ith the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, developed by Respawn Entertainment, the future of Star Wars games is looking up. There are many more Star Wars games planned. This includes another title from Respawn Entertainment inspired by Star Wars: Dark Forces, an untitled open-world game from Ubisoft, the mobile game Star Wars: Hunters, and Star Wars: Eclipse, developed by Quantic Dream (the maker of Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human).
Even with this future lineup, one game has notably gone missing: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Remake. The original Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is not only an influential game within the Star Wars franchise but a monumental game within the medium. Fans have been requesting a remake of the game for a long time. A remake was even confirmed in development in 2021. But ever since then, the game has gone dark, with no other trailers or announcements providing updates. So will a remake of the beloved Star Wars game ever see the light of day?
Why Fans Have Been Dying for a Knights of the Old Republic Remake
Released 20 years ago, Knights of the Old Republic was developed by BioWare and published by Lucasarts. If the name BioWare sounds familiar, that’s because the developer would later go on to also make the highly-acclaimed and beloved sci-fi video game series Mass Effect. Both games share many commonalities: action role-playing, deep sci-fi lore, impactful player choices, and an engaging narrative story, to say the least. Some would even say Knights of the Old Republic was a stepping stone for BioWare in making Mass Effect. Both would also become influential titles in their own right.
Knights of the Old Republic was also one of the first ever big Star Wars-related projects that delved way back into the saga’s timeline. Set thousands of years before the mainline movies, the game gave birth to what would eventually become known as The Old Republic Era. Unlike the movies, The Old Republic Era is a period in which the Jedi and the Sith are plentiful. The games provide a look at a time when the conflict between the two felt like a full-fledged war, with large-scale battles between multiple lightsaber-wielders.
KOTOR was a historic moment for video game storytelling. While games did tell great stories back then, and plenty of amazing writers worked within the industry, Knights of the Old Republic’s story was highly ambitious. At the time, KOTOR told a highly cinematic story with cutting-edge graphics, high-fidelity CG cutscenes, and an engaging storyline that involved the player’s choices. Not to mention that the game also features one of the most iconic twists in gaming history. The iconic twist within KOTOR paved the way for even bigger twists in gaming, like the one in Bioshock.
That’s why the news of a possible remake in the works was a big deal for some. While the game was remastered and ported for newer platforms, fans were hoping it would eventually receive more than “a fresh coat of paint.” Rumors swirled around that a remake was in development at Aspyr Media. This wasn’t officially confirmed until a trailer was shown at a Playstation Showcase in 2021. In it, fans got a brief glimpse at Darth Revan sporting a red lightsaber, the official title, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Remake, and official word that Aspyr Media was working on the project.
Aspyr Media and the Remake’s Known Development
Aspyr Media had worked on the Star Wars franchise before, porting and remastering some of the franchise’s older games onto newer platforms. Aspyr was the developer that worked on the HD remaster of the original KOTOR. In fact, it is still producing HD remasters and ports of some older Star Wars titles. But up until that point, Aspyr had yet to develop their own large title from the ground up.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Remake would be bigger than any of Aspyr’s previous projects. The developer most likely would have had to rework, redesign, and rebuild elements from the original. It also would have had to create brand-new models, environments, and visuals for a new generation of hardware. Aspyr couldn’t just touch up the game’s graphics and adapt some of the old controls, as it had done with remasters in the past.
Within a year, game development was halted. It was reported that the studio heads at Aspyr Media were not happy with the work that was already done. It was also reported that development was being moved to Saber Interactive. Embracer Group, the holding company of Aspyr Media and Saber Interactive, confirmed the switch. There’s been no further update provided and no further word on whether Saber Interactive has restarted the project entirely or picked up where Aspyr Media left off.
The Future of Knights of the Old Republic
While Knights of the Old Republic – Remake’s development doesn’t appear to be very positive, there is still hope for the game’s future. In fact, with Lucasfilm’s recently revised timeline including The Old Republic Era, there seems to be at least some acknowledgment and renewed interest in the game and its spinoffs.
The original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was a pioneer in developing the Star Wars timeline beyond the mainline movies, establishing The Old Republic Era. It is also an important and influential video game that helped pave the way for cinematic storytelling within video games. If Lucasfilm and the rest of the creators working on Star Wars want to delve further into this era, it’d be unwise to overlook the highly influential game that started it all.