I’m no console fanboy. Although I will admit that over the past few years, I have held some degree of favouritism of the Microsoft consoles over the Sony ones. This generation might just change things though, having managed to get my hands on a PS5 before even bothering with a new Xbox, I was super excited to see all the trailers announced at Sony’s PlayStation Showcase.
Although one surprise announcement had me bouncing even more than the ones that followed it, despite myself: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake.
Words I never knew I wanted to hear until I heard them reverberating around my skull. While the idea of going back to the Old Republic always lingered at the back of my brain, never in my dreams did I even think we would be returning to there, let alone seeing a remake of the seminal and incredibly influential video game from Bioware in 2003.
Kotor was a massively important game. Not just for me but for Star Wars fans, for CRPG fans, for the Star Wars franchise itself and for Bioware as a developer. Giving them the cachet to eventually go on and grace us with the Mass Effect trilogy.
Now, because we live in a time of cynicism and hot takes, social media is filled with trepidation and people complaining about this getting announced. Personally, I couldn’t be happier about it. As much as I love Kotor, I don’t hold either of those first two games up on a pedestal as sacred. As perfect games that should never be sullied by remaking them, of course not.
Honestly, this might be my own hot take, but I enjoy those games despite the gameplay and the visuals in this day and age, not because of them. They’re a type of game you never see made anymore, they’re dated. Not unplayable by any means, but they wear their age like an ugly tie. You can’t ignore it.
With little more than a teaser and a few scant paragraphs from Sony to go on, there are so many questions buzzing around in my head from the announcement of this game. Both about it as a video game, and about its place in the franchise as it exists today. So much so that I had to come on here and let them all fall out of me and just let my feelings fall onto the page.
We live in an era where hearing a game is getting remade is filled with so many different interpretations and meanings. A time where remakes and remasters are very distinct from one another and sometimes still used interchangeably. Look at Mass Effect: Legendary edition from earlier in the year.
It’s a game that falls into the category of both a remake and a remaster in my eyes. As there was a lot of work done to the original game to make it play and feel much different (and better) than it it back when it came out. Where as the second and third game in the franchise don’t actually feel much different at all. Just getting tidied up and given a new coat of paint, hence remaster.
Given my earlier comments about Kotor showing its age, this remake has to be a full, from the ground up job. Taking that story and those characters and making an entirely new game around them all. And right now, when I hear about a game I love getting remake I can’t help but immediately think of the president set by the gold standard in video game remakes: Final Fantasy VII.
I get that FFVIII is a special case and a hugely influential video game. But I feel like Kotor is one of those games that comes very close to being as beloved and as important as that game. Maybe more so given how big Star Wars is as a franchise toay.
We’re in the time of full remakes as well. Resident Evil 2, Tony Hawks 1+2 and the recently announced Dead Space remake. Personally, I’d be more than happy for a remake of Knights of the Old Republic to be a video game of an entirely different genre than the original, more action RPG than the hardcore CRPG that the first game was.
As fun as rolling D20s to do anything is in a pen and paper RPG was, doing it in video game is a little bit less fun in my eyes. Personally, I’d be perfectly happy to see a much more action orientated game than the original. But considering the sheer amount of customisability you had when it came to how you created your character, I really wonder what direction of the developer will take.
Speaking of which.
So far, the only name attached to the development of the remake are Asypr, a company primarily known for porting older games to modern systems rather than developing themselves. Which puts something of a damper on my grand ideas of a FFVII level remake from this game.
I don’t know if there is some more information out there that I haven’t seen yet, but seeing Aspyr attached to this game makes me wonder if I am really getting ahead of myself and we’re just going to get a similar game to the older one, only with much nicer graphics.
Like I said at the top. So many questions still remain unanswered around this game. So many so that the possibilities swirling around in my brain might be running away with me and giving this announcement a much grander significance than it’s actually going to end up getting by the time we learn what it is.
Which will end up going hand in hand with the status of this game and its story in the greater Stat Wars Canon.
Is the old Republic canon again?
It was always one of the things I loved so much about the Star Wars franchise is that every story mattered. In the days of the old Expanded universe, every comic, video game and novel fit into the grander continuity of the Star Wars canon. Even if it ended up being a bit messy and contradicting a later story because of how large an unwieldly it eventually became, there was this sense that it all mattered.
Then Disney happened. Bought up the property and relegated everything except the six movies and the Clone Wars series into “Legends” continuity. Including the events of the Old Republic 4000 years before the events of the movies we know and love. Or so we thought.
The Old Republic is a era of Star Wars contained in its own special little bubble. Having a ton of its own stories that had no real connection to the more popular tales of the Skywalker era. With a few ancient Sith Lords and their legacies being the few points of connection between the two.
As far as I’m aware, the Old Republic was never directly addressed by Disney and their rebooting of the continuity. One would assume it to be relegated into the same Legends continuity as everything else, if not for a single piece of media that seemed to be the exception to the rule.
Bioware’s MMO: Star Wars: The Old Republic. An online game that continues to this day and is a direct sequel to both of the Knights of the Old Republic games that preceded it. The MMO was the last lingering piece of old continuity that continued into the Disney era of Star Wars and didn’t get shuttered like so many other projects that were in the works at the time.
Anyone remember Star Wars 1313?
With the announcement of a remake of the original Kotor, does this mean that Disney are planning on putting the events of the video game back into official canon, along with Darth Revan and his cavalcade of proto Garruses?
Again, it’s up in the air. I really feel it might come down to what kind of remake this game ends up being. If this is an Aspyr job and the game is more heavy duty remaster rather than FFVV level remake, I’d be more inclined to think Disney are using this as a fan pleasing stunt rather than a genuine vision to reintroduce this era of Star Wars back into the continuity.
However, if we do get all of the bells and whistles included. It makes me wonder whether they do have true visions to not only re-establish this era of the canon, but expand upon it. It’s a nice thought, but in reality, I feel like I’m probably getting ahead of myself.
They have already started the era of the High Republic, a multimedia project that takes place 200 years before the events of the prequel trilogy and very much fulfils that same purpose of telling a story in another, disconnected era of Star Wars where Jedi are everywhere and much more aspirational than they were during the fall of the Republic.
Not just that, we have a precedence already set that Disney are more than willing to produce non-canon Disney content. The Star Wars Visions, anime project are a bunch of stand alone stories where the creators are being given total free reign, thus don’t have to feel inclined to follow the established canon in any way.
So if Disney are happy to put out an anime series that doesn’t fit into the continuity already established. Whose to say that the remake of Kotor is just that, a stand alone remake of a much beloved video game that has absolutely no bearing on their current plans for the actual developing story of Star Wars and its future projects