The story takes place in the Star Wars fictional universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the re-emergent Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, 300 years after the events of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, and more than 3,500 years before the events in the Star Wars films. The Jedi are held responsible for the success of the Sith during the devastating 28-year-long Great Galactic War (which led to the Treaty of Coruscant prior to the Cold War), and thus choose to relocate from Coruscant to Tython, where the Jedi Order had initially been founded, to seek guidance from the Force. The Sith control Korriban, where they have re-established a Sith Academy. The game begins as new conflicts arise.
A collaborative effort between BioWare, LucasArts and Dark Horse Comics has resulted in webcomics entitled Star Wars: The Old Republic – Threat of Peace and Star Wars: The Old Republic – Blood of the Empire, the purpose of which is to establish the backstory as the game opens.
There will be a range of playable species for the player to choose from. So far confirmed are Chiss, Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek and Zabrak. Although Humans can pick any class available, other species have been restricted to only several classes each.
An E3 2011 gameplay footage video showed a Rattataki Bounty Hunter.
Satele Shan was a Human female who served as a Jedi during the Great Galactic War between the Galactic Republic and the resurgent Sith Empire. Shan participated in several major battles on behalf of the Republic during the war, and studied under a number of Jedi Masters, including the Togruta Dar'Nala. As a Padawan, she had fought with and lost her first Master, Kao Cen Darach, during the Fall of Korriban. After achieving Knighthood, Shan played a pivotal role in the struggle for the Core World of Alderaan, which had come under a devastating attack from the Sith Lord Darth Malgus. In a confrontation in the forests of Alderaan, Shan engaged Darth Malgus and was defeated by the Sith Lord, but with the assistance of a Republic trooper she was able to dispatch him.
Kao Cen Darach was a Zabrak male Master of the Jedi Order during the early stages of the Great Galactic War in 3,681 BBY. That year, Darach and his Padawan, Satele Shan, were present on a space station orbiting the Sith homeworld of Korriban when the Sith Empire, which had been believed destroyed for centuries, launched an assault to retake the planet. Darach ultimately sacrificed himself in order to hold off Sith Lord Vindican and his apprentice, ensuring that Shan was able to escape and warn the Galactic Republic of the Sith Empire's return.
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