Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Remake Is Overdue - VRGyani News and Media

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Remake Is Overdue

When Visceral Games shut down nearly four years ago, many were left to wonder if that was the end of Dead Space as a franchise. After a tepid response for its third entry, the studio would go on to make Battlefield Hardline, leaving the fate of the franchise even more unlikely, as they were now being put onto other, more lucrative EA properties. Though the studio no longer lives on, fans were excited to see the series come back from the dead, as a remake of the original game was announced at this year’s EA Play.

As EA held the license for Star Wars, fans would look to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in hopes of a return. However, back in 2015, EA’s COO, Peter Moore, spoke about his own company's approach to the growing trend of remasters and remakes. In talking to IGN about the possibility of releasing older games on newer platforms, he explained that if they were to do so, it would be as if they were only doing it because they had “run out of ideas.”

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A statement like that no doubt took the wind out of whatever remake hopes there might have been for Knights of the Old Republic. EA would eventually begin to dip a toe into the remaster pool in 2018 with Burnout Paradise Remastered, though no other remasters would end up being released in the franchise. While LucasArts holds the rights for Knights of the Old Republic, the team behind the game was BioWare, a studio that would become one of the pillars of EA in 2008.

It’s a game that’s still highly regarded to this day, as it lets players forge their own path in a familiar universe. Set 4,000 years before the Galactic Empire comes to power, the game allows you to create your own character and follow their journey. You’ll set out on a path with your ever-expanding crew, as you trek across the galaxy in an attempt to track down and take out the evil Darth Malak. As you travel across various planets you’ll meet memorable characters who will join you, like HK-47, an assassin droid that isn’t afraid to speak its mind. So many times in Star Wars games you’ll get your lightsaber right away, but in Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare really makes it an event. The slow build-up truly makes it a special journey to try and acquire one.

For fans of Mass Effect who might not have played Knights of the Old Republic, you can see the original seeds for many of the game’s themes. Whether it’s the epic space opera setting, the likable and varied crew, or the proto-paragon and renegade system at work, there’s a lot of familiar elements first-time players might recognize. Making tough choices, and deciding to walk the line of the light or dark side is incredibly fun.

Over the years, EA has been heavily criticized for their handling of the Star Wars franchise, of which they have had the license since 2013. Fans have lamented the fact that there have been so few single-player experiences to be had in the universe since their acquisition of the rights. With the release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, however, it felt as if a switch was perhaps flipped at the company. As the Respawn title has reached more than 20 million players, it seems that now more than ever, single-player Star Wars titles are incredibly viable when competent developers are behind them.

With all of this in mind, it seems that now is the perfect time for a return to Knights of the Old Republic. When hoping for high-quality games from BioWare, detractors are quick to reply that BioWare now is not the same studio of old. Though that may be the case, there’s something to be said about Mass Effect Legendary Edition, how its release was handled, and its reception. If anything, with that collection’s release, one should be more than hopeful of the possible prospects that the studio holds, as well as when it comes to touching up and remaking past titles.

If you’ve tried to play Knights of the Old Republic on PC lately, to get a good experience, you’d have to spend a fair amount of time applying fan patches to make it run as well as you’d hope. In addition to PC, it’s also readily available on mobile and Xbox. Availability isn’t necessarily the problem when it comes to the first game in the series but rather accessibility for newcomers, and even returning players.

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A good case study for this type of game could be the original Mass Effect, which, out of the three games getting a facelift in the Legendary Collection, had by far the most drastic improvements. Mass Effect appears to have walked a fine line between remaster and remake, and though that could be seen as an option for Knights of the Old Republic, it’s perhaps one generation too far removed for that to really be effective in capturing new audiences.

With the technological advances already on display even in the early days of this new generation, one has to wonder how bright a Knights of the Old Republic remake could shine if handled correctly. Picturing what could be done with the opening of the game, a tutorial level where you’re assaulted on all fronts while on a Republic ship, is really exciting. There’s also a lot of room for expanding some of the game’s systems as well. Imagine sitting down for some rounds of Pazaak on Taris. This time you might be able to look at the seedy characters that you’re playing against, all while a live band plays that classic Star Wars cantina music in the background. These are just a few things that could be expanded upon that would make the game feel more immersive and lived-in.

The template is already fairly set when it comes to Knights of the Old Republic. It’s a game whose story, characters, and world-building are already highly lauded, particularly in the context of Star Wars video games. Especially appealing now, even possibly more so than it was when it was released, is that it’s set during a time that is rarely explored in the many media Star Wars has dabbled in.

The possibilities of the environmental storytelling that could take place within the game seem endless with how far games have come. Star Wars as a property is already so rich in lore, that with the backbone of an already impeccably crafted experience like Knights of the Old Republic, it’s as if it was already primed for success.

It’s an odd thing to say, but in a way, Star Wars still feels like a property that’s underutilized in the gaming space, at least lately. Though there are LEGO, mobile, and multiplayer titles to get your fix with, true big-budget single-player narrative experiences are few and far between. Perhaps it was Respawn’s success with Jedi: Fallen Order that was the push that EA needed in regards to narrative story-driven titles for the franchise. As EA looks to move past its no remakes philosophy, perhaps Motive Studios is the team to show them the viability of remakes with Dead Space. With all that in mind, here’s hoping that a return to Knights of the Old Republic is somewhere on the horizon.

KEEP READING: Here's How Remakes and Remasters Are Revitalizing Video Game Franchises in 2021



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