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1. The Secret Planet
The sequel to KOTOR famously had plenty of unfinished or missing content that fans spent years restoring. While KOTOR is mostly complete, there is still a “secret” planet that gamers discovered on the disc.
BioWare originally wanted to include a Hutt-controlled planet called Sleheyron where you must prove your worth in gladiator combat. They didn’t have time to develop much, but diligent players were able to dig up some textures and music for this missing planet.
2. The Secret of HK-47’s Name
Many Star Wars droids seem to be a random combination of letters and numbers. But when it comes to HK-47, nothing is random about his name!
The “HK” part comes from Drew Karpyshyn’s love of billiards. He once played on a team with four dudes with the last name Harrison. Between the Harrisons and Karpyshyn, they ended up with “HK” as part of the team name.
What about the 47? Karpyshyn wanted something that invoked the sound and feel of an AK-47, so their full billiards team name became “the HK-47s.” Years later, he joined BioWare and worked on KOTOR, and gave this murderous moniker to our favorite assassin droid.
3. Malak Dances?!?
Depending on your character build, that final fight with Malak can get pretty intense. But did you know you can trade that intensity for sexy times instead?
With the help of a convoluted cheat involving multiple controllers and ports, you can skip that final fight altogether. Instead, Malak will transform into a Twi’lek woman and begin dancing for your pleasure!
4. Pazaak Lives in the Sequel Trilogy
Sabacc is the trademark Star Wars card game. However, Sabacc is also far too complicated. That’s why KOTOR introduced a simpler card game in the form of Pazaak.
That game has extended beyond KOTOR, with many fans printing their own Pazaak cards to play in real life. And if you look closely, you can even see characters playing this game in Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana!
5. It Nearly Killed the Devs
As great as KOTOR is, it has its own Dark Side. And we’re not talking about anyone using the Force!
This was one of many games BioWare made where “crunch” was just part of the expected lifestyle for developers. Some of these devs have memories of staying up for days at a time and getting no sleep for stretches of 48 hours or more.
The final game was absolutely amazing. But most gamers don’t realize this quality came at a cost!
6. Fighting the Programming
HK-47 is a fan-favorite character in part because of the juxtaposition of his personality. While he is a lethal assassination droid, his dialogue is filled with amusing sarcasm and derogatory nicknames for his companions.
But this droid was almost an entirely different character. The original script had straightforward dialogue, and Kristoffer Tabori went out of his way to inject sarcasm and comedy into his line readings. This angered some devs at the time but helped to make HK-47 an iconic character.
7. Reference to the Yuuzhan Vong
It only takes two little words to divide the EU fan community: “Yuuzhan Vong.” These mysterious antagonists were at the heart of the New Jedi Order of books, but those books (and their overall story) sometimes paled compared to what came before.
Here’s where KOTOR comes in: if you talk to Canderous Ordo enough, he will tell a wild story about encountering a seeming asteroid that wakes up when he is melting the methane off of it. The asteroid fires on him and then escapes beyond the edge of the galaxy.
This perfectly lines up with the behavior of certain Yuuzhan Vong vessels and practices, and this is a species that comes from another galaxy. And while this is not certain, the fact that Canderous woke the thing up with what it thought was an attack means he may have triggered a major invasion that would happen millennia later!
8. The KOTOR 2 We Could Have Had
The insane success of KOTOR demanded a sequel. There was just one problem: the original developers weren’t too keen on rushing back in.
Despite that, James Ohlen once discussed a basic idea about what that sequel would look like. They wanted to have a game where a non-Revan character is being mentored by a Yoda-like “Jedi” before realizing that he is evil and only manipulating the player.
They most likely wanted the shock value of players realizing someone with a face like Yoda is actually twisted and evil. But we can see some of these ideas play out in KOTOR 2, where a non-Revan character is both guided and manipulated by the mysterious Kreia.
9. The Force Plague
A lot of KOTOR’s deeper lore is connected to the Rakatans (also known as The Builders). With their Infinite Empire, these guys ruled the stars before everything collapsed.
Buried in the details of that collapse, though, is a pretty scary concept. Most of their numbers were wiped out by a mysterious plague, and one of the side effects of that plague is that survivors could no longer use the Force.
This means it’s possible to wage biological warfare against Jedi and Sith. However, this is a concept the franchise never really returned to.
10. The Fight Club Connection
*Spoilers Ahead* It may be hard to picture a connection between Fight Club and KOTOR. But for the devs behind the game, that connection is all too real!
That’s because BioWare came up with the Darth Revan twist very early on. The challenge, though, was finding the right areas to plant hints about this without being too obvious. To get these hints just right, the devs watched movies like Fight Club and The Sixth Sense for inspiration.
11. The Comic Connections
Gamers loved KOTOR in part because it took place thousands of years before the time of Luke and Leia. But one thing that helped BioWare make the game is that this time period was well-explored territory thanks to earlier Star Wars comics and novels.
Tales of the Jedi and other comics helped flesh out details about the Jedi, Sith, the Mandalorians, and much more. From small references in dialogue to lore about certain items, people, and locations, there are countless Easter eggs for anyone well-versed in the early days of the EU.
12. They’re All Going to Laugh At You!
Part of the fun of KOTOR is visiting the different planets in your chosen order. But many players don’t realize that saving Korriban for last will give you some fun new dialogue options.
Once your character knows that he is Darth Revan, you can tell many of the inhabitants of Korriban. However, most people don’t believe you and will mock your claims. But if you play your cards right, you can convince Uthar and Yuthura of your true identity.
13. Slowly Becoming Canon
KOTOR was one of many creative casualties once Disney bought Star Wars. The House of Mouse helped to render all those beloved EU novels, comics, and games into non-canonical “Legends.”
However, many facets of KOTOR are slowly becoming canon. Revan was going to be included in an episode of Clone Wars but was cut (though you can watch a rough deleted scene online). But in Rise of Skywalker, there are Sith Legions that are named after powerful Sith Lords, and that includes a Revan Legion.
On top of that, the Hammerhead corvettes from KOTOR have popped up in Rogue One and Rebels, and Malachor V from KOTOR II has been featured in Rebels (though only going by the name Malachor).
14. Bastila Wasn’t Going to Be in the Game
While characters like Revan and Malak are cool, it was Bastila (voiced by the incomparable Jennifer Hale) that was the real heart and soul of KOTOR. Strangely, though, Bastila was originally not going to be in the game at all!
Originally, this character was going to be Vima Sunrider instead. This would tie in with Vima Da-Boda referencing her ancestor’s Battle Meditation skills in the original Dark Empire comics. But there were trademark issues with a character named “Sunrider,” so BioWare eventually switched to Bastila Shan.
15. Characters Made “A Long Time Ago”
The real secret to KOTOR’s success is the awesome characters you can play as. While many of them fit rough archetypes (like “hotshot pilot” or “Wookie guardian”), they all feel marvelously unique and real.
Why are the characters so great? As it turns out, the lead designer of the game (James Ohlen) had developed many of these characters when he DMed the old West End Games Star Wars RPG for his friends.
The moral here is to hang onto your character sheets. You never know when they will come in handy!