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January 6th, 2013, 03:27
Well the team admitted they had to change or create some content for the restoration project. The original designer of the the original area, Kevin D. Saunder, has given his endorsement to the mod.

The team also has a development log that explans what they had to change and create for the restoration mod.

I haven’t played the mod (or thought much about KotOR2 over the last eight years!), but after reading your question (thanks for bringing it to my attention!), I watched the three YouTube playthrough videos made so far by JC (C842vids).

I love that people are passionate about some games, and interested enough in game development, to invest the time and energy to mod them, and this enhancement project is a great example. I thought the environment for M4-78 looked great, so particularly for that reason I’m excited that this project was undertaken – it’s good to see that work be brought to light, while giving the modders a physical environment to work with so that they didn’t have to make it from scratch.

Some history: M4-78 was my first assignment when I began working at Obsidian Entertainment in April, 2004, as a senior game designer reporting to lead designer (and company creative director) Chris Avellone. A brief outline of the area had been written by Dave Maldonado – that was a starting point, but Chris let me take it wherever I wanted and modify the previous plans as I saw fit. I don’t recall exactly, but perhaps I worked on the area for about a month all told before we wisely decided to cut it. There was just too much work to do to complete the game and we had to focus. Given the options, M4-78 was an obvious cut to make – if I recall correctly, the contenders were M4-78 and Nar Shadda, and the latter was far more central to the plot. As has been noted by the community, I was able to repurpose some of the M4-78 content to allow G0T0’s yacht to be implemented more quickly later in the project – it also might had to have been cut otherwise. (I remember Chris was talking with me about how, reluctantly, the yacht might need to go – all of the art was done, but very little of the design and we were close to the end of the project. I committed to him that I could design and implement it in within a week. He trusted me to do so and, while it wasn’t our best area , it felt great to deliver it for Chris and the game.)

Back to the M4-78 Enhancement Project – it was definitely the right choice for the team to run with the design and craft their own experience. JC’s videos don’t yet cover the entire new planet, but I like the direction the team seems to have taken and (from what I’ve read in forums) how they’ve held true to Chris’s vision for KotOR2, while seizing ownership of this section of the game. That’s how you get the best gameplay experiences – when the people implementing the actual content are empowered to do what they feel is best, while guided by a clear vision. I’m excited that community members took on and completed this ambitious undertaking – I hope they are proud of their accomplishment (as they should be!).
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