“Wipe this pathetic planet from the face of the galaxy!” Or not? There is hope yet, young Jedi! Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (abbreviated as KOTOR) may be getting a remake if an interview with reputable reporter Jason Schreier reveals anything. Jason Schreier, a journalist who previously worked for Kotaku but then moved onto Bloomberg as a writer, tentatively released the news in an interview with MinnMax on April 20, 2021.

When MinnMax‘s Ben Hanson tip-toed around a question about a KOTOR remake, Schreier called him out on it and said, “Yes, there is something there. Yes, it’s real.” He was careful about revealing the game’s status. He felt conflicted about reporting on industry secrets or believing that he was spoiling games before they were announced. Whether or not this was Schreier’s attempt to keep confidential information vague or downplay information not yet confirmed by game developers remains unclear.

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If you vaguely remember the first Xbox, you may remember that Knights of the Old Republic was the best Star Wars RPG game released on the console. The highly praised game from BioWare won “Game of the Year” awards from BAFTA, G-Phoria, Game Developers Choice Awards and Satellite Awards back in 2004. KOTOR paved the way for many of BioWare’s future releases, such as Mass Effect, which relied heavily on players’ decisions to propel a story forward.

The Epic Story

To provide a recap of one of the best RPG games out there, Knights of the Old Republic focuses on the players’ journey as a Jedi who must save the Republic from Darth Malak, Dark Lord of the Sith. Malak was once a Jedi and had a Master named Revan. The Mandalorians invade the Republic as a show of force. It develops into what’s known as the Mandalorian Wars. Most Jedi did not want to escalate the conflict further. But, a few Jedi, such as Revan and Malak, went rogue and decided to fight. With the rogue Jedis’ help, the Republic won the battle against the Mandalorians but at great cost: they ordered the activation of a weapon known as the Mass Shadow Generator, which destroys both the Republic and the Mandalorian armies, as well as the planet the battle was being fought on, Malachor V.

Revan and Malak, now considered heroes of the Republic, disappear into the Unknown Regions of the galaxy shortly after the Republic’s victory and fall to the Dark Side after discovering a Sith empire there. The leader of the Sith Empire, Emperor Vitiate, tasks Revan and Malak with finding something called the Star Forge, a source of military power capable of producing powerful armies. Revan and Malak find the Star Forge but decide to use it against the Jedi and the Republic. They return a year later and start the Jedi Civil War. Revan declares himself as Dark Lord of the Sith but is presumed dead after being overthrown by his apprentice Malak, a tradition amongst Sith. Malak continues his onslaught against the Republic at the start of the game.

The player’s character attempts to defeat or thwart Malak throughout the game with a bit of help from friends such as Carth Onasi, a war hero or a Jedi named Bastila Shan. There are a total of nine characters the player can add as companions along the way. Each decision the player makes earns them Light Side or Dark Side points. The player discovers that there are Star Maps they must find on multiple planets throughout the game. These are said to lead to the Star Forge. Once the final Star Map is found, Malak captures the player and their companions. In one of the greatest reveals since Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke Skywalker’s father: we learn the player was Revan the entire time! The Jedi Council erased Revan’s memories to have Bastila find the Star Forge by using her bond with Revan. The endings vary depending on the player’s alignment with the Force, whether it be Light Side or Dark Side. 

Potential KOTOR remake--Darth Revan

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What Would A Possible Remake Look Like?

A remake of this magnitude would be impressive, but work needs to be put into the game. While the graphics of the game are great by 2003’s standards, it’s 2021, and the graphics will require a massive overhaul. Imagine seeing this remade with the graphics like those in EA‘s Jedi Fallen Order. Customization will also be critical. In KOTOR, Revan could be a female or a male and you could customize everything from your looks to your lightsaber. You could choose what type of Jedi class you could be, such as Jedi Guardian, Sentinel, or Consular. KOTOR II, which expands the story by following the events of the Jedi Exile, a protege of Revan, even had the added Jedi “stances” or disciplinary forms a character could adopt. This included the Shii Cho, Makashi or Center of Being, which influenced how the characters channeled their Force for defense or increased attack power. If added to the remake, the animations for these changes will be much more defined in 2021 than in 2003. 

Both KOTOR games feature pausable real-time combat, where before each attack commences, you could select the method of attack before the attack started, but you don’t have to wait your turn to attack, like in Final Fantasy X. Turns are not taken between player and enemy and each can attack simultaneously. There is also a hidden D20 such as a Dungeons and Dragons system of chance and plausibility (such as a dice roll) for each attack. Some fans believe this will be an action RPG instead of a D&D-style RPG, where combat will be like Jedi Fallen Order. This would make it a significant change from the classic.

The player and his party fight Sand People in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

Who Would Make it?

The biggest question that looms in the distance for many fans is who will create the Knights of the Old Republic remake? EA, which was initially rumored back in January thanks to Cinelinx? Or the original studio that made it: BioWare? According to Schreier, Aspyr Media will be creating the remake. This is odd since Aspyr is known for porting games or converting games to another platform like Xbox games being available to play on PC or Nintendo Switch. They have already made PC and mobile versions of the KOTOR I and KOTOR II.

Aspyr tends to work alongside other game developers for ports, not create games under their own flag. However, on February 3rd, 2021, Embracer and Saber Interactive purchased Aspyr Media, meaning they now may be working towards creating their own games. Additionally, according to a somewhat investigative Reddit post by mtol115, it is believed that Aspyr hired former BioWare employees to begin work on a project, possibly the KOTOR remake, as early as 2019.

Take It With A Grain Of Salt

If any of these rumors, potential leaks, or reports are true, Aspyr truly has their work cut out for them. Imagine trying to live up to the fans’ expectations for a KOTOR remake. Imagine trying not to completely undo a story or even re-imagine a story to fit in with the current canon that Disney now owns. 

However, EA no longer reserves the right to be the only publisher and developer to make Star Wars games. Lucasfilm Games decided to allow other publishers the freedom to create games under the franchise earlier this year. This gives publishers and developers such as Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment (who are developing an open-world Star Wars game) a chance to make their mark in the galaxy far, far away. 

Due to advancements in graphics and technology, a remake of the classic game is almost necessary at this point. KOTOR’s story aged well, becoming nearly timeless amongst the current Old Republic and pre-Disney Star Wars lore but the graphics and gameplay did not. An action-style RPG would be a fresh and welcome change for many players. The most unwelcome and worrisome change may be adapting the story to the current Star Wars universe under Disney. How would it be adapted to the current state of Star Wars? Even the current Final Fantasy VII Remake had to re-imagine and flesh out the storyline to fit the current Final Fantasy world better. That being said, updating the graphics and the gameplay may be the easiest to execute for a KOTOR remake. Fiddling with the story may be the most difficult challenge.

If what Schreier says is true, Aspyr Media may have the opportunity to take their Ebon Hawk (the ship that you fly in KOTOR) to the stars under Lucasfilm Games. Hopefully, we see a confirmation sometime soon. To Aspyr Media or whatever publisher or developer possibly working on a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake: May 4 be with you!

 

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Kathy Spangler
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