If you read creative director Jesse Sky’s blog post, Crafting the Next Story of Star Wars: The Old Republic, then you know that BioWare wanted to use The Empire Strikes Back as the story model for Knights of the Fallen Empire.
The trailer released at Gamescom last week gave us our first glimpse at Empire’s influence on Knights of the Fallen Empire’s story by giving us a scene straight from the film’s most climactic moment.
Let’s discuss the offer.
“You do not have to stand against me. Instead, I will share all of this with you if you will only kneel.” – Valkorian
There it is, it’s Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker – “Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.”
It’s also Darth Sidious and Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith – “You are fulfilling your destiny, Anakin. Become my apprentice. Learn to use the dark side of the Force.”
The big question is will we truly be given the opportunity to say yes, and if so, how will the story branch?
Generally speaking the dark side choices are more interesting. Anakin accepts Sidious’ offer and becomes Darth Vader. He betrays everything to save his family. The Jedi, the Republic, and his deepest friendships. He commits murder, becomes dismembered, and inflicts and endures great suffering before ultimately fulfilling his destiny decades later.
I imagine making this choice will have some real ramifications. In the trailer, Darth Marr is by our side. Will he like this decision or will he hate it? Will the offer be extended to him as well? Will our first act as a servant of Valkorian be to kill Marr?
A lot of people, myself included, really like Darth Marr. Having him as a companion is something I fancy, but so is going down the dark path.
If joining Valkorian is a real choice then I hope they give me the proper motivation for doing so. Anakin chose the dark side because he thought it would save his family. Why would I accept? Am I a power hungry jerk? Are the lives of the people I care about most at stake? Is this a way to save them? Is this a ploy? Is the only way to stop Valkorian to join him and gain his trust? Whatever the reason, I want to make this choice for something more than idle curiosity.
I also want it to be a genuine choice and not some brainwashed or mind controlled decision. I want to be 100% myself when I accept.
Rejecting the offer is the straightforward choice. It’s the choice Luke makes and while I wouldn’t call Luke’s journey boring, it’s certainly more predictable. The motivation for saying no is easy. We’re a veteran of the great war. We’re the Outlander. We’ve been fighting for the greater good all of our life. We’ve come this far, why stop now?
Although it’s a good and noble choice. It too will likely come with consequences. If we make it out of that throne room alive I imagine the hatred and anger that will be unleashed on us and everything we care about will be great. Fighting the good fight will not come without a price.
All throughout Gamescom I heard people like James Ohlen state that Knights of the Fallen Empire is a return to BioWare’s storytelling roots and having choices that matter. The Old Republic’s roots are Star Wars, and there aren’t many bigger choices in Star Wars than the offer.