There is no doubt that Bioware's Knight of the Old Republic was one of the greatest Star Wars video games ever released, and new rumours are circulating that the franchise may be about to be resurrected.
What is KOTOR?
For those who missed out the first time around, Knights of the Old Republic was a single-player role-playing game set 4000 years before the Skywalker Saga, released on Xbox and PC in 2003. Although gameplay is clunky by today's standards, the story and the interactions that result in your character moving towards the light side or dark side of the Force mean that it is still worth a playthrough.
A sequel, Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, was released in 2004, and an MMO simply called Star Wars: The Old Republic which was set 300 years later expanded on this era of galactic history. Ultimately, though, all three games and spin-off materials are now considered part of Legends, rather than part of the canon timeline, since the 2015 shakeup of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
I won't spoil the plot of either game, because if you don't already know it you deserve to be able to play through the game without known the broader strokes of the plot.
What do we know?
Well, things are a bit murky to be honest. Rumours of a sequel have circulated for years, with a source close to Bioware leaking in 2017 that the developer was working on a sequel. Kotaku later confirmed the story, but clarified that the project was a prototype that was never greenlit by parent company EA who hold the licence for Star Wars games.
In April last year, Kathleen Kennedy told reporters that they had several projects in the works, and that the idea of Knights of the Old Republic had been brought up. A month later, it was reported that Laeta Kalogridis was working on a Knights of the Old Republic movie screenplay.
More recently still, the ambitious multi-media initiative Project Luminous was said to be set in a re-imagined Old Republic era called the "High Republic", while Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order features temples left behind by an ancient race of Force users that would be perfect for exploration via a Knights of the Old Republic style RPG.
What could the new game be about?
While we are taking these rumours with a pinch of salt, it's fun to speculate. The original plan for KOTOR3 would have apparently seen the player face up against an even greater enemy than the Sith we had seen so far in the series, but if there is going to be another Knights of the Old Republic I would think it would be more of a re-imagining rather than a straight sequel, as nothing has really been set in stone for the era since the games were decanonised.
As the era is so far removed from established Star Wars canon they could opt for a remake, keeping the main characters (many of whom are beloved by fans), keeping the broad strokes of the story, but reworking the encounters and plot points to suit the new canon.
Who would make it?
Well, the first two games were developed by Bioware, so they would be the obvious choice. But Bioware has several projects already in the works, namely for the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Anthem franchises. Recently it was reported that EA were hiring for their Star Wars team at Respawn, so it's possible that the success of Jedi: Fallen Order has allowed them to claim this game, too.
This wouldn't be a bad thing as Respawn did a terrific job, although it would mean that the new KOTOR would not have the same feel as it's predecessors. Of course, this new game could always be something else entirely, such is the nature of rumours.
I've never played KOTOR, it sounds great!
It really is! If you like RPGs and you're not afraid of older games with outdated graphics and clunky interfaces then you'll have a good time. KOTOR and KOTOR2 share some gameplay similarities with Bioware's Mass Effect series.
I often see physical copies of both games in pre-owned sections of game stores, but you can also pick them up relatively cheaply on Steam:
As a fan of the Old Republic era I'll be keeping an eye out for more news on this.