Communicating with partners and completing quests with them is extremely exciting, because you never know what new secret details this or that hero will reveal about himself.
Although KOTOR came out almost two decades ago, the names of some of the party members can be remembered in a matter of seconds – this is how strongly some of the characters are rooted in the memory. That is just too impulsive by Jedi standards Bastila Shan, a veteran of the Republic of Kart Onasi, who is going through a life crisis, or the HK-47 droid, who dreams of organizing the genocide of all organic creatures. Many Knights of the Old Republic heroes are so beloved by players that characters similar to them can be found in other BioWare games, be it Dragon Age or Mass Effect.
A plot twist we will never forget
Great stories have always been a hallmark of BioWare games, but it is KOTOR that tells the best story of all the works of the Canadian company. The Knights of the Old Republic narrative deserves praise primarily for its plot twist towards the end of the game, which completely redefines the experience of the entire adventure. Perhaps one of the most striking moments in the history of video games, comparable in shock factor to the very scene between Luke and Darth Vader in the films. What happened there? Alas, it would be inappropriate to answer this question right here in this material: yes, 18 years have passed, and for some players the plot twists and turns of KOTOR are no longer a secret, but it is important to consider that for many gamers it will be the remake that will be the first acquaintance with Knights Of the Old Republic ”, so it’s better not to spoil the surprise.
A remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is being handled by a Texas-based company, Aspyr. BioWare is not involved in the development, which will surely confuse some fans, as well as the fact that Aspyr does not plan to make an exact copy of the original game. But in fact, this is expected: the new KOTOR will need to at least fit into the new canon of “Star Wars”, so you can’t do without changes at all. The main thing is that the remake has the same charming characters and no less fascinating plot, and you don’t need more for happiness.