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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

While taking a look at some of the goods being offered up by LucasArts, who are no doubt hoping to make up for that hideous pod-racer game, a PR person approached and told me I could slip next door and see a sneak-peak at an up coming title. Being an adventurer by trade, I sallied forth.

Sitting down in a cramped room, a large screen in front of me, a few programmers, after telling me not to tape anything or shoot pictures, said they were debuting a new RPG title – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This game, teaming the Star Wars name with the RPG guys over at Bioware, will make tons of money, regardless of the quality of play.

I say this because after a short demo and four questions from the audience, three of them asked by me, I still know very little. But I do know the power of the Star Wars trademark. Here is what I was able to glean about the game itself.

  • The action takes place in the Star Wars universe 4000 years prior to the films. This allows for more Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors and hence more lightsaber combat. Also, none of the main film storylines need to be compromised.
  • An in-house developed 3D engine featuring real-time combat and a fixed third-person perspective (although the demo did allow the camera to zoom). This was an early E3 build and so the graphics and tile sets looked pretty plain. I expect it will look better by its 2003 release.
  • Three playable races and six classes, including the Han Solo styled Scoundrel (a smooth-talking jack-of-all-trades), Bounty Hunter, and Jedi Knight. Unclear was what type of RPG system was to be used, but they did say to expect over 100 different types of skills/feats and 50+ force powers.
  • Mini-games like speeder racing and space combat. I did not see any of this however.

There really isn’t much more to say as I didn’t get to ask many questions. They did tell me that they were into level creation, but that sounds odd with at 2003 release. It’s too early for high hopes about this new Star Wars installment, and I’d get ready for a more serious peek at next year’s E3.

Matt Blackburn

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