Some ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ Staff Worked 16-Hour Days to Get the Game Finished On Time

Making video games is no easy feat, especially when trying to make a high-quality game under a developer’s budget. Many software studios are notorious for working their employees overtime, especially when the game’s release date draws closer. This was no different for employees at Bioware when making the beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game. 

A large crowd gathers in front of the Millennium Falcon at dusk during the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge unveiling event
Star Wars | Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Learn more about the crunch time hours the employees worked to finish the game, the game’s premise, and how the game was received by fans. 

16-hour days were common for employees

Den of Geek interviewed the author of the book Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic about how the game was developed and its lasting impact on the entities involved. In the interview, writer Alex Kane reveals that, like many video game development projects today, there was a major crunch, especially toward the end of development. Mike Gallo, a LucasArts producer at the time, states that:

“Back in those days, I didn’t even care- I could work twelve or sixteen hours every day and not even think about it … toward the end of the PC version, we’re working several all-nighters.”

When questioned by others at the time, he would say: “I don’t know what to tell you, we’re makin’ a game,” and, “Well, you know, that’s what we do.” Gallo also discussed with Kane that most people got along well while working on the project, going out drinking and dancing after long days.

Everyone had the common goal of making the game the best it could be. These long hours weren’t reserved for the developers and producers; the voiceover director, Darragh O’Farrell, and the voice coordinator, Jennifer Sloan, also worked 16-hour days regularly for six months before the game was finally released. 

The premise of ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’

LucasArts made plenty of Star Wars games in the early 2000s, but they wanted to make a story-heavy title with an RPG focus. After seeing the work of BioWare in their RPG project Baldur’s Gate, LucasArts reached out to BioWare to come together and make this game. 

This title is set in the same Star Wars universe that was originally created by George Lucas, but the story itself is set thousands of years before Luke Skywalker emerges onto the scene. According to IGN, The plot follows a group of heroes that seek to halt a Sith invasion plan that would allow them to take control of the entire galaxy. 

Although the game does have a preset story, the RPG element makes the player feel as though they have some agency in the story and that they get to be a part of the history of this galaxy. 

Reception of the game

To many Star Wars video game fans, this was the best and most memorable Star Wars game, largely thanks to incredible story-telling and a shocking twist at the end. People were utterly impressed by the game at its release, and many people still consider it the best Star Wars game ever made

The original GameSpot review for it, which was posted on July 15th, 2003, gave the game a glowing review. The reviewer states that even those who aren’t diehard Star Wars fans can still appreciate the craft of the game, but Star Wars fans will love the game even more. When it came out in 2003, the size of the game was considered huge, and many were impressed by the voice acting and graphics. 

Professional critics and household gamers alike enjoyed the puzzles, building up character stats, and the difficult decisions the players were forced to make. 

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