Every now and then, a special game comes along that defines a console and an era. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic was one of them. Many in the game community didn’t give Microsoft’s attempt to jump into the video game console arena much of shot at success. Why would they? With Sega, Nintendo, and Sony dominating the market, how could anyone expect a fourth console to compete for our money? Thankfully, Microsoft’s Xbox had a few tricks up their sleeves. Aside from a hard drive to store memory (goodbye memory cards!) and longer controller cords, the company had a nice line up of console exclusives. Among them, was Lucas Arts and BioWare’s RPG take on the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic launched on July 15, 2003 and sold 250,000 copies in its first week retail. That is pretty impressive for a new console hitting the market. The game went on to win several Game Of The Year Awards and even to this day is a blast to play. Most games do not age very well, but Lucas Arts and BioWare created a generation lasting gem.
The story just oozed originality. Taking place 4,000 thousand years before anyone ever heard the name Skywalker or Death Star. I will not spoil the story for those retro gamers out there who are still curious about checking this game out. What I can tell you is you are thrown into a chaotic time in the universe when an evil Sith Lord known as Darth Malak has declared war on the Republic. Your character embarks on a journey across the universe including fan favorite locales from the films in RPG turn based combat while assembling a crew as you continue through the 40 hour campaign.
I fondly remember the joy of acquiring a new crew member to go into battle with. This game was rich in Star Wars character personality. Upgrading your force powers was a lot of fun too. Also worth mentioning, was the amazing cut scenes for its time. Almost movie worthy for 2003 game graphics. The end finale is nothing short of George Lucas Star Wars movie action as you sit back and watch the epic space battle.
There are also some pretty interesting development notes as well. When Lucas Arts originally approached BioWare for the project, they were given two choices. Either make a movie licensed game based on Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, or Lucas Arts gave the developer the option to go four thousand years back in the Star Wars timeline. I think I speak for all of us when I confidently say thank you to Bioware for going with the latter. Another cool bit of history was on why and how the game made its way exclusively over to the Xbox console. Back in 1999, when the game was announced, LucasArt’s Mike Gallo shared some insight on how that came to be.
Courtesy Of Wiki:
“We could do the things we wanted to do on the Xbox without as much effort as we’d need to do it on the PS2 or GameCube,” Gallo said. Other factors included the console’s recent success and the opportunity to release one of the Xbox’s first RPGs.BioWare had previously developed MDK2 for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. Hudson said that “Having experience in developing for other consoles gave us the proper mindset for implementing this game on the Xbox, and, by comparison, the Xbox was relatively easy to develop for.”
Since its launch in 2003, The Knights Of The Old Republic has paved the road for a two very successful million dollar selling sequels. The 2005 Xbox console exclusive, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and the 2011 PC Star Wars: The Old Republic. I would highly suggest any Star Wars and/or RPG fan to check this series out. In addition, for those that own a Xbox 360, the original Xbox games are available to be played through its backwards compatibility with a nice HDMI cord and wireless controller.
Till the next time we drive down Star Wars memory lane as we anxiously wait for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, may the force be with you.