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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: Knights of the Old Republic on Steam Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords on Steam As a fan of the Old Republic era I'll be keeping an eye out for more news on this.
For over a thousand years the Galactic Republic reigned unhindered, protected by Jedi Knights who swore to uphold peace and justice across the galaxy. But beneath the surface lay a shadowy faction bent on exacting their revenge. Peace is a lie. There is only Passion. Through Passion I gain Strength. Through Strength I gain Power. Through Power I gain Victory. Through Victory my chains are Broken. The Force shall free me. The Code of the Sith The Sith were an ancient order of dark-side wielding Force-users. They were once numerous, commanding armies against the Republic until an all-out war resulted in their extinction… or so the Jedi thought. During a period that became known as the Hundred-Year-Darkness a former Jedi who was dissatisfied with the ways of the Jedi founded the Sith Order. The Sith believed in harnessing emotions such as anger to fuel their connection to the Force, and this drew them into conflict with their former brethren in the Force. The Sith were forced into exile by the Jedi, and settled on Moraband where they constructed huge temples and spread out, enslaving planets such as Malachor and Yavin 4. During the Jedi-Sith war, the Sith succeeded in capturing the Republic capital world of Coruscant, along with the Jedi Temple itself, but the ultimate downfall of this age of the Sith would be their own greed, as they turned on each other in their quest for power. Darth Bane At the conclusion of the Jedi-Sith War Darth Bane stood as the sole survivor of the Sith Lords. He realised that infighting had sealed their fate and allowed the Jedi to gain the upper hand in the conflict. Only by limiting their own numbers could the Sith survive: operating in the shadows to avoid attracting the attention of the Jedi. He enacted the Rule of Two, proclaiming that there could be only two Dark Lords of the Sith at one time; a master and an apprentice. This way the Sith would master every aspect of the Force and pass on their knowledge until they had finally achieved the power of immortality. They Jedi were fooled by this ploy, and believed that the oppression of the Sith had finally been vanquished. Darth Plagueis Centuries passed and the Sith Lords learnt much more about the Force. Darth Plagueis the Wise, as he would become known, mastered the secrets of manipulating the midichlorians to create life. This was a vital step in obtaining the immortality the Sith craved, and crucial to destroying the Jedi. Darth Sidious Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy, and we will have peace. Darth Sidious Plagueis’ own apprentice was well placed to further the Sith agenda. Darth Sidious, or Sheev Palpatine as he was known to the public, was born to a wealthy family from Naboo. With help from his master, Sidious rose through the political ranks to represent his homeworld in the Galactic Senate, where he saw it's corruption firsthand. When Sidious was certain his position of power was secured he secretly acquired his own apprentice from the Nightsisters of Dathomir, and killed his master while he slept. Using his political know-how he forced a conflict within the Republic while he played both sides: Sidious promised power to the greedy Trade Federation and orchestrated a blockage of his home planet of Naboo, while Palpatine gained favour in the Galactic Senate. His plan paid off and through his shrewd political dealings he positioned himself as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. The Jedi spent considerable effort trying to crack the mystery of the Sith, but such was Sidious’ skill with the dark side of the Force he was able to conceal his identity from Jedi Council members, including Yoda and Mace Windu. By manipulating both sides of an escalating conflict, Sidious was able to gather more political support and stayed in power long past his term. When his identity was finally discovered and revealed, the Jedi rushed to stop him. Sidious proclaimed that this action was a Jedi plot to overthrow the Republic and declared that he would continue to serve the people as Emperor. Sidious personally issued Order 66, which commanded the clone army of the Republic to turn on the Jedi. With their ranks devastated, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi engaged the Sith Lords but failed to topple them and were forced into exile leaving the Galactic Empire to rule the galaxy. Darth Maul At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge. Darth Maul Sidious raised his first apprentice from infancy to be a blunt weapon to hurl against the Jedi. The Zabrak, Darth Maul was fearsome to behold and was a highly skilled assassin and lightsaber duellist. When Jedi Knights whisked the Queen of Naboo away from danger during the Trade Federation blockade, Sidious sent Maul to track them down. The Sith revealed their existence and the Jedi were taken completely by surprise. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn fell to Maul's blade, but his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi avenged his death, slicing Maul in half and sending him plummeting down a reactor shaft. Maul wasn’t about to let a little thing like that stop him: clinging on to life through his rage, as he fell he used the Force to grab onto an air vent and escape death. After a decade of convalescence he formed his own criminal army known as the Shadow Collective, and in the chaos of the Clone War he conquered Mandalore. Unfortunately for Maul, his plans jeopardised those of his former master, and Darth Sidious confronted and defeated him. After losing Mandalore, Maul became the head of the criminal syndicate known as Crimson Dawn, and plotted against his former master and successive apprentices until he was thwarted by the Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. Eventually, he would learn that Obi-Wan Kenobi had survived the Jedi Purge, and vowed to to destroy him for taking his true destiny from him, only this time Kenobi finished the job. Darth Tyranus To replace Maul, Sidious reached out to former Jedi Master Dooku, who had left the Jedi Order to reclaim his wealth and title of Count of Sorenno. Dooku had also seen the stagnation of the Republic and the arrogance of the Jedi. He became Darth Tyranus and helped his master orchestrate the secret creation of a clone army for the Republic, and oversaw a separatist movement to rise against the Republic. Tyranus was highly skilled with both a lightsaber and the Force and managed to escape the Jedi at the Battle of Geonosis, an event that was used to ignite the war that Sidious needed to accelerate the Sith plot. With Sidious leading the Galactic Republic and Tyranus leading the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the galaxy was soon embroiled in a civil war that spread the Jedi thin across the galaxy. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious. Darth Tyranus Tyranus was wary of his master and secretly trained at least three apprentices of his own with the intention of overthrowing Sidious, and even tried to coax Obi-Wan Kenobi to his side. During the last years of the Clone War, Sidious engineered the kidnapping of his alter ego Chancellor Palpatine, and pitted Tyranus against the young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Skywalker quickly overpowered the Sith Lord, and spurred on by Palpatine he killed Tyranus. Darth Vader When Qui-Gon Jinn discovered young Anakin Skywalker, he believed the boy to be the Chosen One of a Jedi prophecy that foretold the ultimate destruction of the Sith. Sidious watched with interest as Skywalker grew in the Force, safely ensconced within the Jedi Order. It would take years of careful grooming to win him to his side, so in the guise of Chancellor Palpatine, Sidious became a friend and confidant to Skywalker, all the while sowing seeds of distrust of the Jedi in his mind. Soon I will have a new apprentice. One far younger, and more powerful. Darth Sidious After the defeat of Count Dooku, Skywalker discovered that Palpatine was really the Sith Lord the Jedi had been looking for all along. Sidious claimed that only he could prevent Anakin’s wife from certain death, but despite this Anakin told Jedi Master Mace Windu, who then took a contingent of Jedi Knights to face the Dark Lord of the Sith. Disobeying Windu’s order to remain at the Temple, Skywalker returned to the Chancellor's office to find Windu preparing to vanquish Palpatine. Sidious pleaded for Anakin to save him, convincing the him that this was all part of a plot to overthrow the Republic. Skywalker’s intervention lead to Windu’s death, and he took his place at Sidious’ side as Darth Vader. Vader's first task was to take a unit of clone troopers to the Jedi Temple and slaughter the Jedi that remained there. Vader was severely injured in his duel with his former master, Kenobi, but Sidious saved him and encased him in a specialised suit to preserve his life. He served as the Emperor's executor, operating mostly outside the Empire's regular chain of command, and hunting down Jedi who had slipped into hiding. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force. Darth Vader Years later Vader found himself aboard the Empire’s new ultimate weapon, the Death Star, and faced and defeated Kenobi. A young man named Luke Skywalker gained fame amongst the rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic by rescuing rebel leader Princess Leia and destroying the Death Star. When Sidious and Vader learnt of “the son of Skywalker”, they vowed that he would be turned to the dark side or destroyed. Vader attempted to turn Skywalker to the dark side, intending to overthrow Sidious and rule the galaxy with his son at his side, but ultimately Skywalker refused and escaped. Vader obsessed over relocating Skywalker, and spent considerable resources on this goal. On Endor, as the Rebel Alliance mounted a mission to destroy the second Death Star, Vader was again confronted by Skywalker, who hoped to turn Vader back to the light side of the Force. Vader denied there was any conflict within him and turned Skywalker over to the Emperor as he had been ordered. True to form, the Emperor goaded Skywalker into fighting his apprentice. When Vader lay defeated Sidious offered Skywalker a place at his side, but he refused to turn to the dark side. As Vader watched as Sidious tortured his son with deadly Force lightning, he recognised the light that remained within him and turned against his master; throwing him to his death, taking irreparable damage to his suit in the process. With both master and apprentice perishing, the ancient line of the Sith Lords was finally broken and the Jedi prophecy fulfilled. Other dark side users would inevitably follow, but they could never claim to be a true Dark Lord of the Sith.