Lukas Kristjanson, now senior writer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, remembers "one moment very clearly," where BioWare had gathered in a local theatre; his fellow devs descended into 'giddy kids'.
Kristjanson was responsible for the Tatooine and Kashyyk elements in Knight of the Old Republic, which are two iconic worlds in Star Wars lore. He couldn't believe his luck.
"I remember one moment very clearly," he recalled, reports . "It was the day we secured the license, for certain, 100 per cent, the papers are signed and it's a go."
"We gathered in a local theatre for a company meeting, and up on the screen came the BioWare logo and the Star Wars logo. Pause. And then, it started. Of course it started, you couldn't stop it. A room full of suddenly-children all humming the Imperial March." KOTOR would release as an exclusive for the original Xbox.
"There I was, writing the early history of a setting I had grown up with. I went deep on all the lore I could find, seeding everything with as many hints forward as I could," he said. "That was the challenge, trying to create a history that could lead to the setting I had come to love."
Once the initial sugar high rush wore off, some suddenly realised the gravity of the situation like Derek Watts, art director for Mass Effect, which was largely inspired by KOTOR. "I couldn't believe it," said Watts, referring to his appointment as art director by Casey Hudson for the new Star Wars RPG. "I accepted, and then couldn't sleep for two weeks stressing about how the hell I was going to do the job."
BioWare Studio Creative Director James Ohlen, also Game Director on Star Wars: The Old Republic, has posted a lengthy '10 Years Later' piece of the.
"Back in 2006, when we first discussed doing a MMORPG we threw around a lot of different ideas. We wrote up pitches for a number of other very popular intellectual properties. Some pitches never made it past BioWare, while others went a little further," wrote Ohlen.
"We eventually decided on a Star Wars MMORPG set in The Old Republic era. Why? It was clear that SWTOR was what our fans wanted and the obvious best choice. Knights of the Old Republic is one of the games that defined what BioWare is to modern fans. It didn’t just influence SWTOR; most of the team that worked on it went on to create the Mass Effect franchise." He reasoned that the Star Wars IP is a "natural fit for RPGs."
His team decided they had to take crucial elements from KOTOR:
• Epic storytelling in The Old Republic era • Cinematic storytelling • The internal struggle between good and evil • Becoming a Jedi • Owning your own Millennium Falcon inspired starship • Traveling to many different worlds • Adventuring with companion characters that you cared about
• Cinematic storytelling
• The internal struggle between good and evil
• Becoming a Jedi
• Owning your own Millennium Falcon inspired starship
• Traveling to many different worlds
• Adventuring with companion characters that you cared about
"Star Wars: The Old Republic has now become the primary representation of The Old Republic era to fans. Millions and millions of people have played it generating millions of hours of game play," he continued.
"Thousands of new fans try out the game every single month. It has provided more content and stories than all of the Star Wars movies and TV series combined. Until the launch of the new Battlefront game (and I’m just as excited as the rest of you about DICE creating a new Battlefront game), SWTOR will be the primary core interactive experiences in the Star Wars universe." BioWare is selling a KOTOR related player title in the Cartel Market to mark the occasion.
Currently BioWare is working on Dragon Age: Inquisition and the next Mass Effect, both of which have been heavily influenced by KOTOR's style of story-telling. Voiced dialogue has become a standard feature of all the studio's RPGs.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic released on Xbox July 15th, 2003.
BioWare remembers KOTOR 10 years on, "couldn't sleep for two weeks"
16 July 2013 | By Simon Priest