Finding the wait for Star Wars: The Old Republic unbearable? Can’t get into the beta? Since we still have over a month to go until launch, there’s enough time to dip into the “prequels” (so to speak) of BioWare’s first MMO. You know, Knights of the Old Republic, and, um, that other one. I think it had a 2 in its name? The one that nobody ever talks about?
In setting up my new laptop, I was sorting though all my software and came across my discs for Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, AKA “The KOTOR game I’ve tried to play twice and never finished.” It got me thinking about KOTOR 2’s weird place in this whole franchise, and if it’s being overlooked by both fans and BioWare when it comes to SWTOR.
Of course, KOTOR 2 has a few strikes against it. It wasn’t properly finished, it was done by Obsedian rather than BioWare, it was buggy as crap, and it never got the rave reviews that KOTOR 1 did. Then again, it didn’t force you to play alongside Carth Onassi, so there’s a plus there.
But for all of the discussion swirling around SWTOR’s connections to its predecessors, I’ve never heard anything about KOTOR 2 references. Mostly it’s just “You’ll hear more about Revan and, oh yeah, there’s HK-47, huzzah meatbag!” In fact, from my observations, I think the only element from KOTOR 2 that I’m seeing in SWTOR is the blind people race that looks suspiciously like KOTOR 2’s Kreia (what with the hood over the eyes and all).
I’m not the only one to wonder this. There’s a 51-page thread on the SWTOR forums titled “KOTOR 2 being ignored” that struggles with this issue and notes that KOTOR 2 isn’t mentioned at all in the SWTOR’s in-depth timeline. The OP quotes BioWare’s Rob Chestney who addresses the topic:
“Even though KotOR 2 was developed by another developer, lots of folks at BioWare played and enjoyed it, including myself. If you look closely within the game, you will find several references to events or characters from KotOR 2, and we absolutely treat it as canon. I will also say that there have been discussions about the final fate of the Exile, who was indeed a woman according to the canon.
When outlining the Timeline series, though, we skipped over the events of KotOR2 for a few reasons [he goes into a few spoilers]. Because the events of KotOR 2 didn’t really change the political landscape of the galaxy in any significant way, it’s really more of an historical footnote to the Jedi Civil War rather than a major event in its own right.
This is absolutely not to say the story of KotOR 2 wasn’t important. Taken in the context of the Timeline series, however, we decided it would be confusing and that the next note in the history of the galaxy should be the Jedi Civil War.”
Even with the confirmation that KOTOR 2 is being treated as canon and it’ll be referenced in SWTOR, I have to wonder if that’s a bit of smoke and mirrors for the fact that BioWare doesn’t really have incentive to link to this game which wasn’t made by their own company.
BioWare’s stance is that KOTOR 2’s events didn’t really impact the galaxy as much as SWTOR, although players are quick to differ on that, citing many wide-ranging effects that KOTOR 2’s story had. Some players say that BioWare is attempting to quietly retcon KOTOR 2, or at least remove portions of the story that contradict what the studio wants to have for SWTOR.
KOTOR 2 certainly is not a hot topic on SWTOR fan sites and podcasts — I’ve never heard it mentioned — and I feel that the sequel will eventually become completely ignored to the point where people new to the series in SWTOR will never know it existed. Is it too obscure and forgotten at this point to really give much attention to anyway? Perhaps. Perhaps not.