Friday, 24 January 2020

Rumour: new STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC game in development

Fansite Cinelinx, which broke the news about the Star Wars Obi-Wan TV show last year, has reported that a new Knights of the Old Republic title is in development at Electronic Arts.

The original Knights of the Old Republic was developed by BioWare and released by Lucasfilm in 2003 and is fondly remembered as one of the greatest Star Wars video games of all time. Its sequel, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the first game from Obsidian Entertainment, is almost as acclaimed but was released in a notoriously buggy state. In 2011 BioWare and Electronic Arts released The Old Republic, a massively multiplayer RPG which also served as a sequel-of-sorts to the earlier two games.

BioWare has apparently been keen to make a proper Knights of the Old Republic III for some years and discussed the project several times with parent company EA after they acquired the Star Wars licence. Reportedly some prototyping work was done in 2015 but was then put on ice whilst the company focused on Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem.

Cinelinx's report is interesting, as it suggests that the game currently being developed is a reboot of the Knights of the Old Republic game, part-remake and part-sequel, that would bring it into the new canon of the Disney era. The approach is similar to that of the recent God of War reboot game.

This news comes as Lucasfilm is apparently working on "Project Luminous," a multimedia "event" which will apparently encompass video games and comic books launching in 2021, with a design to feeding into the next set of live-action films. These will reportedly be set 400 years before the events of The Phantom Menace in an era called the "High Republic." These reports baffled some fans, who wondered if they'd dropped a zero and were in fact referring to the Old Republic era of 4,000 years earlier, the same time period as Knights of the Old Republic. Another possibility is that the Old Republic era is being retconned to taking place much more recently. This is given credence by reports in 2019 that the showrunner of Altered Carbon was writing a move script inspired by Knights of the Old Republic.

What is interesting is that there is no mention of BioWare being involved in the new project. BioWare are still actively developing Anthem after a less-than-stellar launch, are also developing a fourth Dragon Age game and reportedly are now in pre-production on a fifth Mass Effect game. Electronic Arts developing a new Old Republic game but giving it to another of their studios would seem unlikely and rather disrespectful to BioWare, but given the limited bandwidth at BioWare it would seem the only conclusion if this game is indeed to be released in the next two years or so.

More news as it develops.

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