If theres one film franchise that has the potential to translate well to video games it's Star Wars; the most recent of which has been making pretty big waves since it landed last month, one of the most highly anticipated movies of the past decade - [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158).
There was a lot to love about The Force Awakens, and though fans are divided somewhat over the prevalent use of fan-service and nods towards A New Hope it was certainly one of the most noticeable elements of the film. But it's not just the original trilogy that Star Wars VII plays towards, there's actually a few subtle nods towards narratives taken from what is arguably the finest of the many Star Wars video games - 2003's Knights of the Old Republic.
Yes, yes, I know. KotOR is considered by fans to form part of the Expanded Universe - which has now been non-canonised by Disney as part of the Star Wars cinematic expansion - but it doesn't mean they can't borrow or pay homage to elements from it.
It's also worth nothing that the events of Knights of the Old Republic and the later Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO are set many years before the events of the prequel films (4,000 years for KotOR to be exact), so direct lines being drawn between them seem unlikely. Rather these little things are concepts taken from the games to be used in the new film as they are no longer bound by continuity, so keep that in mind.
Kylo Ren & Darth Revan
First and perhaps foremost are the lines drawn between First Order knight Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the character of Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic.
Revan has a long and complicated history. He first trained as a Jedi Knight but was seduced to the Dark Side by the Sith Emperor Valkorion and eventually took control of the Order of Revan (c'mon that totally sounds like the Knights of Ren), a faction of the Sith who sought to balance the light and dark sides of the Force (something that Kylo struggles with throughout the Force Awakens).
And, like Kylo, Revan struggled with the darkness and light within himself, as Darth Malak tells him:
"Savior, conqueror, hero, villain. You are all things Revan… and yet you are nothing. In the end you belong to neither the light nor the darkness. You will forever stand alone."
But perhaps the most obvious parallel between the two is that of their costuming. Their masks are similar in design, both with one eye slit, moulded lines forming the mouthpiece and a smooth rounded head, and they both wear very similar hooded cloaks.
Revan's mask made him more than a man, it made him into an icon followed by others and so did Kylo's, hiding a confused young man from the world and making him a formidable villain.
The Star Map
The driving narrative of The Force Awakens isn't just Rey (Daisy Ridley) being a badass, it's about various factions searching for the map to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in the middle of a galaxy wide war (hey, I think I just figured out where the series title comes from...).
The map in question was of course the incomplete star map carried by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)'s adorably marketable droid BB-8. But this isn't the first time a star map has been used; it's a driving mechanic of the Knights of the Old Republic game which involves the player travelling to different planets in the Star Wars universe to seek out star maps.
When the player collects all of them they are brought together to reveal a complete map leading to the mysterious Rakata Prime.
Visually these maps look pretty similar to the one we saw in The Force Awakens. Futhermore, according to the The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary Rakata Prime is still part of the Star Wars canon, so does this mean we might see it popping up again as the location of the Jedi Temple?
Missing Jedi Masters
Finally there's another narrative parallel, though this one comes from the KotOR sequel: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
As already mentioned it's the search for Luke Skywalker that pushes the events of Star Wars 7 along, the desperate race between the Dark and the Light to find the last known Jedi and KotOR II contains a very similar narrative.
In a galaxy in which Revan has disappeared and most of the Jedi are gone following the war of Knights of the Old Republic, the main quest is to seek out the last remaining Jedi Masters, hiding somewhere in the far reaches of space; say, on a planet staring out at the sea somewhere perhaps? There's also a droid who's been left behind by his master Revan - HK-47 - and his story chimes a great deal with R2-D2s situation in The Force Awakens.