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Matt Chat 447: Kevin Saunders on Knights of the Old Republic II, His Early Career and His Legacy

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Matt Chat 447: Kevin Saunders on Knights of the Old Republic II, His Early Career and His Legacy

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 April 2020, 16:37:13

Tags: Kevin Saunders; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords

In the end, Matt Barton decided to upload the remainder of his interview with Kevin Saunders as one final 45 minute episode. As expected, the next topic under discussion is Obsidian's first RPG, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords. Kevin joined Obsidian after having worked on real-time strategy games at Electronic Arts for a year (he actually started at Westwood a week before EA shut them down). He was the one who created KOTOR 2's famous droid planet which was cut and restored by modders many years later. After that he shifted to a system design role, in which he was responsible for items, the lightsaber crafting system, some minigames and more notoriously, the game's level scaling implementation.

Kevin's career goes back further than that, though. Before Westwood, he actually briefly worked on the first Far Cry at Crytek. He began his career at Nexon, who hired him out of university to become a gamemaster on their first MMO, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds. He has all sorts of amusing stories from that period and apparently did a good enough job that he was promoted to a lead design role on Shattered Galaxy, an innovative MMORTS that unfortunately was a commercial failure. Kevin returned to Nexon many years later and if his studio hadn't been shut down, they might have looked into creating a Shattered Galaxy 2 later on.


At the end of the interview, Matt asks Kevin how he would sum up his long career in game development. Kevin says he's happy to have worked with so many passionate people over the years, but in retrospect if he could have gone back, he would have chosen a more socially impactful occupation. However, he does take comfort in the fact that most of the games he worked on were meaningful experiences and not mere toys.

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