A feature in EGM has revealed new details concerning LucasArts' upcoming sequel Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords. Minor spoilers for the first Knights of the Old Republic lie within, so you may want to skip over the next paragraph if you haven't beaten it.
Of course, Sith Lords picks up five years after the end of the first KOTOR. Darth Malak and the Jedi civil war have left the Republic in shambles. The Jedi Order has been disbanded, and you play the last known Jedi, a veteran of the Mandalorian war who was in exile during the recent civil war. Somehow, you must piece together a future for yourself and the Jedi Order.
You will not play the same character as in KOTOR, and the story doesn't pick up where the last game left off, though conversations early on in The Sith Lords will bring you up to speed on the happenings of the previous game. However, you will find yourself piloting the same ship from the first game. The Ebon Hawk somehow finds its way onto the deserted asteroid mining facility of Peragus at the beginning of the game.
The Sith Lords will contain multiple endings depending upon whether you tread on the light or the dark-side of the force. But this time the choice won't fall solely upon you. Those you come in contact with will also get light-side or dark-side points. If they idolize you and you fall towards the dark-side, they will do the same. But if they don't care for you, they will do the opposite.
On the game structure side of things, The Sith Lords is similar to its predecessor. It's linear for the most part, but you'll have a lot of freedom to choose what you want to do next. Throughout the course of the game you'll visit seven worlds, including Dantooine from the first game. Those who played the first game will notice that things on that side of the universe have changed a lot because of the invasion by Malak's army. The other worlds will be totally new to the KOTOR series, but at the moment the development team is keeping the identities of these worlds a secret. It was released that you'll visit Telos, the home planet of the first KOTOR's protagonist.
LucasArts and Obsidian have chosen to keep the interface and combat mostly the same as the first KOTOR, choosing to instead refine the old system. Three characters are still controllable, and the controls will work basically the same. Also familiar will be the inventory and character-management screens. "We don't want to mess with functionality too much," said LucasArts Producer Michael Gallo, "because we felt it was pretty good." For example, quick-key slots have been added should you want to beat on your foe with a different weapon configuration.
You will once again be able to upgrade your equipment, but this time around you will have the opportunity to do more of it. The workbenches where you upgrade items will have more options. You'll be able to break down items you already have, and use the deconstructed components to build up more powerful components. More upgrades for your lightsaber will be there to tinker around with as well, including more lightsaber colors. Your skills will also influence your upgrade options. More armor types will be available if you have a really high Repair skill, for example.
The visuals will be optimized, and it has been said that more impressive lighting affects will be present. Weather effects and slicker attack animations will also be employed. As your character gets higher-level feats, the animations that accompany them will become more complex. But for the most part, you can expect the graphics to be very similar to KOTOR.
Lots of characters from the first KOTOR will make appearances in the new game. The only recurring characters confirmed to have big roles are the droids T3-M4 and another droid who strongly resembles the original KOTOR's HK-47.
As far as Force powers are concerned, The Sith Lords will give you more to work with. Though as of yet, only a few new powers have been revealed: Dark Sider Rage and Battle Mediation. Force Sight, a new stealth ability, will let you see through walls, and will assess a character's alignment.
Star Wars fanatics and casual fans alike should mark the projected February 2005 release date on their calendars. When new details become available, count on RPGamer to bring you the latest.