Ok, I am an absolutely HUGE fan of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games. Absolutely freaking huge. I have, at one time or another, owned all four versions on the market (Two for the Xbox, Two for the PC), and even broke them out to play on my Xbox 360. For those of you who have tried to play them on the 360… it’s not pleasant. So, when I was perusing the Xbox forums, and saw the threat entitled “Knights of the Old Republic 3 info” you can only imagine how stoked I was.
On the Official Xbox Forums, a man claims that he has an old colleague working at Pandemic (not too unbelievable — we all have to work, right?), and that this colleague has learned that the order to develop the KotOR 3 website has been given! That would mean, obviously, that there must be a KotOR 3 game coming. After all, why else would you want a KotOR 3 website?
Read after the break for details…
The man, who goes by the Xbox Live handle of “Dizney Sux” first explained that he had a friend who works for Pandemic Studios, and that this friend of his says that they (Pandemic Studios) have gotten the call to begin development of a KotOR 3 website.
One of my old colleagues that I used to work with sent me an IM last night that got me pretty pumped. We’re both Star Wars fans, and more importantly, gamers. He currently works for a branch of Pandemic studios that is responsible for all the web development of their game franchises. They just got the call to begin designing a KotoR 3 website. The scheduled date to go live is in July 2007.
His friend went on to explain that, once Mass Effect is released, that is when the KotOR media blitz will begin:
I asked him why they would give them the green light on that project so early in advance? He said it was because immediately following the release of Mass Effect, the KotoR media is going to begin rolling out, and that Bioware doesn’t want to lose focus from Mass Effect with the mainstream public.
Now initially, I was a little thrown off. He says his friend works for Pandemic, but then talks about the Mass Effect hype although Mass Effect is a BioWare game. But my fears are somewhat soothed by the reminder that BioWare rendered assistance to Obsidian when the later was developing KotOR II, and that both are now owned by a single parent company.
He also said that if they are looking to have that site go live in July, you can expect the game at or around Christmas this year. Don’t know about you but I’m pretty pumped.
…dammit. You had my hopes up until you mention “Christmas this year.” Considering the acclaim of the KotOR franchise, for them to keep it completely silent for this long would make KotOR 3 the best kept secret of all time. In a later post in the same thread, he goes on to say that he believes that the story has been in the pre-production phase since Mass Effect went into it’s intial development, but I don’t buy that at all.
In fact, in that later post, he goes into great detail about what exactly is going on at BioWare, in regards to the circumstances around KotOR 3, saying:
Check it, just got off the phone with this guy. Basically its like this. Lucasarts recognizes that Bioware was able to produce an extremely popular and well-crafted title, therefore they have enlisted the aid of the “key” developers from Bioware Studios who were involved in the original KotoR. Meaning, Bioware will take on a developmental role, and Lucasarts will probably Publish the title.
Also, just for clarification, Bioware and Pandemic are partnership corporations that are now joint-owned by Elevation Partners Inc. Pandemic has and always had a far superior web-development studio, thus, all game franchises within the partnership are designed by said studio.
Next, Mass Effect is due out PRIOR to this summer. Full marketing on the game goes into swing at the end of March. Expect a huge build up around this game from Microsoft. The reason for the short amount of time between the website going live, and the game coming out, specifically revolves around the release of Mass Effect. If Mass Effect were to release, and KotoR was already being spoken of, the overall buzz surrounding Mass Effect may be dampened. Consequently, the site will go live after Mass Effect has been released and properly marketed.
KotoR 3 has no specific release date yet. The gentleman I spoke to specifically said at or around Christmas is likely. This could mean early 08. However, it is important to note, that Lucasarts specifically holds ‘the rights’ to develop franchises first, but also can, and will allow collaboration on titles as they see fit.
I can see this game coming out on 360 at Xmas however. The reason for this is that regardless of what people will tell you, the hardest part about developing a game revolves around 3 issues. The first is funding. Bioware and Lucasarts do not have a problem here, especially since Microsoft will give them whatever they need. I expect funding was finalized 2 years ago. Next is developing a game engine. That takes about two years, the length of time Mass Effect’s game engine was in development. Thus, KotoR 3 will use the Mass Effect game engine (its just more logical then developing an entire new engine). Third, pre-production. This is developing a scheduled timeline in order to complete the game. This actually takes only a couple months. After this point, its about a 10 month time until the game gets on the shelf.
It is possible to see this game at the end of year. But thats all circumstantial depending on how the development cycle plays out. It seems, for me, that this game has actually been in the story and preproduction phases as long as Mass Effect, however, it is smarter business-wise to release a new franchise prior to the release of a major one. Its a lot easier for a game to sell when its not in the shadow of an already existing franchise.
I want to believe. Believe me, my little nerd heart wants to allow me to believe, but some things just don’t add up. “The end of the year?” You’re giving KotOR 3 less than six months development time if we were to see it by year’s end, if they began work on it immediately after Mass Effect was released. And what about BioWare’s other title, Dragon Age? It just doesn’t all quite add up.
But again, maybe those aforementioned “key developers” have been hired away from BioWare to work with LucasArts on the title, while the rest of BioWare works on Dragon Age. We just do not know, because sadly… this is the first bit of KotOR 3 news out there. You can bet that I’ll keep tabs on this for any updates, and maybe… maybe we’ll learn something concrete, like, whether this guy is [censored]ting or not.
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