I've become kind of attached to the first two games' engine. It kind of adds to their charm at this point for me. It also really creates a sense of unity between them, especially as far as modding and skinning go. I love being able to download new Mandalorian skins, for example, and be able to use the textures in both games for the sake of continuity.
As much as a new game engine would certainly be a good thing, I feel that it would shatter that feeling should the next installment continue the stories of Revan and the Exile. If, however, once the Revan trilogy is completed and they wish to continue in this era with more KOTOR games, exploring entirely different story lines, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a new engine being integrated into a later installment. But not KOTOR III, if it's continuing where the story left off. We need that sense of unity between the games of the same story, and that includes the aesthetics.
Then again, there is a drastic difference in the game engines between Dark Forces, Jedi Knight and Jedi Outcast, but it's different when each installment is of a different era with different graphics. (Not including the spin-off titles, Mysteries of the Sith and Jedi Academy here, just the games of the main story following Kyle Katarn.) It's perfectly fine when each new installment comes to us with a new game engine like that, but when two or more installments share the same engine, as the first two KOTOR games have done, introducing a new engine distracts from the feeling of continuity.
Well, I understand where you are coming from. Playing within the same gaming engine across multiple games does create a sense of being in a continuous series. I had the same opinion not too long ago.
... but ....
I also feel that holding onto an aging engine that has been long since outpaced and outperformed is regressive at best. Its not farsighted, and would appeal largely only to the more insulated fans of the series. I mean really, the Odyssey pales
in the face of several games I've been playing recently. Comparing the Odyssey engine with my experience in Oblivion, I can immediately
tell the strongly favorable improvements in the game's character mobility, realistic rendering, graphical beauty, environment interaction, environment scope, and even facial detail. Its all much more fluid and real. Heck, you can swim and stay deep underwater. Even the nastiest and dirtiest dungeons look really interesting and beautiful in their own special way. Exploring is genuinely fun.
Compare that to the blocky architecture of Onderon, and the boxed-in feeling of the modules. Even the first time I played the Sith Lords, it felt stale.
Having a new graphical engine with improved rendering and more fluidly mobile movement of limbs does not mean that characters cannot look like their original appearance - in fact, they could look far better and more real than when you first met them. All that would be needed is to be faithful to previous renditions when modeling the character.
Holding onto an engine that is ... well ... outdated, and pretty much in every measurable way obsolete, is hardly a way to make a game feel fresh and up to date. Say such a game were to be released 2010-11; what would its competition be? The engine would be pushing its age to a decade.
If a third game were to be a mediocre sequel for the sake of having a sequel - with no freshness, no uniqueness, no strong "wow" feeling I had playing the first game, being a dead-on rehash of the previous game, aimed only towards more hardcore fans who would want "Knights of the Old Republic 3: The Sith Lords 2", and not aimed towards a larger audience, not being a standout classic game based on its own merits
, and not pushing the envelope the way the first game did, then I would not bother with such a game.
It would be weak by my standards (and gaming standards today), and certainly not worth the $59.00.
With no disrespect, I'm not strongly concerned about not being able to use the same robe or armor texture between different games. If a new game would have a better engine, it would logically have better looking robes and armor anyway. That engine would give life to its own mods. The Odyssey engine has not exactly been the most "modification productive" product either. Exactly how many new animations have been created since the engine debuted in 2003? New locations? (Just one, recently, and due to incredible skill). The powers that be - whomever they may be - have obviously succeeded over the years in largely stagnating possible benchmarks in creating complex assets for the game, by being nonsupporting and lukewarmly hostile to modding games with the Odyssey (in other words, I'm not saying anything negative about the community). Contrast that by looking at the hundreds upon hundreds of highly detailed and complex Oblivion mods that have sprung up since the game was released. A large number are entirely new areas
, new races, new castles, new caves, improved terrains, altered local economies, new weather patterns, new animations, new furniture, so on. Just since 2006.
There is even a project that I have my eye on that is creating from scratch the different provinces of Tamriel to add to the game, which is akin to creating new planets for KOTOR, but exponentially larger
with more detail and free-roaming. Their modding community has released more assets and modifications, if added up together, than the sum of what came in the original product (a great deal because of so much official support). Long story short, I'm not afraid about a new engine being a bad thing for modding.
One way or another though, what we say here does not matter much. I'm confident though that its highly unlikely that Bioware, or any other gaming company would pick up the Odyssey engine at this point. It seems counter-intuitive from a business angle to use outdated software to create what could be
a high-profile game.