Obsidian’s KOTOR 3 Pitch
Even though Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 are self-contained stories, the games are also interconnected in some really big ways, as the Jedi of old worked to uncover a secret Sith empire growing in the Unknown Regions of space. While BioWare developed the first game in 2003, it was Obsidian Entertainment who made the second a year later. And Obsidian had plans for a third game, too, one that would have seen a new player character following Revan on his search for the real Sith threat behind the events of the first two games, and face ancient Sith lords that would make villains like Nihilus, Traya, and Malak look like chumps.
But we never got this version of KOTOR 3. At the end of the day, the best laid plans of mouse droids and men often go awry, especially when corporate drama is to blame.
According to VG247 and the book Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts, shortly after Obsidian finished work on KOTOR 2, the company immediately started working on a pitch for a third entry. The studio made a lot of headway on their KOTOR 3 pitch, including quests, characters, environments, and story beats. Obsidian’s devs envisioned a game where players went up against ancient Sith lords who controlled entire galactic arms. What a way to make the likes of Darth Revan and Darth Malak look like chumps.
So why didn’t this project happen? Apparently, LucasArts wanted to handle a threequel with its in-house development team instead of outsourcing it.
In 2004, LucasArts’ V.P. of marketing, online, and global distributions Jim Ward was promoted to company president. One of Ward’s first actions as president was to audit LucasArts, and he didn’t like what he found. Most of LucasArt’s profits apparently came from externally-developed Star Wars titles, which resulted in many extra expenses and didn’t bode well for the company’s long-term viability. So, Ward set out to restructure LucasArts. According to Game Informer, he shifted development to focus on internal projects and reduced the company’s workforce of 450 employees to roughly 190. Projects being developed by outside studios, including a potential KOTOR 3, were canceled due to Ward’s plans for the company’s future.
While Obsidian’s threequel never came into fruition, BioWare and Electronic Arts did finally continue the story (from a certain point of view) when it released 2011’s The Old Republic, which is still receiving new story updates and expansions today. But the call of a proper KOTOR sequel continued to echo through the halls of the legendary studio…