Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a third-person science-fiction role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts for the Xbox on July 15, 2003 and the PC on November 19, 2003.
Set four millennia before the events of the Star Wars films, Knights of the Old Republic has players take on the role of a customizable soldier of the Galactic Republic, who must find a way to stop a powerful armada of the Sith Empire (led by Darth Malak) while uncovering the soldier’s mysterious Jedi heritage.
It is the first third-person RPG developed by BioWare (who later created Jade Empire and both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series), with a combat system that mixes real-time movement (similar to action RPGs) with turn-based mechanics (based on the d20 system, likely inspired by the Star Wars Roleplaying Game). Along with extensive character building and numerous dialogue trees, the game features a dedicated morality system similar to Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Dark Forces II (where specific actions push the player’s character towards either the “light” or “dark” side, unlocking extra narratives and easier access to specific Force Powers) and bonus mini-games (including swoop bike racing and an original collectible card game called “Pazaak”).
Knights of the Old Republic later received a sequel in late 2004/early 2005, developed by Obsidian. BioWare later developed a MMORPG spin-off on December 2011 titled Star Wars: The Old Republic. The series also received numerous spin-off comic books and novels in the same timeline. The game’s setting has origins in the 90’s Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi comic book series and is considered part of the Star Wars expanded universe. Because of this, the game’s story and added setting are officially non-canon.
The game was later ported by Aspyr to the Mac on September 7, 2004, iOS devices on May 20, 2013, and Android devices on December 23, 2014. Both the PC and Mac versions were bundled in a digital Steam release on September 5, 2009. The Xbox version is backwards compatible with the Xbox 360 and was released on the system’s online storefront on October 23, 2017. On October 24, 2017, it was made backwards compatible with the Xbox One.
KOTOR’s gameplay consists of two parts, combat and dialog. The combat is turn based, although the animations give the illusion of real-time combat. The player may pause the game at any point during combat to get their bearings and rethink their strategy. The combat is based on Wizard of the Coast’s d20 system. Your character may be equipped with a long-range weapon such as a blaster, or a short-range weapon such as a sword or a lightsaber. In addition to your weapons, you can use force powers that your character has learned throughout the course of the game, as well as those of your companions. Special combat moves such as “Flurry” may be activated at any time during combat, which will increase your attack speed, your damage, or your chance of dealing a critical hit. To unlock abilities such as these, one must earn them through points gained by leveling up. There is a good variety of abilities and there are many options for customizing a character to fit the desires of the player.
The other half of gameplay is the dialog where you interact with the NPCs through complex dialog trees. The game allows for a wide range of moral choices and options so that even after multiple playthroughs new content may still be discovered. The player is encouraged to build an emotional connection with their companions by learning their back-stories and potentially even fall in love with them. The game tracks the player’s choices throughout the game to determine their alignment to either the dark or light side. The player’s alignment can alter the appearance of their character, and affects how companions react to you. All characters in KOTOR are voiced with exception of the main character, who remains unheard during dialogue sequences, though the player may hear numerous grunts and battles cries during combat.
The main character in KOTOR has a customizable appearance and skillset, with the ability to be either male or female at the outset, as well as the choice of three player classes. Players were also asked to assign attributes to the character such as their Strength, Willpower and Intelligence.
The character creation system in KOTOR is drawn primarily from Wizards of the Coast’s paper and pencil d20 Star Wars RPG rules. Character classes, defense, hit points, feats, ability scores, experience points and even the level cap are all largely identical to the tabletop game.
Since the d20 system was used for third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, that means KOTOR is indirectly descended from D&D, whose first edition tabletop rules formed the backbone of Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate series.
Each playable character in the game is designated into one or more “classes”, which affect their stats and special abilities. When characters level up (up to a maximum of 20), they improve their character based on their designated class.
The player character is unique as players start the game by choosing one of the three basic classes (Soldiers, Scouts, and Scoundrels) and later (between level 2-8 of their basic class) gain Jedi training, forcing them to multiclass to one of the three Jedi classes for the remainder of the 20 levels (with no further progression towards the basic class).
The two droid companions are given their own unique classes with less Feat options and two unique Feats: Logic Upgrade and Droid Upgrade. They also cannot be healed by medicine or the Force, requiring use of special Repair Kits.
Gaining a level in either Basic class automatically allows the character to equip light armor and Blaster Rifles.
- Soldiers rely on their brute strength and excellent combat training to survive encounters. They can wear any armor in the game from the start, have the strongest vitality, and are proficient in every weapon (with the exception of lightsabers). While they have the weakest technical Skill progression (usually reserved for improving their use of healing items), they have the strongest Feat progression (allowing them to specialize in a variety of abilities). They gain the Power Attack and Power Blast actions for free.
- Scoundrels are rogues who sacrifice strength and combat experience for wit and guile. Out of the three basic classes, they have the weakest vitality and the weakest Feat progression. However, they have exclusive free access to the Scoundrel’s Luck and Sneak Attack feats (improving their basic defense and improving attacks that cannot be defended). They also have the strongest Skill progression out of the three, with easier improvements for stealth, persuasion, and lockpicking. They gain the Critical Strike and Sniper Shot actions for free.
- Scouts are technical survivors and jack-of-all-trades, considered the middle ground between the two other classes. Along with having the best defensive saves, they have exclusive access to the Uncanny Dodge feat (allowing them to better dodge cloaked opponents and grenades) and gain the Implant feats for free (allowing them to equip special Implants). They have easier Skill improvements for hacking computers and repairing broken droids. They gain the Flurry and Rapid Shot actions for free.
Gaining a level in either Jedi class allows the character to use Force powers (gaining new powers and power improvements every level), equip lightsabers and special Robes, and gain new Feat options (increasing the efficiency of lightsaber bolt deflection, base defense bonus). However, both their Skill and Feat progression are slower than most of the basic classes.
In addition, the player character gains additional Force stamina (thanks to the free exclusive Force Sensitive feat) and can gain two levels of Force Persuasion as Force powers, gaining new options in some dialogue trees.
- Jedi Guardians, usually designated by their blue lightsaber crystals, spend less effort honing their Force powers and more time improving their front-line lightsaber combat. They have more vitality and gain more Feats than the other two Jedi classes, and have a unique ability: Force Jump (which allows them to close the distance quickly, with later levels dealing more effective attacks). However, they have the weakest Force stamina.
- Jedi Consulars, usually designated by their green lightsaber crystals, prefer use of a diverse selection of Force powers to support their teammates rather than direct close-ranged combat. Despite having the lowest vitality, they have the strongest Force stamina and can sometimes pick two Force powers/improvements per level instead of one. Their offensive Force powers are also more effective than other Jedi classes (thanks to the free exclusive Force Focus feat).
- Jedi Sentinels, usually designated by their yellow lightsaber crystals, are more balanced between Force powers and direct combat. They also have the strongest Skill progression out of the three Jedi classes (usually for awareness and persuasion), and are immune to a variety of paralyzing effects (thanks to the free exclusive Force Immunity feat).
The game includes nine companions that can join the player character in their missions. Players can choose up to two squadmates at a time (but will sometimes need to complete parts of the game with just the player character). The fates of certain characters can change over the course of the story.
During the prologue mission, generic Republic soldier Trask Ulgo is the player character’s sole squad member as a tutorial sequence.
A Republic war hero, expert pilot, and former Commander of the Endar Spire, Carth Onasi escapes the ship with the player character and works with them to escape Taris and help the Republic. He is cautious about trusting people since his previous mentor in the Republic fleet betrayed him and joined the Sith (leading the destruction of his homeworld).
He is recruited during the mission “Search for Bastila”, and is also a potential love interest for the player character (female only).
A young, ambitious Jedi Knight, Bastila Shan is proficient in “battle meditation”, a special ability that lets her use the Force to boost the morale and battle prowess of all nearby allies in a large range. She also shares a unique “Force bond” with the player character, which allows both of them to share special visions over the course of the game.
She is recruited during the mission “Search for Bastila”, and is also a potential love interest for the player character (male only).
Class: Jedi Sentinel
An optimistic teenage street-smart Twi’lek urchin from the undercity of Taris, Mission Vao was abandoned by her shifty older brother Griff and grew up with her best friend Zaalbar. As she learned to fend for herself for a time (gaining the technical skills that helps the player character infiltrate the Black Vulkar gang base), she is greatly incensed when it’s suggested that she is incompetent because she is “just a kid”.
She is recruited during the mission “Search for Bastila”.
A powerful but shy Wookiee, Zaalbar is the best friend and guardian of Mission. After his rescue from the player character, he swears a life debt and becomes a loyal ally. It’s learned that prior to arriving in Taris, he was exiled from his tribe in Kashyyyk.
He is recruited during the mission “Search for Bastila”.
A battle-hardened Mandalorian war veteran and mercenary, Canderous Ordo worked for crime lord Davik Kang before helping the player character steal the Ebon Hawk during the Sith blockade. A firm believer of the Mandalorian code, he doesn’t bother with morality and only joins the player character to find worthy adversaries.
He is recruited during the mission “Escaping Taris”.
A custom-ordered T3-series utility droid commissioned by crime lord Davik Kang to infiltrate the Sith military base on Taris and escape the Sith blockade, T3-M4 is instead bought by the player character (at the suggestion of Canderous) and becomes part of their crew. While his combat attachments are not very effective, he is heavily skilled in electronics (including locks, computer systems, and broken droids).
He is recruited during the mission “Escaping Taris”.
Class: Unique (Expert Droid)
A hot-blooded Cathar Jedi Knight, Juhani believed herself lost to the dark side as she reveals that she killed her master in a fit of rage. While tainting the ancient grove outside of the Jedi academy in Dantooine, she fights the player character in a duel. If she survives, she later joins the Padawan to redeem herself.
If she is spared in the mission “Jedi Trials”, she is recruited during the mission “Quest for the Star Forge”. She is also a potential love interest for the player character, regardless of gender.
Class: Jedi Guardian
An old and mysterious Jedi hermit who spent decades living in the Shadowlands of Kashyyyk, Jolee Bindo is considered a “Gray Jedi”: one who does not adhere to the Jedi code and yet has not fallen to the dark side. After helping with the player character’s quest in Kashyyyk, he joins them out of boredom.
He is recruited during the mission “Star Map: Kashyyyk”.
Class: Jedi Consular
A Hunter-Killer assassin droid of mysterious origin, HK-47 can be purchased from a shop on Tatooine to help communicate with the native Sand People (or just to accompany the crew as an effective combat droid). Despite his affinity for causing death and his misanthropy (referring to organics as “meatbags”), he is loyal to his master and sometimes acts as a comic relief.
He can optionally be recruited during the mission “Star Map: Tatooine”.
Class: Unique (Combat Droid)
- Power Strike (Melee) / Power Blast (Ranged) – Performs a single swing/shot that deals more damage, sacrificing weapon accuracy. Improved versions increase the damage dealt.
- Flurry (Melee) / Rapid Shot (Ranged) – Adds an additional swing/shot to the attack, sacrificing weapon accuracy and defense. Improved versions reduce the penalties of this action.
- Critical Strike (Melee) / Sniper Shot (Ranged) – Improves the chance for the single swing/shot to perform a critical hit, with a chance to stun the opponent, but leaving the attacker vulnerable (sacrificing defense). Improved versions increase the chance for a critical hit.
Unlike Actions, Force Powers require use of a regenerating Force point gauge (shown in blue), representing the user’s “stamina”. While universal powers require the same amount of points for each use, both Light Side (defensive) and Dark Side (offensive) powers are unique in that their point cost adjusts depending on the user’s current alignment. (For example, a very high Light Side user requires upwards to 50% less points for a use of a Light Side power and requires upwards to 75% more points for a use of a Dark Side power)
Some Powers can only be unlocked at certain character levels (which is the combinated class level for the player character), while some Powers cannot be used while equipping Armor (with the exception of casual clothing and Robes).
Effects that require a save are based on both the user’s character level and the user’s Wisdom and Charisma modifiers.
- Energy Resistance – Grants a temporary bonus for the user, absorbing the first 15 points of damage from elemental attacks. Lasts for two minutes. At Level 9, this can be upgraded to Improved Energy Resistance, granting the effects to all party members while adding temporary immunity to Poison effects.
- Force Push – Pushes the target away from the user, dealing some physical damage and attempting to incapacitate the target (requiring a Reflex save to negate the effect and halve the damage). Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Force Whirlwind), changing the effect to a 12-second immobilizing whirlwind that slowly damages the target. Can be further upgraded at Level 15 (to Force Wave), changing the effect to an explosion that pushes all enemies within 15 meters of the user (dealing more damage and longer incapacitation).
- Burst of Speed (Armor-restricted) – Grants a temporary bonus for the user, doubling the movement speed while increasing basic defense. Lasts for 36 seconds. Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Knight Speed), further increasing basic defense while adding an additional swing/shot to attacks. Can be further upgraded at Level 15 (to Master Speed), adding another additional swing/shot to attacks.
- Throw Lightsaber (requires a Lightsaber equipped) – Throws the lightsaber at the chosen enemy within 5 meters of the user for an automatic hit (dealing high damage based on the user’s level), leaving them slightly vulnerable as the lightsaber returns to their possession. At Level 9, this can be upgraded to Advanced Throw Lightsaber, which targets up to two additional nearby enemies.
- Force Resistance (requires Level 9, Armor-restricted) – Grants a temporary bonus for the user, giving a random chance to negate enemy Force powers. Lasts for one minute. At Level 15, this can be upgraded to Force Immunity, which increases that chance.
- Force Suppression (requires Level 9, Armor-restricted) – Cancels most of the target’s Force power bonuses. At Level 15, this can be upgraded to Force Breach, cancelling all of the target’s Force power bonuses.
- Force Aura (Light, Armor-restricted) – Grants a temporary bonus for the user, increasing basic defense and all saving throws. Lasts for 20 seconds. Can be upgraded at Level 6 (to Force Shield) and Level 12 (to Force Armor), increasing the bonus.
- Force Valor (Light, Armor-restricted) – Grants a temporary bonus for all party members (including the user), increasing all attributes and all saving throws. Lasts for 20 seconds. Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Knight Valor) and Level 15 (to Master Valor), increasing the bonus while adding temporary immunity to Poison effects.
- Stun (Light) – Attempts to inflict the Stun effect on a chosen non-droid enemy, requiring a Fortitude save to negate. Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Stasis), changing it to a more powerful Paralyze effect. Can be further upgraded at Level 15 (to Stasis Field), affecting all enemies within 10 meters of the user (but making the power Armor-restricted).
- Stun Droid (Light) – Attempts to render a chosen droid enemy immobile, requiring a Fortitude save to negate the effect and halve the damage. Also deals some electrical damage based on the user’s level. Can be upgraded at Level 6 (to Disable Droid), changing the save to a Reflex save and chaining the effect to droids within 5 meters of the target. Can be further upgraded at Level 12 (to Destroy Droid), increasing the target range while significantly increasing the damage dealt.
- Cure (Light, requires Level 6) – Heals all non-droid party members (including the user) within a 15 meter radius, based on the user’s level, Wisdom, and Charisma. At Level 12, this can be upgraded to Heal, which doubles the vitality healed and immediately removes Poison effects.
- Shock (Dark, Armor-restricted) – Unleashes an electrical attack on the chosen enemy (which can be partially negated by a Fortitude save). Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Force Lightning), instead affecting all enemies up to 16 meters in front of the user. Can be further upgraded at Level 18 (to Force Storm), instead affecting all enemies up to 10 meters around the target.
- Fear (Dark) – Attempts to immobilize the chosen non-droid enemy for six seconds (requiring a Will save to negate). Can be upgraded at Level 6 (to Horror), increasing the duration and affecting all enemies within 5 meters of the target. Can be further upgraded at Level 12 (to Insanity), further increasing the duration while increasing the target range.
- Slow (Dark) – Attempts to inflict a temporary penalty on the chosen non-droid enemy (requiring a Will save to negate), reducing basic defense, accuracy, and Reflex saves for 30 seconds. Can be upgraded at Level 6 (to Affliction), which changes the penalty to a unique Poison effect that weakens the target every six seconds for 36 seconds (and changes the save to a Fortitude save similar to Deadly Gas Mines). Can be further upgraded at Level 12 (to Plague), further weakening the target for an additional 36 seconds while making the save impossible (but making the power Armor-restricted).
- Wound (Dark) – Attempts to stun the chosen non-droid enemy (requiring a Fortitude save to negate), inflicting physical damage for six seconds. Can be upgraded at Level 9 (to Choke), adding a temporary penalty to the target (reducing their physical attributes for 24 seconds). Can be further upgraded at Level 12 (to Kill), instead inflicting damage equal to half of the target’s total vitality while still dealing Wound damage on targets that succeed in a Fortitude save.
- Drain Life (Dark, requires Level 9, Armor-restricted) – Damages the chosen non-droid enemy while replenishing the user’s vitality. At Level 18, this can be upgraded to Death Field, which affects all non-droid enemies within 10 meters of the target.
Attack on the Endar Spire
When the game begins, the Soldier wakes up on the Republic cruiser Endar Spire that is under siege by the Sith flagship Leviathan, led by Darth Malak. With the help of Republic soldier Trask Ulgo, they must navigate the ship and evacuate down to the planet Taris.
This mission is short, linear, and is used as the game’s main tutorial sequence.
Search for Bastila
Knocked unconscious for days from the crash landing, the Soldier wakes up in an apartment in the Upper City of the planet Taris by fellow Republic soldier Carth Onasi. With the entire planet under Sith lockdown, the pair must search for a key Republic asset that also escaped the Endar Spire: the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan.
While investigating leads in both the peaceful Upper City and the hostile Lower City, the pair learns that Bastila is captured by the Black Vuklars gang and used as a prize for the winner of an upcoming swoop-bike race against the Hidden Beks gang. The Soldier is recruited by the Beks to infiltrate the Vulkar’s base for a key swoop-bike component (with the help from street urchin Mission Vao and her friend Zaalbar) and then win the race for either gang.
Once Bastila escapes capture and joins the crew, they must find a way to escape the Sith blockade. With help of the mercenary Canderous Ordo, the crew must infiltrate a Sith facility for request codes and then infiltrate crime lord Davik Kang’s estate to steal his prized ship: the Ebon Hawk.
The crew escapes to the rural world of Dantooine, home of the Jedi Council. Sensing a high concentration of the Force within the Soldier, the Council has the Soldier undergo a series of trials to become a Jedi Padawan (one of which is encountering the fallen Jedi Knight Juhani).
Once the Soldier becomes a Padawan, the crew is ordered to investigate mysterious ruins close to the Jedi Academy.
Quest for the Star Forge
In the ruins, the crew learns about an incomplete “Star Map” leading to the mysterious “Star Forge”. Believed to be tied to the Dark Lords Revan and Malak, the crew must search four planets shown from the Star Map for additional Star Maps.
Considered the main mission of the game, the planets can be done in any order:
- Tatooine, the desert homeworld of the Sand People. Arriving at the settlement of Anchorhead, the Padawan must find a way to venture out into the far reaches of the Dune Sea (involving a nearby settlement of Sand People) and slay a canyon krayt dragon.
- Kashyyyk, the swamp homeworld of the Wookiees. Under control from the Czerka Corporation, the Wookiees of the planet are enslaved to do their bidding. The Padawan must interact with the tribal politics (involving the exiled Zaalbar and his family) and then navigate the dangerous surface of the planet (encountering the Jedi hermit Jolee Bindo).
- Manaan, the aquatic homeworld of the Selkath. A neutral world in the conflict between the Republic and Sith, the planet houses a valuable healing substance called Kolto (which is used as leverage against both factions in an attempt to remain neutral). The Padawan must navigate the tricky politics to gain favor with the Republic and gain access to a secret underwater science facility (where something has gone wrong).
- Korriban, the volcanic homeworld of the ancient Sith. Along with the Sith-controlled settlement Dreshdae, the planet also houses a Sith Academy. The Padawan must infiltrate the Academy, gain favor with Sith Masters Uthar Wynn and Yuthura Ban, and gain access to the Tombs of the Dark Lords.
In addition, players can navigate to a space station orbiting Yavin IV, where the Soldier encounters a friendly inventor named Suvam Tan. Through him, the Padawan can purchase rare items and equipment not available anywhere else in the game (including unique lightsaber crystals and infinite-use droid weapons) and can sell inventory for higher prices. More inventory is available as more Star Maps are found. On the Xbox version, the station can only be reached after downloading free DLC (making it impossible to reach after the shutdown of the original Xbox Live, if the player has not downloaded the DLC beforehand).
Once three of the four Star Maps are found, the Ebon Hawk is captured by the Leviathan. While most of the crew are either imprisoned or being interrogated, one crew member (designated by the player) must infiltrate the facility and rescue them. Afterwards, the crew must find the bridge controls to escape the Leviathan before the arrival of Darth Malak (who has a shocking revelation for the Padawan).
Trapped on a Nameless World
After the four Star Maps are found, the Ebon Hawk is piloted towards the coordinates of the Star Forge, only to be caught in a planet-wide power disruption field. It crash lands in a mysterious tropical world, which holds two sparring tribes of native species called Rakatan. Along with finding ship parts for the Ebon Hawk, the Padawan must convince one of the tribes to help them access the Temple of the Ancients to disable the field (revealing more information about the Star Forge itself).
Once the power disruption field is disabled and the Republic fleet is waging war against the forces of the Star Forge, the Padawan must infiltrate the space station and face off against Darth Malak in one final confrontation.
Although the cut content in the original Knights of the Old Republic was not as significant as the content that had to be cut from The Sith Lords, a few things were, including one planet that was mentioned in pre-release videos, a dark side romance option, and a brief encounter with Dead-Eye Duncan on Manaan.
The planet, called Sleyheron, was going to be a volcanic world controlled by the Hutts, a slaving center. This planet was supposed to have a Star Map on it, but was likely removed early in the development process to allow Bioware to focus more on their other five main planets. The planet Sleyheron is briefly mentioned in the game on Korriban by Yuthura Ban. It is also mentioned in a side-quest in KOTOR II, where Vogga the Hutt agrees to ship some of his fuel reserves from Sleyheron to Citadel Station, above Telos IV.
Also cut was an option for female Dark Side players who had fallen in love with Carth to repent at the very end of the game. After defeating Malak, Carth would board the Star Forge alone and convince Revan to give up her dark ways. Revan would kill Bastila, and remain with Carth aboard the Star Forge as the Republic forces destroyed it. In this ending, the Ebon Hawk would be destroyed, and all of her crew would be dead by the end of the game. This ending has been recreated via fan-made mods for the PC release of KOTOR.
The other known piece of cut content is on Manaan. If the player defeats Bendak Starkiller in the deathmatch on Taris, later on Manaan, Dead-Eye Duncan will appear in the hangar, having escaped the destruction of Taris, and will ask if he can use your duelist name from Taris, The Mysterious Stranger. This has also been re-created via PC mods.
Also, an early development idea was for there to be a subplot involving clones in KOTOR, but the idea was nixed by LucasArts so that KOTOR would not steal the thunder from the upcoming ‘Attack of the Clones’ film.
- Windows 98 / 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / 7
- Intel Pentium III 1.00 GHz or AMD Athlon 1.00 GHz
- 128 MB RAM required for Windows 98, 256 MB RAM required for Windows ME/2000/XP
- 32 MB OpenGL 1.4 compatible PCI or AGP
- DirectX 9.0b compatible Audio Device required
- 4.0 GB of free hard drive space required
- 4X Speed CD-ROM drive required
- Keyboard and mouse required
*3D Transform Lighting (T&L) Capability required
**Microsoft DirectX 9.0b is included on this CD.
- 1.60 GHZ AMD or equivalent Intel processor
- ATI Radeon 9200 or better, NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti or better
- 512 MB RAM
- ATI Radeon 8500 / 9000 / 9200 / 9500 / 9600 / 9700 / 9800
- NVIDIA GeForce 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 FX family