May the force be with you, but not Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic III
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was beyond revolutionary when it came out.
It’s a given that any game with the Star Wars logo is going to sell, but Knights of the Old Republic was no ordinary game. Headed up by BioWare at a time when they could basically do no wrong, gamers knew they’d be in for a treat with this sprawling Star Wars adventure. Not only did Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic meet the hype, it practically established the formula that BioWare would use for future games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Even Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was a hit, despite being a tangibly different experience produced by a separate developer.
To this day, both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic titles are considered some of the best Star Wars games ever. And the chances we’ll ever get a proper successor to either of them is virtually nonexistent.
Yes, in a true case of “this is why we can’t have nice things,” Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic III is really, really never going to happen. Join us as we untangle the myriad reasons why this franchise will forever stay a duology.
1: Star Wars: The Old Republic
The truth of the matter is, we already have a successor to Knights of the Old Republic. Kind of.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is BioWare’s debut MMORPG. It’s not technically related to Knights of the Old Republic but… come on. It’s BioWare, it’s only two words removed from the same title, and certain key mechanics (light/dark side alignment, etc.) carry over. It’s clear that this was intended to be the future of the franchise.
Being that MMORPGs usually require the time sink of an entire single-player RPG to get to the “good part,” I can’t exactly describe Star Wars: The Old Republic in depth to you. One thing I can say, however, is that an MMORPG is never a replacement for a quality single player RPG. Unfortunately, The Old Republic has been running for a decade now (yes, it’s been that long), and at no point has a proper Knights of the Old Republic game even been teased. As long as The Old Republic remains running, it’s unlikely that funds would be diverted into a similar yet separate project like Knights of the Old Republic III.
2: The original developers have moved on
BioWare has changed a lot since 2003. After being bought by Electronic Arts in 2007, BioWare released two major trilogies (Mass Effect and Dragon Age). In this time, their team changed a lot. New faces joined the crew while many of the old guard have passed on the torch. Most notably was the 2010 retirement of Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, the two remaining co-founders of the company.
Now, some of you might be wondering why Obsidian couldn’t take the reigns to develop Knights of the Old Republic III. Unfortunately, being that Electronic Arts is the exclusive rights holder of Star Wars video games, the chances of Obsidian getting the license would be pretty slim. More on this later.
3: Disney wiped it from the canon
If you are reading this article, I don’t need to tell you that Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012. If you try to tell me otherwise, you’re lying.
Here’s the thing: the Disney overloads did more to the series than make some new movies. In 2014, the entire Star Wars expanded universe – which spanned supplemental books, comics, games, and more – was deemed non-canon to the franchise. And yes, this includes Knights of the Old Republic. In other words, a theoretical Knights of the Old Republic III would be a sequel to two games that technically don’t exist in its own timeline. In laymen’s terms, the entire series would have to be rebooted.
Disney doesn’t seem to have an aversion to utilizing elements of the old Star Wars expanded universe. Plot points like General Grievous’ backstory are still referenced in supplemental material to the new movies. The hot rumor of the moment is that Knights of the Old Republic could eventually become its own movie trilogy, though that wouldn’t fill the void that a new game would. Plus it’s probably not Rian Johnson’s new trilogy.
4: EA is EA
Look, I’m generally averse to putting on the old “angry gamer” persona. There’s a lot of garbage in the industry that gets me riled up, but it’s usually not enough for me to grab my pitchfork. Yet when it comes to Electronic Arts, well… let’s just say they don’t exactly inspire confidence.
It’s not exactly brave to bash EA these days. They massively screwed up Star Wars: Battlefront II to the point of inspiring government intervention against their practices, for one thing. But here’s the other thing about EA: they’re not interested in single player games anymore. We’re serious. If your game doesn’t have some form of multiplayer or recurring microtransactions in place, EA isn’t interested.
Okay, that isn’t totally true, but it’s clear that “games as a service” is EA’s predominate interest. If you look at EA’s big budget titles from 2017’s E3, you’ll notice that most had some form of “games as service” model in place. Heck, even if you look at EA’s planned Star Wars games upon grabbing the exclusive license, it should be no surprise that the single-player Star Wars game was the one that didn’t see the light of day. Sure, it’s not totally fair to paint EA as a tyrannical overlord who wantonly kills single player games. But… you know, that’s just their track record. And again, they are the sole gatekeepers for Star Wars video games today.
While the previous points make a new Knights of the Old Republic game improbable, EA’s projected future for Star Wars games makes it basically impossible. On the other hand, even if we did get a new Knights of the Old Republic, would it really be the game you’re looking for? I mean, you know in this day and age it’d get a more action-based combat system, there’d be an expensive season pass, and it’d probably be open world (because everything is open world). At what point would a Knights of the Old Republic sequel cease being a proper sequel in anything but name only? Because even in a best case scenario, that’d be the type of game we’re looking at.
Perhaps it’s best for us to be grateful for what we have. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II are miracle games. In an age where licensed games were mostly mediocre, Knights of the Old Republic showed how to bring a vivid movie universe to life in video game form. If it’s been a while since you’ve played them – or maybe you’ve never played them at all – then maybe it’s due time to run through them again.
Like the original Star Wars trilogy, you might be a little put off by how dated they are. But at the end of the day, there’s no mistaking a classic.