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Game

Troubled ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ remake reportedly switches studios

The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake is reportedly back in development… at a different studio. According to Bloomberg, one of Saber Interactive’s studios in Eastern Europe has taken over the project after it was put on indefinite hold by Aspyr Media in July. Aspyr had been working on the project for years and had industry veterans, as well as people who worked on the original game released back in 2003, on board. It even finished a demo of the game to show Lucasfilm and Sony on June 30th. But a week later, the company reportedly fired design director Brad Prince and art director Jason Minor.

The situation surrounding Prince and Minor wasn’t quite clear, but a source that talked to Bloomberg at the time suggested that the demo cost a disproportionate amount of time and money. Rumors reportedly circulated among Aspyr personnel that Saber Interactive, which has been doing outsourced work for the project, would take the helm. Those speculations may turn out to be true.

While neither developer has issued an official statement yet, mega game publisher Embracer may have alluded to the studio switch in its most recent financial report. Embracer, which owns both Aspyr and Saber Interactive, said one of its “AAA projects has transitioned to another studio” within the company. “This was done to ensure the quality bar is where we need it to be for the title,” it added.

Embracer also said that it’s not expecting any major delays as a result of the transition, but it’s not like the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake was scheduled for release in the near future anyway. It doesn’t have a launch date yet, and it will reportedly take at least two more years before it’s ready.

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Security

Def Con banned a social engineering star — now he’s suing

In February, when the Def Con hacker conference released its annual transparency report, the public learned that one of the most prominent figures in the field of social engineering had been permanently banned from attending.

For years, Chris Hadnagy had enjoyed a high-profile role as the leader of the conference’s social engineering village. But Def Con’s transparency report stated that there had been multiple reports of him violating the conference’s code of conduct. In response, Def Con banned Hadnagy from the conference for life; in 2022, the social engineering village would be run by an entirely new team.

Now, Hadnagy has filed a lawsuit against the conference alleging defamation and infringement of contractual relations.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on August 3rd and names Hadnagy as the plaintiff, with Def Con Communications Inc. and the conference founder, Jeff Moss, also known as “The Dark Tangent,” as defendants. Papers were served to Jeffrey McNamara, attorney for Moss, at the conference in Las Vegas this year.

There are few public details about the incidents that caused Hadnagy’s ban, as is common in harassment cases. In the transparency report announcing the permanent ban, Def Con organizers were deliberately vague about the reported behavior. “After conversations with the reporting parties and Chris, we are confident the severity of the transgressions merits a ban from DEF CON,” organizers wrote in their post-conference transparency report following the previous year’s conference.

Def Con’s Code of Conduct is minimal, focusing almost entirely on a “no-harassment” policy. “Harassment includes deliberate intimidation and targeting individuals in a manner that makes them feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or afraid,” the text reads. “Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. We reserve the right to respond to harassment in the manner we deem appropriate.”

At the conference this year, various people familiar with the matter told The Verge that Hadnagy’s behavior met the definition of harassment as defined by the code of conduct but declined to give more details on the record.

Reached for comment, Melanie Ensign, press lead for Def Con, pointed The Verge to a statement previously posted by Moss in advance of the conference this year. “When we receive a report of a Code of Conduct violation, our leadership team… conducts a review of the substance in consultation with our attorney as needed,” the statement reads. “We then review all the evidence available to us through community reports, news media, and internal investigations to determine whether the allegations are substantiated.”

The infosec community has had a number of high-profile sexual misconduct cases, some implicating the community’s most notable researchers. In 2016, former Tor developer Jacob Appelbaum resigned from the Tor Project after numerous allegations of “sexually aggressive behavior,” which the project’s executive team investigated and confirmed. A year later, The Verge reported news that security researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting women over a period of decades.

Def Con’s commitment to a public transparency report — first announced in 2017 — marked a new push from organizers to create a safer conference by cracking down on harassment in spaces related to the conference.

Even so, Hadnagy’s ban has sent shockwaves through the Def Con community, particularly given his status as a conference insider and coordinator of a popular activity zone. As leader of the SE Village — where attendees learn the art of eliciting sensitive information from targets through psychological tricks — Hadnagy held a celebrated role at the conference year after year, explaining tradecraft and running a crowd-pleasing capture-the-flag competition. As a published author and frequent speaker on the topic of social engineering, Hadnagy’s participation was a big draw for those looking to break into the field.

This year, the village — rebranded as Social Engineering Community — was under new leadership, with JC Carruthers and Stephanie “Snow” Carruthers in charge of events. The new organizers told The Verge that they had stepped in on short notice with a proposal to run the village after news of Hadnagy’s ban broke and that feedback from attendees this year had been positive. Both declined to comment on the specific nature of the accusations against Hadnagy.

Reached by The Verge, Hadnagy claims that conference organizers did not provide details of the accusations against him and denies any wrongdoing.

“My company and I consistently deny and continue to deny any and all allegations of misconduct,” he said in an email statement to The Verge. “To address these false accusations, defamatory statements and innuendos I have filed a lawsuit against both DEF CON Communications and Jeff Moss.”

In the lawsuit, Hadnagy alleges that the statements in the transparency report, combined with the rarity of being barred from the conference, mean that the ban amounts to “severe and irreversible” harm to his reputation, for which he is seeking damages in excess of $75,000. The complaint also includes further counts of interference with contractual relations, infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy — with the same amount of damages being sought for each.

Since the ban, Hadnagy has become a persona non grata at similar events. Recently, one of the main organizers of the BSides Cleveland security conference stepped down after booking Hadnagy as a surprise keynote speaker. Hadnagy was reportedly intending to deliver a talk that included a criticism of “cancel culture.”

As news of the case became public, some notable voices in the infosec community gave a critical response. Alyssa Miller, chief information security officer at business services firm Epiq Global, branded the lawsuit an abuse of the legal system and an attempt to manipulate conference organizers.

“Let’s be clear about what this lawsuit is about,” Miller tweeted. “It’s not about DEFCON or DarkTangent. This is about [Chris Hadnagy] trying to force the names and full details of his accusers into the public sphere so he can go after them, attack them, and try to discredit them.”

Correction August 18, 4:15PM ET: An earlier version of this story claimed that Jeff Moss was served papers directly. In fact, papers were served to Moss’s attorney, Jeffrey McNamara. We regret the error.



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Game

‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ remake is indefinitely delayed

You might not get to play the PlayStation 5 remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic anytime soon: According to Bloomberg, its development has been delayed indefinitely. Sony announced that Aspyr Media, a company known for creating ports out of existing video games, was remaking BioWare’s classic Star Wars RPG last year. Aspyr had been working on the remake for three years by then and had industry veterans, as well as people who helped create the original game, onboard. Things certainly looked promising, but now the game’s future seems uncertain. 

Apparently, Aspyr finished a demo of the game to show Lucasfilm and Sony on June 30th and the developers were even excited by what they’ve achieved. A week later, however, the company fired design director Brad Prince and art director Jason Minor. On his LinkedIn page, Minor’s Aspyr credit shows his end of employment as July 2022, and his profile image currently features the “#Opentowork” frame.

Aspyr reportedly held a series of meetings in July about the situation to tell employees that the demo wasn’t where they wanted it to be and that the project would be put on hold. The studio heads also told staff members that the company will be looking for new contracts and development opportunities. 

While the developer’s reasons for firing Prince and Minor and for freezing the project aren’t clear at this point, one of Bloomberg’s sources suggested that it poured a disproportionate amount of time and money into creating the demo. If that’s the case, continuing what it’s been doing for the rest of the game wouldn’t be sustainable. Bloomberg says another possible point of contention is the game’s timeline. Aspyr has been telling partners that the game would be released by the end of 2022, but 2025 would be a more realistic target.

Some Aspyr personnel now believe that Saber Interactive, which has been doing outsourced work for the project, could now take over. We reached out to the company for a response to Bloomberg’s report and will edit this post with any information it may provide. To note, company released Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II for the Nintendo Switch back in June. The game went out with a bug that prevented people from finishing it, but Aspyr rolled out a patch to fix the issue in July.

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Game

Fortnite’s next Star Wars crossover brings Boba Fett to the island

Epic Games has announced another Fortnite crossover with the Star Wars universe. This time around, the company is adding Boba Fett to the battle royale island, a new offering made to promote the Disney+ streaming service. Disney plans to new Star Wars spin-off original show The Book of Boba Fett in late December.

The Book of Boba Fett is a series for Disney+ that’ll expand the Star Wars universe, joining other originals like The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show. The new Fortnite Boba Fett crossover, which brings the character to the battle royale game, appears to be a promotion for the show’s launch.

Disney+ will premiere its The Book of Boba Fett series on December 29, while Epic’s Fortnite Boba Fett outfit will be available to players starting on December 24. Epic hasn’t provided any additional details on this planned launch, however, including how long it will be in the game’s Item Shop and how much it will cost.

This isn’t the first time the Star Wars universe has collided with Epic’s hit battle royale game, though we’re yet to get anything as big as the December 2019 – January 2020 Star Wars event. During that time, Epic made multiple Star Wars skins available in the game, as well as lightsabers and other items from the science fiction universe.

Smaller character-based crossovers have become a common sight in Fortnite, as well as other tie-in promotions for then-upcoming movies, games, TV shows, and more. Epic has added skins, buildings, and more from universes like Marvel, Stranger Things, Batman, and even subtle elements like red balloons to promote the movie IT.

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Game

‘LEGO Star Wars: Castaways’ arrives November 19th on Apple Arcade

Another LEGO Star Wars game is heading to Apple Arcade, and it’s the first social, action-adventure title in the franchise. The upcoming game, entitled LEGO Star Wars: Castaways, will have you building and customizing your own in-game LEGO minifigure character. Once you’re done designing your own blocky hero, you’ll head to a new planet where you can team up with friends to battle enemies and solve puzzles. Along the way, you can unlock collectibles to solve a mystery and save your merry band of LEGO minifigures.

When you’re not out on adventures — of if you really just want to hang out in a virtual world with friends — you can stay in the game’s Social Hub or race Microfighters. LEGO Star Wars: Castaways is an Apple Arcade exclusive, just like LEGO Star Wars Battles. The latter is a real-time strategy game that will let you collect upgradable characters, troops and vehicles and then pit you against other players in one-on-one showdowns. In Star Wars Battles, you’ll also have to build and defend your own LEGO towers, as well as attack your opponent’s.

LEGO Star Wars: Castaways will be playable across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV, so long as you have an Arcade subscription. You can now sign up to be notified when the game becomes available for download from the Mac Store and the iOS App Store, but the game won’t be available to play until November 19th. 

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Game

Disney is teasing a bunch of Star Wars product reveals, including a new game

It looks like Star Wars fans have a bunch of new reveals to look forward to in the weeks ahead. Disney has kicked off a new multi-week reveal event called “Bring Home the Bounty.” The event will see Disney announcing new Star Wars products weekly until the end of the year. An entire range of products is set to be revealed, and while we don’t know what most of these announcements will be, Disney has published a teaser that suggests a video game will be one of them.

Of course, the timing of this promotion is not a coincidence, with Disney revealing products that it says will make good holiday gifts. New products will be revealed every Tuesday at 6 AM PT/9 AM ET, with some of those products then going up for pre-order the following day.

The first batch of Star Wars products has already been revealed, and it contains pairs of Mandalorian-themed Crocs and sunglasses, two new Funko Pop figures (K-2S0 and Moroff from Rogue One), and two new retro-style Hasbro action figures depicting the Mandalorian and Boba Fett. To get an idea of what’s coming up, take a look at the image below.

It’s hard to tell what most of these teasers are, as they simply depict characters from the Star Wars universe. However, the tease for week 10 depicts what’s very clearly a game controller, suggesting that a new Star Wars game will be announced on that day. We have no idea what this game is, but we know that multiple Star Wars games are in development, including an incoming remake of Knights of the Old Republic from Aspyr.

We’ve also heard rumors which claim that Quantic Dream is working on a narrative-driven Star Wars game, and of course, there’s the expectation that Respawn is already crafting the sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This may be teasing the reveal of one of those games, but it could also be something entirely new that hasn’t been the subject of leaks yet. We’ve got a bit longer to wait as this game won’t be revealed until December 14th, but we’ll let you know what it is when the time comes.

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Game

Kodorin is Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Newest Rising Star

John “Kodorin” Ko is one of the premiere Marth players on the Super Smash Bros. Melee competitive scene right now. While the 21-year-old has been around for years, even making top 100 rankings at one time, he’s really made a name for himself in the online era of Melee brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and arrival of better netplay for the title thanks to the rollback netcode client Slippi.

Kodorin won his way into the national Melee invitational tournament and the first in-person major tourney since the start of the pandemic, Smash Summit 11. Summit 11 is the latest in the Summit series, invitational tournaments where the best of the best are invited based on high placements. Other players can join the roster by being voted in or qualifying through a preliminary tournament, as Kodorin did.

At the Summit, Kodorin competed against all-star pros like Plup, Zain, Mango, Hungrybox, and more. Kodorin placed ninth in the event, which is a significant showing considering how many seasoned veterans he competed against. After his return home, I caught up with him to talk about his Melee journey, learning process, and Summit experience.

When did you start playing Melee competitively?

Like anyone, I’ve been playing Melee since it was released. In terms of competitive Melee, I’ve been familiar since the documentary came out in 2013. I went to my first tournament three years later, in November of 2016. Then I stopped until the next year because I didn’t have a car to get to local events, so I didn’t really see the point.

Come 2017, when I turned 17, I got my driver’s license and was able to actually travel, so I decided that was the time. Now, I’ve been seriously playing for about four and a half years.

You jumped in so late compared to other high-level competitors. How did you get so good so fast?

At first, I was just like any other Smasher. I’m not talented, and anybody that’s played me during my first years knows there are no special traits about me. What got me ahead was asking a lot of questions. I always asked how to keep improving, essentially. I ended up finding good sources like PPMD’s Smashboards thread, where he’d take questions for free. I asked hundreds of things there throughout the years. I’d implement whatever he responded, and, over time, it started to pay off, thanks to it giving me direction on where to improve.

Most players will stop improving even though they’ve played longer or [had] more talent than me because they never have good direction. They stay where they’re at, whereas I kept changing my plans and trying new things. I find that’s the defining trait of my improvement.

Would you say it’s important to have a teacher when it comes to learning?

Of course! Melee‘s a really hard game to begin with, especially when trying to improve by yourself. I don’t think I’d be where I am if I tried to improve alone.

Speaking of your game plans, many note how differently your Marth plays from others. How would you describe your playstyle?

I take a more zoning approach, but sometimes it can be a little erratic as well. I like to set up my zoning, make my opponent respect my space, and then manipulate them off of that. Then there are times [when] I’ll get a soul read off of my opponent from that zoning wall. Other times that read won’t even come from the walling. At some points, I’ll just go off randomly, but it’s not very consistent.

never forget these tippers pic.twitter.com/ImYvDmxG3h

— John Ko (@KoDoRiNSSB) July 12, 2021

For instance, many know me for my victory over Plup, where I got a random out-of-shield read. That’s not really normal or rational to do, but I had a feeling from him not playing his best and being a little antsy out of shield, so I just went for that hard read. Occasionally, I’ll get a little crazy after getting the feeling of my opponent’s soul, but only if I really need to take that risk.

Did your Summit matches open your eyes to any flaws of your style?

Definitely! I could improve in so many areas, and talking to tons of top players for feedback helped me find direction. Particularly having faster decision making, faster execution, making my attack and defensive rhythm more subtle, things like that.

Who do you feel was your toughest opponent during the event?

In terms of personal matchups, the one that destroyed me the most was Plup. He’s very fast, but at the same time, I only played him once in casuals when I had very little sleep because I had to go to Summit really early. That may be a small factor, but all in all, Plup is an amazing player. He also destroyed me in [the] tournament bracket with his secondary, so he stands out.

Mango and Zain were definitely the next hardest opponents for me.

Netplay results are very controversial for the Smash and fighting game communities overall. Do you feel your online grinding helped out in this offline environment?

Netplay results should be taken with a grain of salt, but to say that they don’t matter is usually an ego defense. If you have the proper setup, good internet, monitors, and all of that, I don’t see much of a reason netplay is bad. Yeah, there is instability and some drawbacks, but that’s there with LAN as well. People complained how the main stream TV at Summit had a little bit of lag compared to other CRTS.

Not to mention CRT is naturally uglier, so that makes tech-chasing somewhat harder. Don’t get it wrong, though; I do enjoy CRT overall. I’m not a Slippi kid. Some people forgot I was ranked top 100 in 2019, so I know what it’s like to compete both online and LAN for extended periods of time. I think they’re both legit as long as the online is stable. Rollback is usually always legit because it doesn’t mess with the fundamental premise of Melee, which is execution.

Kinda an insane stock ngl pic.twitter.com/l7UZb2qeCH

— John Ko (@KoDoRiNSSB) April 7, 2021

I’d say any drop-offs from rollback and LAN results probably come from being in the comfort of one’s home. Some people are more nerfed online, like HBox, because he takes LAN more seriously. Then there are some who play better online because they can’t handle in-person nerves. I find the discrepancies between the two usually [have] to do more with the environment than the game itself.

So which do you prefer, monitor or CRT?

Well, there was a little secret at Summit where everyone was asking that, and you’d be surprised, but most top players actually said monitor. It’s not optimized for offline Melee just yet, but it’s great [he laughs]. With CRT, I didn’t feel a difference. It wasn’t better, but it wasn’t worse either.

Did you feel that everyone had to readjust to offline at Summit after so many online events?

To be honest, everyone was playing a little worse compared to online. Not just because of the first tourney back but because of the stakes. It was literally the biggest prize pool of all time, so who isn’t going to be a little nervous? I think everyone’s gameplay was affected to some degree. Maybe HBox and his Jigglypuff were buffed, but that’s about it.

I know you’ve spoken about learning the importance of not focusing on your results. Can you elaborate on that?

Focusing on your results isn’t productive. I always say that the process is what gets the result. People can focus on getting an A+ on a test all they want, but if they don’t study, then how will they get that A+? It’s much more productive to focus on your inputs to actually get the win in the end.

Where do you see yourself going after Summit?

I’m not quite sure myself, but I am certain about a few things. I do want to do Melee full-time. I’m taking steps to get there with streaming and doing YouTube more often and making sure I can pull decent numbers to make this sustainable.

Even more importantly, I’m trying to improve every day. I want to be the best. One day, I will be the best. In order to do so, I need to attend tournaments, practice every day, and keep acting questions. You’ll probably see me at SoCal majors and locals. I signed up for Riptide, Genesis, and maybe I’ll even be at the next Summit. Who knows?


Smash fans will want to keep an eye on Kodorin to see just where he goes next in the scene with offline tournaments returning. You can follow him on Twitter, Twitch, where he streams regularly, and YouTube, where he consistently uploads unique content about Melee, including gameplay tips.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

New Star Wars games at EA Play Live? Don’t get your hopes up

After giving E3 2021 the cold shoulder earlier this year, Electronic Arts is about to host its own gaming get-together. Next week, EA will host EA Play Live, an event where it will showcase many of its upcoming games. EA has been fairly tight-lipped about what to expect from the show, but it has told us about some franchises that won’t be there. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about EA’s work with this franchise), it seems that Star Wars won’t be on tap.

Electronic Arts confirmed as much in a tweet published to the EA Star Wars Twitter account today. “We won’t be showing any new Star Wars games at EA Play Live on July 22nd… but all of us look forward to celebrating with you next year when we share our vision for the Galaxy far, far away!” the company said.

So, not only will Star Wars be absent from EA Play Live, but it sounds like that tweet confirms that we won’t hear about what’s next for EA’s Star Wars games until sometime next year. In addition to Star Wars, EA previously confirmed that neither Dragon Age nor Mass Effect will be at the show either. That means three of EA’s most popular franchises will be missing from what is likely the company’s biggest event of the year.

EA has something of a spotty past with the Star Wars franchise, so this might not be bad news for some. The company caught a lot of criticism for the state Star Wars: Battlefront 2 launched in years ago, but in the time since, not only have EA and DICE improved the game, but EA has also published Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and EA Motive’s Star Wars Squadrons, both of which were well-received by fans and critics alike.

At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see what EA does next with the Star Wars brand, but you can be sure we won’t be learning about that next week. EA Play Live is slated to kick off at 10 AM PDT on July 22nd (one week from today), and we’ll have coverage of all the big announcements from the show right here at SlashGear.



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Game

Pokemon GO Fest 2021 with Pikachu Rock Star and Pop Star

This week we’re taking a peek at some new details released on Pokemon GO Fest 2021, specifically about the newest set of Pikachu monsters you’ll be able to get during this event. If you’re playing right now, you’ll likely see some flying Pikachu around town, complete with a 5-shaped balloon. This is just one of a wild collection coming to the festival over the next few weeks!

Tickets required

If you’re dropping in on Pokemon GO Fest 2021 on July 17th, you’ll want to buy a ticket. Ticket holders will gain access to Special Research that’ll allow you to pick Pikachu Rock Star with METEOR MASH (charged move.) You could also get a Pikachu Pop Star with DRAINING KISS (charged move.)

On July 17 you’ll find Rock Star and Pop Star Pikachu appear in Snapshot images and in the wild based on your choices. Special Research on July 18th will deliver Flygon with EARTH POWER, and Gardevoir with SYNCHRONOISE. Both of these advanced Pokemon will also appear more often if you drop Incense.

Avatar items in the in-game shop will appear with a ticket – shirts with Whismur, Exploud, and Loudred-inspired patterns, new “face stickers”, and a guitar case backpack. Those will still cost you extra – if you complete Special Research, you’ll get a Meloetta Shirt for “free.”

Tickets or no tickets

Pikachu will appear with a Meloetta-inspired hat! Event hours on Saturday and Sunday, the 17th and 18th of July, will deliver the Meloetta hat Pikachu to the public. This monster can be Shiny!

This event will also feature 1-star raids with potentially shiny Seino and fancy dress Galarian Ponyta and Galarian Zigzagoon. Both of these fancy dress Pokemon will also have the Meloetta hat! There’ll also be 3-star raids with Galarian Weezing, Hitmontop, and Cranidos.

Stick around as we learn more about this event series and keep your eyes peeled for Pikachu. There’ll be more fancy dress Pikachu out there with fancy hats and rock and pop and music outfits than you can shake a stick at!

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Tech News

SWTOR Star WarsThe Old Republic updates Darth Malgus story, 10 years later

The game Star Wars: The Old Republic is about to turn 10 years old. As the game celebrates a full decade online and active, there’ll be a new expansion called Legacy of the Sith. This new expansion will be driven by the renegade Sith Darth Malgus, suggesting this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the most infamous force of evil to never grace the face of a full-fledged Star Wars movie.

This game, SWTOR, is still active, a decade after it was first released and activated. Now the game will expand with a new campaign and redesigned combat styles, a new character-creation system, and a bunch of rebalancing that’ll make the game more playable and accessible than ever before.

The game will drop into Manaan, a water-bound world where a medical resource called kolto is plentiful. The Sith Empire has its eyes set on this resource, and the Republic will need to fight for control of the planet. As a player completes the Manaan storyline, they’ll unlock a new base for their faction. They’ll also unlock a new daily area – for good measure.

Once that bit’s done, users will also access the planet Elom, where a Sith Fortress is discovered having been “mysteriously erased from all records.” Darth Malgus is here too, effectively playing the same part as both Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren play later in the universe, “on the hunt for ancient relics throughout the galaxy.”

This new storyline will be released in the Holiday Season 2021, and it’ll be available as a multiplayer Flashpoint and as a solo experience.

The Legacy of the Sith update will appear in detail in the months that lead to the holiday season 2021 on both the Star Wars: The Old Republic homepage and on Steam. There you’ll find the updates necessary to make that expansion appear on your computer, too. We’ll be reporting on all the changes as we reach that point!

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