In 2003, BioWare and LucasArts released Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on PC and Xbox, with the game earning widespread critical acclaim and quickly recognized as arguably the finest Star Wars game ever made. The next year, Obsidian Entertainment released a sequel that, while not quite as well-received as the first game, still earned rave reviews and strong sales. Since then, fans have been waiting patiently for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3, but the game has never been announced.
Considering the popularity of the first two Knights of the Old Republic games, some fans may be scratching their heads as to why Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 still has yet to be developed. Well, there's a few reasons why fans haven't seen KOTOR 3 yet, but even though they've been waiting well over a decade at this point, there's still hope that the game will one day materialize.
Why Knights of the Old Republic 3 Hasn't Happened
After BioWare shipped Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, it started work on a number of other projects, including the martial arts-themed RPG Jade Empire, as well as Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for the Nintendo DS and its blockbuster sci-fi franchise Mass Effect. Mass Effect, in fact, can be seen as somewhat of a successor to the Knights of the Old Republic, and may be partially to blame for KOTOR 3's continued absence.
Mass Effect was headed by Casey Hudson and writer Drew Karpyshyn, who previously collaborated on KOTOR. Mass Effect's sprawling sci-fi universe was likely inspired by the Star Wars franchise, as was the choice to make it an epic saga across a trilogy of games instead of a singular release. With Mass Effect, BioWare could capture the audience that it reached with Knights of the Old Republic, but do so with an original IP that would offer greater benefits for the studio in the grand scheme of things.
Simply put, Mass Effect's existence made Knights of the Old Republic 3 redundant. From its combat system to its basic features and mechanics, it's clear that Mass Effect was heavily inspired by BioWare's previous work on KOTOR, and it wouldn't have made sense for BioWare to move forward with Knights of the Old Republic 3 at that point in time.
With BioWare busy working on games like the Mass Effect trilogy and its new Dragon Age franchise, Knights of the Old Republic 3 never got off the ground. However, that didn't mean BioWare was done with Star Wars or the titular "Old Republic" just yet.
Rumors and Remakes
In 2011, BioWare launched Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMO set in the Star Wars universe. While not quite Knights of the Old Republic 3, The Old Republic is the closest thing fans have gotten to the long-awaited sequel so far. In recent years, the game has been supported by BioWare Austin, who has continued pumping out expansion packs as early as last year.
BioWare Austin, by the way, has been rumored to be working on KOTOR 3 in the past. In fact, industry insider Liam Robertson claimed as much earlier this year, only to later redact his statement. While it's possible Robertson misspoke, BioWare Austin's continued work on Star Wars: The Old Republic shows that it has experience with the Knights of the Old Republic setting, and with the main BioWare studio busy on a new sci-fi action RPG called Anthem, it would make sense for BioWare Austin to lead the charge on KOTOR 3's development.
If BioWare Austin isn't developing Knights of the Old Republic 3, maybe it is working on a full-fledged remake of the original game. After all, there was a rumor a couple of years back that a Knights of the Old Republic remake was in the works, though if such a project does exist, nothing has been announced.
With nothing but rumors and speculation to go by, many KOTOR fans have given up hope that they will ever see Knights of the Old Republic 3. However, new hope for the game came in 2012, when Disney shook the entertainment industry at large to its very core.
A New Hope
In 2012, Disney shocked the world by purchasing LucasArts from Star Wars creator George Lucas to the tune of $4.06 billion. The company immediately got to work on its plans to revitalize the franchise, beginning development on new film projects, video games, novels, TV shows, and more.
Then in 2013, Disney made the decision to step away from console and PC game development, entrusting the Star Wars IP to Electronic Arts. EA immediately started assigning Star Wars video game projects to its biggest studios, with DICE set to work on Star Wars Battlefront and Visceral given an ill-fated Star Wars single player game. With EA now in control of Star Wars video games, it means now is more likely than ever that BioWare could finally start development on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3.
There are a few other interesting developments that should give fans some hope that they will eventually see a KOTOR 3 announcement. For one, major BioWare talent that worked on the original game have returned to the studio. Knights of the Old Republic writer Drew Karpyshyn has come out of retirement to work on Anthem, and director Casey Hudson is back at the company as well, currently serving as its general manager.
With a couple of the most important people that worked on the original KOTOR back at BioWare under the EA umbrella, it stands to reason that the studio may be even more interested in making KOTOR 3 than ever before. However, some fans may be worried that Karpyshyn and Hudson returning to BioWare doesn't mean much since Disney restructured Star Wars canon, retroactively making almost all non-film and television Star Wars products non-canon, including KOTOR.
On the contrary, Disney seems to have some respect for KOTOR and as a result, The Old Republic saga in general may still be canon. There's some evidence that speaks to this, namely with Star Wars Rebels referencing the Mandalorian Wars. For the uninitiated, the Mandalorian Wars were a conflict that KOTOR's plot revolves around, and if that event is still canon, it seems as though everything in KOTOR is also canon.
And finally, there's one more reason why Knights of the Old Republic fans should have some hope that they will one day see Knights of the Old Republic 3. The first game in the series is now playable on Xbox One, thanks to the console's backward compatibility with original Xbox games. While that may not necessarily mean much, it does show that EA is interested in making the game more readily available to modern gamers, and if the game proves popular enough on the service, it could prove to the higher-ups that KOTOR 3 would be a profitable endeavor.
Will we ever get Knights of the Old Republic 3? Right now, it's hard to say one way or another. However, it's more likely now than it was five years ago. We don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but all the pieces are in place for a KOTOR comeback, and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see the game finally announced at a big gaming event like E3 within the next couple of years.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 is not currently in known development for any platforms.