Knights of the Old Republic EP38: Manaanigan

By Josh
on Dec 31, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

42 comments


Link (YouTube)

I’m not sure whether I respect KOTOR’s handling of the Selkath kids quest or am annoyed by it. On the one hand, in a modern (and unreasonably terrified you might miss content) game, the quest would have triggered when you approached the locked door whether you had it or not. And to an extent, that makes logical sense; at the very least, it doesn’t seem as if you knowing about the missing children ahead of time would make any difference as to whether or not the door would be open.

On the other hand, that aforementioned phobia that players might dare to actually miss content (the horror!) intensely irritates me on some base, indescribable level. And I have to give KOTOR props for committing to it, even if the player decides to take it as far as committing court-assisted suicide; I legitimately expected someone from the Republic to show up and go “No no no no,” right up to the moment we got electric-chaired.

I guess, ultimately, what I’m saying is that I respect KOTOR’s quest design, I just wish it was a little less clumsy with it. Which really is how I’ve come to feel about the game as a whole.

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Footnotes:



2020242 comments. (Insert played-out "meaning of life, the universe and everything" joke here.)

From the Archives:

  1. Jarenth says:

    Josh told me to comment on this post before watching the actual video. Blame him, not me!

    His is an evil corrupting influence that surely deserves electrocution in Fish People Jail.

  2. guy says:

    I find that missing content is not even remotely as fun as being able to miss content but not.

  3. Tuskin says:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned in the comments yet, or in one of the videos and I forgot, but a Selkath showed up in an Episode of the Clone Wars as a bounty hunter, Dooku implies they’re not a Peaceful species anymore.

  4. Neil D says:

    Lacking a Twitter account I just want to chime in here and agree with what you said about the Plinkett reviews. Such a shame, because I’d like to be able to just recommend them to people whole-heartedly without having to throw in a warning about the disturbing serial killer aspect. And for some people I just didn’t recommend it at all because I know they wouldn’t be able to look past the creepiness factor.

    As you said, if it just remained the odd comment that made you go “huh?” it could have just come off as quirky and amusing. I got the impression that he was also trying to make a demo reel for his movie-making career and it kept getting in the way.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    Wow – I’ve only just twigged that they have a Fish-Head Guy right there on the “box” art. I guess these Selkath dudes are really important to the whole shebang for some reason? Despite sounding like a pneumoniac warthog being fed backwards through a defective woodchipper.

  6. Killbuzz says:

    So, I’ve been following the LP and the comments for a while and despite all the deep discusson, I don’t think there has been any mention of the fundamental flaw of Kotor’s premise, which surprised me.

    It’s the fact that the player character is one of the most well-known Jedi to have ever turned to the dark side yet nobody, not even his former Jedi masters on Dantooine, recognizes him. This is a Death Star-sized lapse in plot coherency. I think the writers were so focused on the twist/shocking reveal that they neglected thinking through the story itself.

    I suspect the writers at Bioware took inspiration from Planescape: Torment, which has an identical premise: you play as a character who has amnesia and who turns out to have a dark past. But that game actually explored the implications of its premise to the very end, and you constantly met characters who knew you and who would even take advantage of your amnesia by deceiving you.

    • James says:

      OH Spoilers btw

      the masters on dantooine know, as does bastila they just keep it from you cus they are manipulating assholes

      • Killbuzz says:

        My bad, I wrote ‘masters’ when I meant ‘collegues’. I was referring to all those generic Jedi NPC’s walking around on Dantooine. And there are also other characters who should have known, like Carth.

        I would argue that the behavior of the characters who did know doesn’t really make sense in hindsight either. Their ‘plan’ relies on an extremely shaky premise. There are much more productive and less risky ways in which they could have used and/or redeemed Revan. It gets particularly absurd in some cases, like when you resolve that family feud quest on Dantooine by having both families kill themselves, yet neither the Jedi Masters upon hearing this nor Bastila (who witnesses this herself) even bother to intervene.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Well, no there hasn’t been much discussion of that extremely important plot point because the cast agreed to- and encouraged the audience to comply with- not discussing that until it was actually revealed in the Let’s Play.

      Yes, it’s an extremely well-known secret to most everyone at this point, but still.

      • krellen says:

        I’m surprised they haven’t hit the twist yet. I distinctly remember triggering it before leaving Dantooine.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Its not which planet you’re leaving, its how much overall progress you’ve made before you leave the current planet that dictates whether that series of events kicks off.

          This is why a lot of people recommend saving Korriban for last. That way you’ll know the big twist before visiting. You have to complete all but one of the Act Two planets before that whole thing goes down.

          • krellen says:

            It’s possible Dantooine is just when I figured it out. I’ve never been particularly impressed with the “twist” as a storytelling method, though at least KOTOR’s is done well (as it’s very well telegraphed, so when you know it you go “OH! Okay, that makes sense”, not “where the hell did that come from”. I’m looking at you, Shyamalan.)

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              To me it was more of a “Finally the game graciously allows me to figure it out” since I think I’ve figured it out the moment I saw the bridge fight scene.

    • Ledel says:

      Spoilers:

      As far as the mass majority of people not knowing: 1) Your character wasn’t really known that well until they took part in the Mandalorian Wars, at that point they were probably already wearing the mask and renounced the Light Side. 2) It’s been implied that it’s been decade(s) since Revan was last seen without his/her mask on. 3) There are those in the know of what is going on, but they are doing what they can to cover it up (having announced that Revan is dead).

      • ? says:

        Revan started wearing the mask and using the name Revan the moment Jedi Order officially supported going to war with Mandalorians (still on a light side back then). It was a knight errant style oath to hide their identity until Mandos are defeated. Before that he/she was only a knight and not very famous one. So even within the Order only the Council and handful of others would know Revan personally.

        • James says:

          as i recall he put the mask on after the massacre of Cathar by the mandalorians, (he put it on and vowed not to remove it untill the mandalorians were defeated) Reven and Malak were supporting the republic before the Jedi Order did, and i think Reven and Malak had been using thoughs names for along time before then, though i cant find anything that says when.

          Shorter Version

          Reven and Malak joined the war with Reven’s faction of Jedi after the massacre of Cathar, Reven put on the mask then, the massacre of Cathar was the second outer rim world to fall to the mandalorians in the war with the republic

          • ? says:

            Massacre of Cathar actually happened a decade before the war, finding the mask there triggered mass force vision of a massacre. Since it was a meeting place between Revan’s faction and Jedi council, it convinced the council to fully support fighting Mandalorians. Before this event Revan was known as the Revanchist, he/she just made it official. Malak was using his name first to go undercover as a pirate (around issue 30 of the comic book AFAIR) and then as a sign of protest against council’s non involvement policy. I guess they both liked it and kept longer than needed.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          There’s also the fact that Star Wars universe is perpetually in this weird high-tech fantasy state where access to technology and information is strictly governed by plot. In particular media in the form we seem to think of them is largely absent and while they do have holograms and instantaneous communication appears to be a thing regardless of distance (most of the time) at the same time an average person seems to get most of their news… actually I’m not entirely sure how.

          • ? says:

            The fact that both Revan and Malak became public persons while using pseudonyms and Revan intentionally hiding behind a mask helps with it. Most people who worked with them closely during the war or before it are in the Sith Empire now. Why would there be widely available public record of otherwise unremarkable jedi knight? He/she isn’t that sort of celebrity.

          • SlothfulCobra says:

            In-universe media for Star Wars seems to be a little verboten, since the first time somebody explored the concept was the holiday special, and nobody wants to harken to that at all.

            People will talk about the “holonet” and stuff like that, but it’s all pretty vague whenever push comes to shove. The most you ever see normally is wanted posters.

    • SlothfulCobra says:

      All the masters recognize him. You could also argue that most of the Sith know who you are, they just don’t blurt out your name.

      It only really becomes a plot hole on Korriban…

  7. Sadbench says:

    No, I didn’t realize it was Josh until I saw the tag. >.>

  8. ? says:

    Bad trigger discipline is not a result of Sith training. Since Selkath live on a planet with abundant miraculous cure they have very relaxed attitude towards personal injury. If you shoot yourself in a cheek flap – just rub some kolto on it!

  9. Ledel says:

    I’m waiting for the next episode where Josh just straight up pleads guilty to troll the cast.

  10. John says:

    Fun fact. I once broke in to the Sith Embassy on Manaan, found the missing Selkath, and left–but forgot to get the thing from the droid for the Republic. The Selkath are so pissed at the Sith that they declare the Sith Embassy a violence-is-officially-tolerated-and-by-tolerated-we-mean-encouraged zone. You can’t fight anyone outside the embassy, but inside you can do as you like.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      You’d think there’d be more of a fuss made about the Selkath discovering the Sith’s plot and thus declaring their embassy exempt from their protection. It’s kind of easy to forget that Manaan is one of the current political situation has Manaan as one of the most important planets in the galaxy, and thus all the dicking around you do there probably has very far reaching consequences.

  11. SlothfulCobra says:

    Oh, so since the court scene was just a continuous sequence of dialogue trees, the game never technically left things to the player, and there was never a chance for an autosave or a save from Josh, so…oh…

    Well you know, there’s still a chance now for Josh to do the secret solo quest. Come on! You like killing people! You also like plot hooks that don’t go anywhere, right? I bet you do!

  12. Ringwraith says:

    Speaking of missing sidequests, been playing a JRPG lately, Trails in the Sky, which is okay I guess, although has some silly attention to detail as every NPC has dialogue changes after every step of progressing the main story, even the ones way out of the way you have no reason to walk to. Got some backtracking issues of walking up and down the same roads dodging fights a lot.
    Anyway, there’s a bunch of sidequests, and they’re ‘timed’ in that you have to do them before so many progressions of the main story, you get nothing but a rough indicator of how long that is (it just comes up as ‘short/medium/long term’). Although that’s not the worst of it, which is there are hidden sidequests which require talking to certain NPCs at certain times, often when you have no reason to go there. Also there’s some collectable (readable!) books which require talking to specific NPCs at even weirder times, so you will miss those, and hidden requirements to some quests to give you more ranking points, although they mostly don’t matter unless you’re going for a perfect score and aaaahhh.
    Madness.

    On the other hand, all the constantly-changing NPC dialogue does mean you get little insights into their lives and some of them go into real mini-domestic-soap stories. It’s neat. Although I spend ages running around town talking to everyone constantly.

    • Supahewok says:

      I’m playing through that game now too. I know for sure that Short-term means that it’ll expire upon the very next main plot objective. I suspect Medium-Term is 2 objectives, and Long is 3.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Broadly, it is, just means you have to do sidequests very shortly after they appear, which means more walking up and down the windy roads.
        The hidden sidequests don’t have timers though as not accepted from the notice board, so you don’t even have an indicator for those.

  13. Merlin says:

    Are silly suicide options a Bioware tradition? I’m reminded of Morinth in Mass Effect 2. After so many warnings about how Asari brain sex with her kills everybody, she lays it on super thick with “Oh, but you’re so cool and special, protagonist. You can totally definitely overcome the thing that kills normal people.” And… promptly fade to back, Game Over. I’m curious if anything along these lines has shown up elsewhere. Heroic protagonist sacrifice doesn’t count, we’re looking for pointless self-sabotage.

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