After tasting glorious success with the original KOTOR, it could be argued that Bioware had dropped the Ewok when they decided to offload development of the sequel to RPG pals Obsidian (Neverwinter Nights 2). Yet while Obsidian cynically decided to reuse, quite literally, half of the locations in the original without even being arsed to change a single texture, they also concocted a humdinger of a plot that truly forged new gaming ground when it came to issues of muddy morality - even if the ending was a convoluted mess. (Interestingly, fans digging into the code have since discovered arguably more satisfying alternative, prolonged endings - presumably left out owing to time constraints...)
But what about KOTOR 3? Well, the excellently-named Feargus Urquhart has confirmed his team at Obsidian certainly want to make it, but much obviously depends upon whether Bioware decide to wrestle back the license or continue to forge ahead with their brand-creating forays such as Mass Effect and Jade Empire. Whichever of the two developers is eventually confirmed as KOTOR3's daddies, what is almost certain is a variation on Effect's innovative GRAW-like combat system rather than the dated D&D d20 rule set combat that seemed archaic even back in the day.
Imagine it: drawing your lightsaber and hacking some limbs off in real time - it'd be like Force Unleashed, but with added tactical acumen... plus it'd all play out on an enhanced version of Mass Effect's Unreal 3-based engine. Expect KOTOR's surprisingly excellent minigames to get a spangly overhaul too, with swoop bike racing, gambling, firing gun turrets, and guiding the Ebon Hawk through an asteroid field.
One thing: regular readers might have noticed that gaming behemoth EA have recently snapped up Bioware, which complicates things in terms of the Star Wars licence, in the UK at least, because all 'Wars games are published by EA rivals Activision. That said, LucasArts say they've struck a deal with Bioware in the last month, for the Canadian outfit to develop something for them, so whether LucasArts publish Bioware's Star Wars game via EA or Activision in the UK, Bioware are definitely doing a Star Wars game... and we reckon that's the long-awaited Star Wars MMO. Which means what for KOTOR 3? Which means it's pencilled in for 2009 and it'll be developed by Obsidian - with Bioware's totally online world rolling out around the same time. Believe it, young Padawan!