Good followers of gaming news will have known by now that Bioware’s Austin Studios have been working on an MMORPG project for quite a while. They still haven’t announced what the hell it really is, then again, they didn’t tell us the meaning of life when we asked them. But Primotech is reporting a rumour that this mysterious game is in fact based on Knights of the Old Republic franchise, owned by LucasArts.
KotOR, entirely developed by Bioware and published by LucasArts, quickly became an RPG masterpiece and yet another notch in Bioware’s worthy hat. It’s a really great game – you should go play it right now. It was followed by a very rushed sequel, developed by Obsidian. While Obsidian didn’t do a bad job on it, LA gave them an unreasonably small development time, which made for a hurried game. It could have been an epic game had it been given its time. Even then, it’s a decent game worth playing.
This is Bioware’s first MMORPG project, but it isn’t a first for LucasArts (that is, if the rumour is right). LA had earlier come out with Star Wars: Galaxies, whose popularity graph resembles Microsoft’s sales graph – in reverse. With a world so dense and rich to tap, there is no doubt that LA will persistently try open-world games in Star Wars, and another MMORPG, based on one of their best property’s – KotOR is rather predictable.
Now, I’m a KotOR fan and my response is mixed. First off, KotOR is LucasArt’s first singleplayer RPG in the Star Wars universe, which makes it an important game. It did not ship with a multiplayer, and hence was completely built on singleplayer (which ended up in one of the most richly-made singleplayer game I’ve ever played.
Taking KotOR straight into massive multiplayer is a bold, albeit predictable step. After all, the stories of both KotOR games were epic enough – it’ll be sort of silly to have a string of epic events within a span of fifty years. A MMORPG’s story will be considerably toned down and open. How that will fare for KotOR-style gameplay, I find it difficult to guess. But even then, I’m a little disappointed, because if the rumour is right, there is a good chance that a singleplayer KotOR III will not come not. (
But fear not, spacers. We will bring you more news and toilet paper as they become available.