Knights of the Old Republic EP39: No Witnesses!

By Shamus
on Jan 1, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

46 comments


Link (YouTube)

So maybe we didn’t make a lot of progress this week. And maybe our commentary rarely rose above the level of “LOL videogame logic!” But damn it, this was fun.

Let’s never ever do this again.

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Footnotes:



20206Feeling chatty? There are 46 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. Ledel says:

    I heard that you will uncover the mysteries in System Shock 3 by solving hidden object puzzles. These games are a big hit with the demographic of the players of the original System Shock nowadays.

  2. ehlijen says:

    Don’t forget to go talk to the locker. He’s pretty much the only interesting thing down there, if I remember right.

  3. SlothfulCobra says:

    The videogame community seems to be particularly vulnerable to outrage over IPs going wrong. I think it comes from from the idea that people seem to have about videogames being iterative, people always seem to expect the sequel to be better than the last game, and if one game is critically acclaimed, people think “well, it’s a little late for me to get this game, I’ll just wait to buy the sequel.”

    People might as well just accept that what’s good is good and just because one game is good doesn’t magically convey quality upon its sequels. There’s only unmet expectations along that road.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      But there are advantages. The first game you’re often getting together your team, figuring out what your setting is, what your mechanics will be, etc. In the sequel, you can add the features you didn’t have time for first time around, make adjustments to your existing design from watching your game loose for years in the community and in theory focus more on content (assuming you’re staying in the same generation and don’t need to rebuild everything from scratch). And since we’re talking about a game the fans love, that sequel is going to have more money thrown into production most likely.

      That doesn’t guarantee a better product but video game sequels are more likely to be of improved quality than, say, movie sequels just because of the time it takes to make a game and how much of that you don’t have to do the second time.

      • SlothfulCobra says:

        There’s still all sorts of ways that trying to iterate on what was already good can go wrong. You can add more features, but that can end up swamping the player in all sorts of meaningless extra details that detract from the overall experience. If you tweak mechanics you can upset the balance, and if you don’t tweak them, you can risk things going stale, and for story-based games, narratives can be hit or miss. Games aren’t just a bucket that you need to shove as much as possible into, they’re the synthesis of all their parts. It’s easy for developers to lose track of the elements that people liked about previous games in all the mess.

        The biggest example of all this is Assassin’s Creed. Pretty much everyone agrees that by AC3 things had fallen apart, but the games had been shoving more and more into their games for a while. It’s hard to pinpoint where the feature creep became too much, and the narratives clearly were getting worse, until AC4 where there’s a better story (at least I think so) and a brand new mechanic that’s fun on its own even without worrying about the story implications. And if you want a period piece game that’s mostly just about working out how to assassinate your target instead of jumping through story hoops? There’s still AC1 for that. Each of the games in the series are different beasts.

        People compare books, movies, or episodes of individual series all the time, pointing out the best ones that they try to show to others to introduce the series and the worst ones that they pretend never happened, and for them they never expect the newest one to be best. Hell, even with operating systems, there’s always at least a healthy distrust of the newest one, because everybody has heard of horror stories of things like Vista and ME.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          I’m pretty sure AC is a classic example of a victim of its own success. While part two is probably more fluid and polished mechanically it clearly turned more mass appeal thematically. Also, someone decided to stretch the series (turning part 2 into a trilogy within the trilogy) and then to stretch the series again potentially ad infinitum. AC4 was primarily a success because on the one hand it was built from the grounds up to leverage the success of the AC3 sailing mechanics on the other the devs pretty much gave up on the core story and only mention it in passing. It’s pretty clear that at this point for Ubi AC is thematically a series of theme parks rather than a consistent story and mechanically, if Unity is any indication, a platform to run the features they think will sell. My personal theory is that Syndicate is them playing it relatively safe and not rocking the boat too much to keep the interest in the series after the Unity flop and that the next installment will have some fancy new mechanics at its core again.

    • Viktor says:

      If I’m spending $60 on a product that’s non-returnable, I want some guarantee of quality. Reviews are generally terrible/purchased, demos are non-existent, basically continuity of IP and trusting certain creators are my only options. And in no other media are those at all risky. If you liked Fellowship of the Ring, you’ll generally like The Two Towers. If you cried at Saving Private Ryan, check out Schindler’s List. Only in video games do you on a regular basis get sequels to stuff that is completely unrecognizable to fans of the original.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Lord of the Rings isn’t the best example. That was all originally written as one book.

        • Geebs says:

          Neither is the Spielberg example, really. I’m eternally grateful for the fact that he never made a fourth Indiana Jones movie, but I can’t shake this nagging feeling that it wouldn’t have turned out all that great if he had.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      People might as well just accept that what’s good is good and just because one game is good doesn’t magically convey quality upon its sequels.

      True.But if a group of people makes A good thing,and now they work on Another thing that has many similarities with A good thing,it stands to reason that Another thing will be at least as good.Its not a guaranty,but it is often the case.

    • It would be helpful if we didn’t have the problem where graphics and VO keep getting better and better at the expense of everything else, thus virtually guaranteeing that a sequel will be worse in every way, except graphics and VO.

      Perhaps we’ve plateaued for a bit and games can start working on depth again, but I’m going to hold off calling that for another couple of years. (In some ways it’s a hopeful sign that this iteration of the console wars did not go all-in on “more power!”.)

  4. Starker says:

    Um.. why all the cynicism about SS3? It’s going to be made by people from Looking Glass and it even has some of the original voice talent on board like Terri Brosius and Stephen Russell. Seems to me the game will have an above average chance of not sucking.

    • Endymion says:

      SHODAN is a great villain and a major reason the games worked. But she has been defeated twice now. A third defeat would just make her laughably pathetic.

      I’m in the camp that hopes we get to actually play as SHODAN for the game. Or rather the half-human half-SHODAN woman from the escape pod at the end of SS2.

      • Starker says:

        She was always pathetic, though. She always fought by proxy — through security cameras, traps and henchmen. She even had to use outside agents to kill her rebellious children.

        It wasn’t that she was undefeated or especially powerful that made her terrifying, it was that she was unscrupulous and in control of your environment.

      • Syal says:

        SHODAN doesn’t work as the main antagonist much longer, but she wasn’t the main antagonist in the second game; the main antagonist was an unexpected effect of her plan from the first one. If they’re smart about it, they can take that path a long way.

        Like, didn’t she rewrite time and space in the second game? That’s got to have some blowback.

        • Starker says:

          Interesting. There’s no telling what might have come through. It is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. A land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.

          You’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone.

  5. Nyctef says:

    Rutskarn with some legitimately good writing advice this week.

    And yeah, I saw the submarine in the credits and didn’t believe that we’d actually make it through the dozen different trials – yet here we are! Underwater and everything!

  6. Wide And Nerdy says:

    About Mumbles actually killing the last survivor in video games:

    This all goes back to the Lottery Winner from New Vegas doesn’t it.

  7. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Snoke should take a pontoon out to the lake and sing “Snoke on the water.”

  8. The Mich says:

    “I just want everyone to feel the pain that I feel on a daily basis.” Mumbles is the Patrick Bateman of nerds

  9. Gruhunchously says:

    Ummm…The locker? Tell me you guys aren’t going to miss talking to the locker…

  10. falselordzalzabar says:

    Are you trying to convict me of murdering a man who looks just like the sith prosecutor, has the same voice as the sith prosecutor, and walks the same as him? I put to the jury that I in fact murdered no one! In fact, everyone in the jury is all the same person with the same face, and voice, and sitting animation! Who I have not murdered!

  11. baseless_research says:

    I posit that video games would be greatly enhanced if they took the NOLF approach to gunfodder.

    example:



  12. Twisted_Ellipses says:

    I think you could probably overturn these verdicts by declaring them the result of mistrials. Even kangaroo courts last longer….

  13. Majere says:

    This was a really great week, my favourite episodes are the ones where you guys are just having fun.

  14. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Was just listening to Episode 33 again and Shamus says that the character Darth Bandon makes him imagine this pouty millenial. Weeks before we were all introduced to Kylo Ren.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Just wait until we get to Korriban. That place if filled to the brim with proto-Kylo Rens. It makes going there after the big reveal so much more satisfying, especially since by that point you likely have more than enough raw power to bulldoze over the little upstarts.

      • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

        The people trying to join fit the mold pretty well, but several of the actual Sith are kind of the opposite of Kylo Ren. They perform evil because it amuses them.

  15. shiroax says:

    “Spoiler Warning is not your waifu” should go on a shirt.

  16. Gruhunchously says:

    I’m imagining a scene where every Sith within a ten mile radius looks up in confusion as “YOU VIOLATED THE TREATY!?!” booms and echoes throughout Ahto City.

  17. John says:

    You are forgetting one very important thing with respect to Sunry’s trial: handing over the video to the judges is the fastest way to get it over with. Otherwise, there’s talking and talking and talking. In fact, I have never even tried to get Sunry acquitted. Is it even possible without witness tampering?

    • shiroax says:

      Iirc, there’s the tampered video. I think you need to kill everything on the sith planet and hack their computer to steal it.

    • Atarlost says:

      I think you just need to get the Rhodian that planted the medal to admit to planting the medal. Just don’t call anyone else. Possibly you need to get the gambler to say he saw the vic with a lightsaber. You certainly don’t need to pressure or bribe the innkeeper to lie. Just don’t call him.

  18. Jnosh says:

    *Shamus talking about the someone-bending-over-holding-their-head-wriggling-back-and-forth animation*: “… they used it in Kotor and they used it in Jade Empire 2…”

    My brain got really excited there for a split second – before it realized what had happened…

    RIP Bioware, we really miss you :-(

    • Gruhunchously says:

      I always wondered if it was a coincidence that Bioware never did (their own) numbered sequels during their Classic Era.

      • Supahewok says:

        *Cough*Baldur’s Gate 2*Cough*

        *Cough*Licensed games that Bioware didn’t have the rights to make sequels for*Cough*

        *Cough*Except Jade Empire which comparatively bombed*Cough*

        Sorry, I’ve got some Internet congestion.

        • Jnosh says:

          Pretty much this…

          And that’s a good thing too. We got several pretty unique settings out of Bioware in pretty short order. I don’t think pushing out Baldur’s Gate III-VIII instead would’ve made quite the same impact.

  19. guy says:

    Rutskarn was talking about Hare Hare Yukari /evenbiggernerd

  20. DGM says:

    Mumbles: “If I was a Sith I would just make it my life goal to just ruin things that people love with all of their hearts.”

    Me: “So, you’d be on Spoiler Warning?”

  21. Fourthords says:

    Did anybody else recognize the Twi’lek mercenary as Ethan Phillips?

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