Of every one of the computer game in Star Wars background, Knights of the Old Republic as well as its follow up might be one of the most unforgettable. In the rarified air of Star Wars narration, where generations of authors as well as musicians elevated on the flicks try the possibility to place their very own creative spin on George Lucas’s world, the supreme objective is to develop job that followers will certainly keep in mind as well as like for a very long time. And couple of video games have actually gotten to the narration elevations of this BioWare RPG, which records both the sensation of taking a seat as well as seeing a Star Wars flick for the very first time while likewise providing followers a totally various as well as unforeseen take on the galaxy.- Advertisement -
Set hundreds of years prior to the Skywalker Saga, Knights of the Old Republic informs the tale of a mangy team of heroes that have to quit a Sith intrusion pressure from taking control of the galaxy. Along the means, the heroes trip to sleazy criminal abyss as well as old Sith holy places, undergo the Jedi tests, as well as sculpt their very own name in Star Wars background. There’s never ever rather been such a total Star Wars computer game experience given that.
Pop society author Alex Kane checks out the concepts behind the KotOR legend in guide Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, out currently from Boss Fight Books. Kane’s publication is a remarkable consider the advancement of the video game that made a deep mark on both BioWare as well as Star Wars. It likewise comes with an especially intriguing time for BioWare, whose latest launch, the loot shooter Anthem, leaves from the tale- as well as relationship-driven RPG gameplay the workshop is best recognized for. Kane’s recall at the manufacturing of KotOR is an outstanding blast from the past for followers of the workshop.
Here are 5 crucial points we found out about the video game from Kane’s publication…
Disclosure: I obtained a totally free duplicate of guide for testimonial, as well as Alex Kane as well as I have actually both composed, independently, for StarWars.com.
Knights of the Old Republic’s Big Twist
Knights of the Old Republic’s large spin — that the gamer personality is in fact an effective Sith Lord called Darth Revan that had his memory eliminated by the Jedi — was important to the video game from the very start. With The Empire Strikes Back’s renowned spin in mind, BioWare required something comparable in order to record that Star Wars magic. James Ohlen, lead developer on the video game, likewise understood he wished to have an impressive area fight at the end like the Rebel vs. Imperial riot in Return of the Jedi.
Ohlen was motivated by flicks like The Sixth Sense as well as Fight Club when it came time for the disclose. He understood that ideas required to be positioned throughout the video game. The spin need to not be noticeable yet need to originate from minutes seeded right into the tale. ”Ten percent of the target market requires to determine your spin prior to it takes place” in order for it to really feel all-natural, he stated in guide.
Why LucasArts Hired BioWare
LucasArts was working with several Star Wars video games in the very early 2000s as well as wished to companion with a third-party programmer to develop a “sweeping” Star Wars tale. Some LucasArts designers allowed followers of BioWare, which had actually made the isometric dream RPG Baldur’s Gate.
Further Reading: How Knights of the Old Republic 2 Became Gaming’s Great Unfinished Symphony
Simon Jeffrey, LucasArts head of state at the time, came close to BioWare’s Ray Muzyka as well as Greg Zeschuk concerning making a Star Wars RPG in the BioWare mold and mildew. The 3 of them was in charge of designing the core concepts of the video game.
Yes, Knights of the Old Republic Demanded Crunch
It’s challenging — possibly difficult, possibly careless — to take a look at the areas concerning BioWare society because of Kotaku’s April 2019 investigatory item concerning the several troubles at the workshop today. The write-up, which covers the advancement of Bioware’s Anthem, began a discussion concerning exactly how worn video game designers stress out. In Alex Kane’s meetings, BioWare’s stars keep in mind a mainly joyous experience of crisis:
“I practically had extinction beyond job,” Mike Gallo, previous LucasArts manufacturer, informed Kane. “I remember my buddies angering at me since I needed to continuously terminate on them, or simply not also approve strategies. I’m similar to, ‘I don’t understand what to inform you. We’re makin’ a video game!’ And back in those days, I didn’t even care—I could work twelve or sixteen hours every day and not even think about it.”
Gallo went into detail of just how long the hours were: “Towards the end of the PC version, we were working several all-nighters. I was in a meeting with all of our ops people at LucasArts, and at one point one of the guys whispered to me: ‘Mike. You were talking, but you would fade out for five or ten seconds and then pick up again.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I haven’t slept in forty- eight hours.’ He’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Well, you know, that’s what we do.’” After work, the team would go out drinking and dancing together, unified by the project. There were some conflicts, Kane says, but more a focus on making the work the best it could be.
Voiceover director Darragh O’Farrell and voice coordinator Jennifer Sloan would also work 16-hour days during crunch time, six months before the deadline.
The Origins of the Characters
Some of the game’s core characters — Carth, Bastila, Zaalbar, and Mission — were loosely based on characters Ohlen created for a tabletop Star Wars RPG he ran with his friends: “I’d done that with the Baldur’s Gate series, too, because it takes a long time to create characters sometimes.”
One character, in particular, evolved during development. HK-47’s voice was at first much grimmer. Actor Kristoffer Tabori didn’t feel he had found the voice and went for a more comedic tone than intended in the script, which displeased many in the studio. But O’Farrell believed in it. Eventually, the rest of the team came around.
Further Reading: Lucasfilm Teases New Knights of the Old Republic Project
The identity of Revan was built into the game from the start. Kane points out that having a character with no memory or history is often “a narrative demand of the form,” so giving Revan a hidden history he’d been forced to forget was key. Having Revan be a Jedi was a core part of the game’s fantasy, meant to provide a very different experience from Star Wars Galaxies, an MMORPG in which Jedi were rare.
The look of Revan’s armor was designed relatively quickly and was inspired by Mandalorian armor. The leather elements, not often seen in Star Wars, made it look ancient.
Knights of the Old Republic’s Missing Planet
The game’s planets can be visited in any order (with some exceptions where major plot points must be experienced in order). The variety of locations is one of KotOR‘s many strengths, and planets like Taris and Manaan have become memorable parts of the Star Wars universe.
Unfortunately, not all of BioWare’s ideas for planets ended up in the final product. One planet was cut from the game due to the impending ship date. This planet, named Sleheyron, would have focused on gladiator combat and been controlled by the Hutts. “But that was too much to do in the time we had,” Ohlen said.
BioWare would return to the gladiatorial combat idea for their fantasy RPG Jade Empire, which was released in 2005 and also used Knights of the Old Republic‘s Odyssey Engine. The capital city in Jade Empire, Phoenix Gate, hosts a fighting arena where masters of the game’s martial art forms can work their way up the ranks and follow some story threads. While it’s unclear if this section of Jade Empire was inspired by BioWare’s ideas for Sleheyron, it does prove that the studio was able to make its gladiator idea playable a few years later.
BioWare’s Ideas for A Sequel
There never really was a BioWare KotOR II. In an interview with Mike Gallo, Kane reveals the BioWare team really did not want to rush through a sequel and felt it would be difficult to follow up on the great game they had already produced. But Ohlen talked about an idea they did have.
In order to out-twist KotOR, he and his team developed an idea where the player would be mentored by a character of Yoda’s species. That mentor would turn out to be the villain, with the shock coming, Ohlen said, from “‘Holy crap—Yoda’s evil?’” That twist is now locked away in the large vault of unused Star Wars ideas.
Megan Crouse writes about Star Wars and pop culture for StarWars.com, Star Wars Insider, and Den of Geek. Read more of her function here. Find her on Twitter @blogfullofwords.