Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most beloved Star Wars games of all time. When the role-playing game was released on PC and the original Xbox in 2003, it received near universal critical acclaim and a special place in gamers’ hearts for its shocking mid-game twist.
The game got a sequel from Obsidian Entertainment, subtitled The Sith Lords, and it was famous for its edgy, subversive take on The Force. But what if Bioware did the sequel instead? That’s what Eurogamer’s Robert Purchese looked into when he talked to James Ohlen, director of Bioware’s massively multiplayer online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Had they followed up on their own game, Bioware's idea was to take a Yoda-like figure, someone from the unnamed species Yoda comes from, and exploit the inherent trust that Star Wars fans have for such a character.
That character was going to train you in the first part of the game but then you were going to discover this Yoda figure was actually not the good Yoda you expected...He was training you to essentially be his enforcer, a Dark Lord to conquer the universe, and he was going to become the main villain.
The primary reason this two-page concept never got off the ground was the decision by Bioware bosses Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk to change the Bioware's creative trajectory. Instead of making a new Knights of the Old Republic game or a follow up to Baldur's Gate, they decided to start working on their own IP.
"It was a very smart decision on their part," Ohlen told Eurogamer. "In order for a company to be successful and control its own destiny you need to own your own IP, and we didn't own Dungeons & Dragons or Star Wars. Mass Effect was something we decided we had to do instead of another Star Wars game."
So the KOTOR team became the Mass Effect team, while Ohlen set himself up with the team that would make Dragon Age: Origins. That's right, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, the most successful blockbuster RPG franchises in gaming history, were born from the ashes of Knights of the Old Republic 2.