A far-flung dream for many gamers out there might one day soon come true: A new video game based on the beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise is reportedly in development.
BioWare’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) was the first game about a galaxy far, far away that disregarded the Skywalker family and set out on its own story about a Darth Revan, a Jedi who lived about 4,000 years before the original films. Revan fell to the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and then became a blank slate for the player to shape as they saw fit thanks to a convenient bout of amnesia. The role-playing game was so successful that Obsidian Entertainment developed a sequel a year later, which was met with critical acclaim.
The franchise seemed to be dead in the water for more than 15 years, but new rumors that emerged in 2021 have reinspired hope, of all things, that a new Star Wars role-playing game was secretly in development. Here's everything we know about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3.
Is KOTOR 3 in development?
Star Wars insider Bespin Bulletin — which has a fairly reliable track record when it comes to Star Wars news — reported during a January 21, 2021 podcast episode that a new Knights of the Old Republic game was in development outside of Electronic Arts and EA.
“Amongst my digging, I heard there is a Knights of the Old Republic project in development somewhere,” Bespin Bulletin said. “I talked to a couple of people, and I also found out that Jason Schreier said that it’s not with EA, and we’ll ‘never guess’ who the studio is that’s making this game.”
He's referring to a comment that Bloomberg games reporter Jason Schreier made on the Resetera forums in December 2020: "Nobody's going to guess right that's for sure," he said on a thread where fans were speculating what studio might be developing the game.
Nate Najda of Wushu Studios also hinted in the same Resetera thread that he had knowledge of the game: "It's not as mysterious as you think," Najda wrote. "It's just not a household name most people are aware of." By all accounts, it sure seems like these rumors might be true, but how did we get here?
Disney signed a deal with Electronic Arts in 2013 that gave the publisher exclusive rights to Star Wars games. Disney announced BioWare’s games were no longer canon in 2015, and two years later EA shifted its focus from single-player games to online titles while Disney invested a lot of time and money into developing the new trilogy of movies. Eventually, that also included newer EA games part of Disney's canon, like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Jedi: Fallen Order.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told MTV News in April 2019, however, that Disney has something in store for KOTOR fans.
"You know, we talk about that all the time," she said. "Yes, we are developing something to look at. Right now I have no idea where things might fall, but we have to be careful that there is a cadence to Star Wars that doesn't start to feel like too much."
Her statements suggested that there wasn't anything in the works outright, but that the beloved story will continue eventually. Now, we're finally seeing peaks at what she meant.
As of January 13, 2021 with the launch of Lucasfilm Games, any developer could feasibly make a Star Wars game. "We’ve been working quietly behind the scenes for a while now," Lucasfilm Games VP Douglas Reilly told StarWars.com. Ubisoft is making a story-driven, open-world game, and we'll likely see more from EA as well. But this "Big Bang" for the Star Wars gaming galaxy could mean all sorts of exciting new projects ... including KOTOR 3.
All of these newer developments possibly corroborate some older rumors Cinelinx reported in January 2020 that a new KOTOR game was in development.
“It wasn’t so much a remake, but a ‘sequel’ of sorts,” wrote editor-in-chief Jordan Maison. “It would be a Knights of the Old Republic project that would integrate elements from the first two games in order to bring certain things into the current Star Wars canon. Not necessarily a remake, so much as a re-imagining.”
When is the KOTOR 3 release date?
KOTOR 3 has not been confirmed yet, and as such does not have a release window. Rumors dating back to 2016 have claimed the game was in development, but many of them are sketchy. This newer batch in 2021 has more legitimacy, but it will likely still be years until a new game is released.
It's possible that we'll learn more about the mysterious game before the end of 2021, and a release date sometime in 2022 at least seems possible.
Is there a KOTOR 3 trailer?
There is not KOTOR 3 trailer yet. But diehard KOTOR fan Kevin Smets has been tirelessly continuing Darth Revan’s story in a series of YouTube videos, the Star Wars KOTOR Movie Saga.
Smets records footage using the original KOTOR and adds his own dialogue, so these are far from canon, but they might at least offer a fun way to pass the time until the new game is announced.
What studio is developing KOTOR 3?
We know for sure that the original developer, BioWare, is not involved. Obsidian developed the first KOTOR sequel, but the company is now owned by Microsoft and actively working on Avowed. Journalist Jason Schreier made the claim that "nobody is going to guess right," so these two obvious choices are likely incorrect.
Our random guess? Larian Studios, the developer behind Baldur's Gate 3. Games like Baldur's Gate III and Divinity: Original Sin II share a lot of DNA, so to speak, with the KOTOR games. Both games played similarly to Dragon Age and Mass Effect games with some open-world-lite elements mixed in. By that same rationale, THQ Nordic could be a contender. The studio's work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, a remaster of a 2012 game, was impressive enough.
Assuming the rumors are true, whatever studio the game is developed by will likely be a surprise to us all.
What might the KOTOR 3 story be about?
The ending of KOTOR 2 does leave room to continue its story. Obsidian’s Chris Avellone even began developing a pitch for KOTOR 3 that never saw the light of day because of “internal politics.”
“We did start working on the third game pitch, because we always imagined the trilogy,” he told VG247 “Even when working on the second game, we [tried] to foreshadow what Darth Revan was doing in the second game, and he wasn’t always just ruthlessly and mindlessly blowing everything up. He actually had a larger plan because there was some greater manipulation and threat going on.”
Playing as a former Jedi Knight exiled from the Jedi Order, you defeat and kill Darth Traya — a Sith Lord disguised as an ally throughout the game. The final showdown would have taken place on Malachor V, a ruined planet with ties to ancient Sith academies.
The protagonist has the choice of destroying the planet and traveling into the Unknown Regions in search of Darth Revan or remaining on Malachor V as the new Dark Lord of the Sith. Avellone said his idea for KOTOR 3 involved players tracking down Revan and encountering even more deadly Sith Lords. That suggests the light-side ending of KOTOR 2 is canon, if gamers would still be playing as the Exile.
“The third game involved you, as a player character, following where Revan went and then taking the battle to the really ancient Sith Lords who are far more terrifying than the Darths that show up,” the developer said. “These guys would just be monsters. These would have a level of power that was considerable, but at the same time you’d be able to dig more into their psychologies, and their personalities, their history, and even how they dealt with the player, how they talk with the player, the different powers they cultivated and developed, and for some of them like – they’re the ancients, so they’re not just ruling a solar system, [but] swathes of the galaxy."
If a KOTOR 3 does ever happen, it will probably be vastly different from what Avellone had in mind.
What consoles will KOTOR 3 be released on?
The previous two KOTOR installments were released on Xbox, PC, Mac, and Linux. Considering the timing of KOTOR, it's likely that it will be a next-gen exclusive and be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
KOTOR 3 remains unconfirmed.