James Ohlen the Creative Director at BioWare talks about the tenth anniversary of KOTOR.
I’m James Ohlen, Studio Creative Director at BioWare. You probably know me as the Game Director on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, but I’ve also been the lead designer of older BioWare games such as Baldur’s Gate 1+2, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age and Star Wars™: Knights of the Old Republic™.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic turns ten years old today. Due to the influence KotOR had on the vision of The Old Republic, we’re celebrating the day in several ways. We’re putting a KotOR related player title up for sale in the Cartel Market for 10 Cartel Coins. In addition, we’re giving away free Cartel Coins on Facebook at 10:00 am today and throughout the day worldwide, but that is not all! For more, make sure to read our announcement here.
I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss the influence Knights of the Old Republic had on SWTOR.
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.
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.
There are many reasons why Knights of the Old Republic resonated so much with fans. But a simple one was the fact that the Star Wars IP is a natural fit for RPGs. Since the first movie was released in 1977, fans have wanted to live in that universe. As children, a lot of you probably used action figures to create your own stories in the Star Wars galaxy. RPGs are just a more sophisticated way of immersing yourself in another world. Knights of the Old Republic also drew inspiration from the original trilogy. A lot of fans were looking for a story that evoked the spirit of the original trilogy and Knights of the Old Republic seemed to give them that. And of course there was the famous twist.
so..they sat around and decided themselves they should do a MMOG?
Star Wars was their choice? I would have thought Lucasfilms approached them. It was getting clear at the company even then they were getting tired of dealing with 3rd parties so I'm surprised they volunteered something that was not their IP.
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