That time, Sony underestimated the power of BioWare
The great announcement
Sony, in the PlayStation Showcase of 2021, showed the lineup for the newest next-generation console PS5. In this event, one of the most important surprises for the audience was the announcement of the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic remake (Kotor). This incredible news makes the Star Wars community very excited and anxious for this historical event.
Sony confirms that this remake should have arrived at the launch of the PS5, but Sony’s big mistake is behind the corner.
The evaluation mistake
Sony entrusted the development of Kotor Remake to Aspyr, a software house that makes portings and remasters for third-party studios.
Aspyr have worked with Lucas Film for the porting of Kotor on mobile, and others recently star wars games like Republic Commando remastered. A remake is a very hard challenge, especially for a studio without the necessary knowledge to do it, but in this case, the obstacle was too much to deal with.
After the long silence, the long delay of the game, and the “not good” demo, Sony took the decision to remove the game production from Aspyr.
The development restarted from the beginning in the more expert hands of Embracer Group.
The possible cancellation
The game, after the change of developer, has been in a silent condition for years, and this wasn’t good. Three weeks ago, Sony removed the announcement trailer from its official channel and justified this with a simple explanation: “The music rights are declined”.
This information creates a lot of confusion and makes the Star Wars community more frustrated and worried, because this was another failure of the Lucas Film gaming management team after the Disney acquisition. The acquisition has caused many problems in the last few years, like the cancellation of many important projects like Star Wars 1313( a tps action with Bounty Hunters in Coruscant), the troubled game dedicated to Darth Maul (Battle of the Sith Lords), the legal case versus EA for Star Wars Battlefront 2 thanks to the invasive microtransactions called Surprise Mechanics by EA in court.
Another cancellation was the open-world Star Wars game written by Amy Henning (writer of Uncharted and Legacy of Kain). Sony and Embracer don’t have updated players yet after this bad situation.
What Is Kotor and why Is more than a masterpiece
Knights Of The Old Republic it is an RPG game based on the Star Wars franchise and developed by BioWare in 2003 with LucasFilm. The game was launched on the first Xbox and PC.
LucasFilm gives BioWare a choice: create a game based on the last movie at the time (the Clone Wars) or create an original story based on the canonical universe.
BioWare chose to create a story 4000 years before the prequel trilogy, in the High Repubblic era, to have more freedom.
Kotor was a revolution because BioWare wanted to use the camera behind the shoulders; all primary and secondary dialogues are dubbed with the right languages of all alien species to maximize immersion and the management of the narration.
Kotor was a forerunner of the Mass Effect structure.
Kotor uses a combat system based on Dungeons and Dragons system, with an invisible dice of 20. The players have to select the action, and the dice give an effect; this can change with some elements like difficulty and equipment.
Kotor has an impressive and long story with many choices to make, sometimes harder and more surprising.
A morality system based on the light and dark sides, influenced by the actions of the player and by the party members, can give different opinions based on their ideas and cultures or completely change the destiny of an entire planet.
The evolution of the character from a normal soldier to a Jedi or Sith is totally in the hands of the player.
Why Kotor Is the forerunner of Mass Effect
BioWare creates a new narration sequence with Kotor; this system works in this way:
1: character creation: BioWare cured this mechanic in depth for all games until Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2.
2: Introductive Mission: used like a tutorial to introduce the basic mechanics and the main threat.
3: First city: the second step in BioWare RPG, the first city introduces the player to the main characters, recruiting the first companions, and learning how to resolve the main mystery in the game (Kotor: star forge, Mass Effect: defeat Saren).
4: free exploration and missions order: BioWare offers the players the possibility to complete the different main and secondary quests in the order chosen by the players.
The player can explore and level up his character and party members with the time he needs.
5: Interlude: After some missions, there’s an important event that changes in unpredictable ways the story and the relations with party members.
For example, one of the most famous interlude missions is Virmire, with the most heartbreaking choice in gaming history (sacrifice Kaidan or Ashley).
6: Final Journey and Last Battle: At the end of all BioWare games, there’s a final battle with some surprises.
Everything depends on the player’s choice, and there are many endings for notable replayability. BioWare, with this system and the new possibilities of the next generation of consoles at the time, created the Evolution of Kotor and Mass Effect.
Mass Effect uses all the best mechanics of Kotor and modifies some of them, like the combat system, in real time. The future of these two series is uncertain.
The remake can hit the gaming industry like baldur’s gate 3
Kotor is not an easy remake to do.
Not only for the complexity of the narration, gameplay, and RPG mechanics, but for one reason. The game was made with Heart.
The extremely detailed planets, the exploration of the different cultures in depth, like the Wookie codes and Mandalorian cult, the different languages of the alien species dubbed perfectly, and the highly well-written main characters make Kotor a difficult game to remake. Remaking Kotor is harder than Sony Imagine at the start.
The remake Is still in a precarious situation, the only way to save this important project is to entrust it to some of the most expert gaming studios of Sony, like Blue Point or Santa Monica Studios.
This solution can probably save the project and give a new life to this masterpiece of gaming history.
We see on the ebon Hawk!