Knights of the Old Republic from BioWare 2003 is still one of the most beloved “Star Wars” games, despite its age, eclipsing countless other games bearing the name “Star Wars”. Along with its popularity as a Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic is considered one of the best examples of storytelling and world-building in role-playing games, with a memorable cast of characters and an impressive decision-making process that will inspire role-playing games in the decades to come. Knights of the Old Republic used an adapted form of the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition ruleset as the basis of its gameplay, a system that has definitely started showing its age today.
Since a remake from Aspyr is just around the corner, it’s worth considering the various ways a remake can enhance the original. Aspyr is an experienced team when it comes to transfers and reissues. The catalog includes mobile ports of Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, as well as reissues of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. The remake of Aspyr’s Knights of the Old Republic is his biggest project to date and is likely to differ in many ways from the original when it comes to gameplay, and it is rumored that he will abandon the turn-based system of the original in favor of a combat role-playing game. This step opens the way for KOTOR to improve skills and combat from later games with a similar style.
The gameplay of Mass Effect can be a great source of inspiration
BioWare’s Mass Effect series of sci-fi role-playing games drew inspiration from their earlier Knights of the Old Republic project, from its Paragon/Renegade morality system, which reflects the choice of Light and Dark sides, to a strong emphasis on the members of the player’s group. Mass Effect had a similar skill set to level up, from normal combat abilities to computer hacking skills that could help the group in various ways. Later Mass Effect games expanded this by allowing the player to choose different skill paths that changed the functioning of these abilities. Perhaps a remake of Knights of the Old Republic could take advantage of Mass Effect’s more practical approach to its game systems.
Mass Effect had a wide range of abilities that group members could use, which usually fall under technical, biotic, and combat abilities. Abilities could be mapped to control shortcuts, or the player could initiate a tactical pause, allowing him to select an ability and aim it at the target before removing the pause, similar to the Knights of the Old Republic system in real time with a pause. The categories “Technology”, “Biotics” and “Combat” also perfectly reflect the characters of “Star Wars”. Mass Effect’s technical abilities can be transformed into hacking skills and companion droid abilities, its biotic abilities are essentially Force abilities, and combat abilities are suitable for soldier characters such as Kart, Canderus, and Zaalbar. Indeed, the Mass Effect combat system seems perfectly suited for a Star Wars role-playing game.
Various Mass Effect hacking mini-games are also an example of how a remake of Knights of the Old Republic can enhance the original. In Knights of the Old Republic, there were many locked containers that members of the group could open with sufficient skill, and computer terminals that could be cut to manipulate enemies or open up new opportunities. Opening locks and hacking computers in Knights of the Old Republic was reduced to a simple check of skill points, but with little participation, except for pressing a button. Although the mini-games with potential hacking in the remake should not be as tedious as the full-fledged Sudoku puzzles in Mass Effect: Andromeda, some additional player actions can spice up the process.
MMORPG Old Republic offers many interesting game styles
The combat in Knights of the Old Republic was not particularly diverse: most of the characters were armed with either blasters or lightsabers, which used almost identical sets of abilities, such as a “Quick Shot” blaster and a “Flurry” of melee weapons. The Force abilities were also quite simple, with a set of Dark and Light Side Force abilities such as Lightning, Healing, and Force Speed. For the most part, the abilities in Knights of the Old Republic had a very clear application, and players could go through the entire game using basically the same rotation. To make the remake more interesting, a variety of fighting styles in The Old Republic can serve as a useful guide.
All Old Republic classes can develop completely different styles of play. For example, imperial agents can become snipers who can further specialize either in strong accurate shots, or in using debilitating poisons and crippling effects to destroy enemies from afar. Ranged Force users such as the Sith Inquisitor could focus on using the Force’s Lightning power to deal bursts of damage, or use their dark powers to heal and support their allies.