Friday 5 February 2021

RUMOUR: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC project underway at Aspyr Media

Aspyr Media, a video game porting company based in Austin, Texas, are reportedly working on a Knights of the Old Republic project in conjunction with Lucasfilm Games, according to strong rumours.

Aspyr is best-known for porting games from one platform to another, including multiple BioWare games including the original Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. Just this month they were acquired by Embracer Group and have been partnered with Embracer's subsidiary, Saber Interactive. Saber have a mixed history of ports (including recently working on the Halo: Master Chief Collection on PC and the next-gen versions of The Witcher 3) and original games including Evil Dead: The Game and the popular off-road games Spintires and SnowRunner.

According to a mixed release of information from investor calls and podcasts, Aspyr are now working on a licensed, original IP project with a budget of $70 million. They have also been busy hiring artists, designers and writers, including a large number of ex-BioWare Austin staff (many of whom worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic) to effectively form a studio from scratch for this project.

The budget is interesting; on the low side for a totally original, AAA Star Wars game, but reasonable for a thorough re-imagining and remake (versus a much more simplistic remaster) of one of the most popular and acclaimed CRPGs of the 2000s.

This may make sense. Disney recently omitted the Old Republic Era from its new canon timeline, but is maintaining The Old Republic MMORPG as an ongoing concern, complete with input from the Star Wars Story Group (the keepers of the canon). Remaking Knights of the Old Republic (and possibly its sequel) for a new audience with some changes to keep things to their liking is a solid move.

Two years ago, Disney were also apparently considering ideas for a Knights of the Old Republic movie or TV series from Altered Carbon writer Laeta Kalogridis, but this idea was put on the backburner due to the under-performance of The Rise of Skywalker and subsequent reshuffling of ideas for the property.

Hopefully this rumour will be clarified in the near future.

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