4 Things That Should Be in the KOTOR Remake
This is a new day, a new beginning
Yesterday at the PlayStation Showcase a Knights of the Old Republic remake was announced as a console exclusive on PlayStation 5. Whilst fans are very excited to revisit the galaxy far, far away – here is a list of some elements which could be modernised for the present day.
Aspyr Media, who is developing the remake, have promised it will be a full remake and not a remaster. Whilst KOTOR is still a beloved game by many, I would love to see some of the rough edges of the original eased out and some of the mechanics, particularly the combat, modernised.
It is important to remember the context of the Knights of the Old Republic release. It was the first BioWare RPG to come out on consoles in an era when many western RPGs were sticking to PC only releases. KOTOR really did show there was a market for these epic adventures on console and it was a reason why many people decided to pick up an original Xbox.
1. Combat improvements
The biggest struggle I had playing KOTOR was the combat systems. I would propose that the combat system should be completely redone for the remake and the developers should take inspiration from Final Fantasy VII Remake.
This might seem strange but let me explain: The original Final Fantasy VII took the standard form for JRPGS. You waited for the ATB gauge to fill, and then you could use a move in combat. Final Fantasy VII Remake took this and modernised it by allowing you to switch between characters, attack and dodge to fill their ATB gauges. Once full you can pick a command; such as healing, doing a stronger ability or using Materia.
This is very much how KOTOR works as well. You switch between characters and issue a string of commands to them for use. Both use range and close combat attacking characters and both combine real-time and command-based battle systems. Sometimes KOTOR feels very clunky like you are just waiting for the characters to do something.
What I would like to see is more action between commands. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, you can still attack and dodge in real-time and whilst some Final Fantasy fans did not like this change, it was critically well-received nonetheless. I think a system similar to this could make combat more exciting.
2. More modern lightsabre play
Additionally, lightsabre combat is another area I think could be improved upon. Since 2003 there have many games to take up the mantle of swinging a lightsabre. From Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Lightsabre combat has developed a lot. Using the DualSense controller, this could very much be the first time receiving haptic feedback when swinging our virtual lightsabres (in the PS5 version of Jedi Fallen Order this was surprisingly absent).
If they are going to change the combat in the dramatic way I have proposed, having a great feeling lightsabre is another essential change.
In addition, I would also love to see some of the KOTOR animations be recorded with motion capture. In KOTOR Jedi and Sith are really happy to kick people which makes combat feel more savage than other Star Wars games. It would be great if they could modernise these little touches and make them look more realistic.
3. Take some graphical cues from the modern Star Wars films
When the original KOTOR came out it was 2003 and we were in the middle of the prequel trilogy. The original release clearly took graphical cues from the most modern trilogy at the time. Many of the environments look similar to the green screens backgrounds that Attack of the Clones was filmed against. Since then we have had the new sequel trilogy starting with The Force Awakens. This went very much back to the Star Wars roots and filming in different locations. The environments felt much more lived in, dirty and real compared to the immaculately clean prequel counterparts.
As we are now in the 4K era, attention to small details is vital. I would love to see more dirty Force Awakens environments in the KOTOR remake. This would improve the world-building aspect by making it less perfect and more lived in. I think this would really improve the look and feel of the galaxy far, far away, especially as you do visit a variety of environments each with different cultures and social classes living there.
4. Keep the story the same
When fans talk about KOTOR, the story, characters and world-building are the things that stick in their minds. I think the story can remain mostly untouched. The twist is still one of the best in the history of games and there are still memorable companion characters. Even the morality system, whilst primitive, is still fun to play around with and encourages multiple playthroughs.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake will be a console exclusive for PS5 when it launches, although there are no details yet on a release window.