So Knights of the Fallen Empire has had a lot of questions being asked about it, particularly focusing on how Companions will be handled. Transpires that our own personal roster of Companions shall be permanently affected in some form or another; not only do we need to forage for various Companions but the implication seems to be that we can choose to not recruit a certain character; indeed, a further indication is that we can recruit or even kill a Companion belonging to another Class.
I'm reserving judgement on this last point, because I for one enjoy the diversity of the Class Companions. Whilst some are extremely difficult to work with - just try getting Ashara to like a Dark-Side Inquisitor - and some are just unpleasant - a certain Houk comes to mind - I enjoy having to spend time analysing their characters and what they like/dislike in the long run and having to adapt accordingly. I can understand the appeal for picking-and-choosing, however.
In spite of my attitude towards the matter, the question definitely rears its head; if you could choose which Companions could accompany you into the future, who would you choose? For this, I will be approaching it from the perspective of the original classes and not from the perspective of a future "potential owner", if you will.
The Companions listed, I must point out beforehand, are those which I would hold on as tightly as possible to rather than a complete list of those I could "bear to keep around". You'll notice that not a single Agent Companion makes this list, for example.
I will not be including HK-51 in this list, despite the fact that he is a Companion I would choose to keep; in fact, he easily tops my "favourite SWtOR Companions" list. Reason being is that as he's a non-story-essential Companion and must be discovered in Section X, I doubt they'd take him and place him elsewhere in the galaxy.
Additionally, since early "reports from the field" indicate that hopefully-prospective-Companion HK-55 will be among the first three protagonists one encounters in Knights, I'd imagine that the chance to have both HK droids interacting would not be passed up.
This in itself is an interesting quandary; how would they handle companions such as HK? It would doubtless be strange to be unfrozen and told that your crew has splintered, only to turn to HK as if making a point. Seeing as we're also receiving Nico Okarr as a Subscriber benefit, he'd be in a similar position; it would be pointless to give him to us only to take him away shortly afterwards and throw him at a random planet like a dart to a dartboard. Maybe if they did a Companion-neutral phase in which no Companion could be summoned until after that certain mission was completed.
Yeah, that'll probably be it, but they'd still need to explain why HK, Treek, and Nico can "be around" when none of the others can... Hmm.
Akaavi is a better Mandalorian Companion than Torian. That's all.
Seriously, though, Akaavi is a very interesting character to content with. Her pragmatic sense of honour makes her one of the few Dark Side Companions to be able to properly "reason with" and appreciate as a Light-Sider, which isn't always an easy thing to do. I'd be very interested to know what she'd have been like in the Hunter crew, as she is again far more world-wise than Torian is, although he does provide a better insight into Mandalorian culture and language than Akaavi does, which is better for the Hunter as a fledgling Mandalorian themselves.
Whilst he doesn't have a "Life Debt" of any kind, the connection between the Smuggler and Bowdaar is not one which will be abandoned easily by either party, I'm sure. I'll be very curious to know what Bowdaar gets up to in the amount of time between "now" and Knights; I sincerely hope that he doesn't get captured and put to work in the arena again, or worse, captured as a Wookiee slave...
Yes, she'd spout regulations non-stop, but I can't not vote for Dorne, the fish-out-of-Imperial-waters. She's able to keep a clear head and keep a firm grasp of each and every single situation. Indeed, the only times I can really remember her getting truly angry about something is when fellow officers prove incompetent, rather than simply because something didn't go "her way". She does express annoyance, of course, but she's British; we all do that.
The only Consular Companion I truly have respect for. The Consular bunch are a weird lot. You have the slightly-too-enthusiastic scientist, the essentially-banished resistance soldier who has no choice but to stick by you, the incredibly-naive apprentice, and Qyzen. A cheerful soldier in the form of Iresso rounds off this motley crew quite nicely and is far and away my favourite.
Iresso is one of those who you can't help but feel happy with whenever he's happy, the sort who brightens a person's day just by talking to them. Analogies are annoying, I know. All the same, despite being the "typical soldier" he's a very approachable officer. In fact, I want to say that out of all the military personnel one meets, Iresso is the most approachable by a normal human being, let alone a Jedi. I hope that we get something similar to him in Koth Vortena.
Kira is probably the only female Force-using Companion I like in the entire game, and I honestly don't know why. I guess it's because she's much more "world-wise" than Nadia and fits much better in her world than either Light-Side Jaesa or Ashara. Dark-Side Jaesa, however, fits much better but is just a little too sadistic for my liking. Anyway, this is about Kira and why I would keep her on my crew, not about the others.
Kira is just an absolutely hilarious companion, and she obviously gives a damn about the Jedi Order and the connections and friendships she's made - seriously, the ending to the Knight's Tatooine story is wonderful because of this -whilst stretching the limits to have "fun", such as a one-time use Stealth Generator on Coruscant and potentially trying romance if you're interested in such things. She isn't your typical Jedi Apprentice, but then when does a "typical Jedi" ever have the opportunity to have fun?
How can I not include T7-01? T7 is an adorable little fellow and the only Astromech, a staple of any true Star Wars hero, to accompany any players as a Companion. In my capacity as "Star Wars Nerd", it's absolutely fascinating to compare the evolution between the earlier T3 model and the T7 and especially the T7 and the later R-series. I've already mentioned T7's connection to Nico Okarr and I'm still curious to see if that gets made use of.
Remember what I was saying about the "staple crew" of a Star Wars hero? Meet the antithesis. An unassuming Jawa is not your typical crewmate. Indeed, you're more likely to find a group of miniature hooded nomads repetitively singing the word "Dink" to the tune of Colonel Bogey's March than you are to find a solitary Jawa becoming a "heroic character",
Enter Blizz. A Jawa who finds himself on Hoth. A Jawa with a massive rocket launcher. He's a Tank.
Need I say more? Blizz is doubtless the strangest concept for any Companion in a Star Wars game ever and yet he works so damn well. He's an adorable tinkerer, he fits in strangely well with the rest of the Hunter's crew - barring a certain Houk - and he's just an incredibly fun Companion to quest with because how often do you see a Jawa wielding a massive rocket launcher? I would make a joke about you being more likely to see a diminutive pirate firing a rather large blunderbuss which propels him backwards but I'll keep the analogies realistic.
The only Human Companion to not be given a first name. Mako shares a similar quandary in that she doesn't have a last name. Useless tidbits for you there.
Pierce is probably my all-time-second favourite military Companion. His loyalty is undoubtedly second-to-none, and his militaristic devotion makes for a "better" Companion than his fellow officer Malavai Quinn, the slimy git that he is; I doubt even Arnold Rimmer would take kindly to Quinn, but then he'd probably also hate Pierce. Enough with all that, though.
Pierce is our only true insight into the Imperial Military. Quinn gives us a similar viewpoint but more from the "backseat general" viewpoint popularised in satire. Pierce is far more ready-for-action and his story even allows us to see the practice behind military operations, such as his being requisitioned by a certain General to take a certain Fortress on a certain planet.
If Iresso was my "Koth Vortena", Pierce would be my "HK-55", although of course with a lot more "HK-47" thrown in as well.
I'm biased towards dear Talos. He and I share a very similar passion, Archaeology and Ancient History, although he's far more hands-on than I am. In my initial play-through of the Inquisitor Storyline, when I played solely Dark Side, the only thing I remember regretting not being lenient towards was Talos's desire to take pictures of artifacts from that one temple in the Hoth quest, because I understood the pain that he was feeling.
Admittedly, Talos's conversation quips about him being surprised about victory do get annoying, but I can forgive his cowardice because of his eccentricity and sheer brilliance which makes itself apparent during conversations. Did I mention that I was biased?
Okay, I can't deny it. Vette is the funniest companion in the game. She doesn't fit in with the Warrior's story that well seeing as she's being unwillingly dragged into it - for a hilarious take on all this, please do check out Imperial Entanglements by Ilayas, it's an absolutely wonderful series - but she makes an unmistakeable mark.
She's quirky, she's snappy, and she wouldn't know tact if it dangled a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card in her face, and because of this she's just fantastic to converse and travel with. Just watch her very first scene on Korriban and try not to laugh. The Warrior has hands-down some of the best moments in the game, and if Vette is a part of them, it's going to be all the better. The immortal line "Okay, I'm officially scared" does never do Darth Baras any more justice than it already does.
Also having the same voice actress as Mission Vao, a blue Twi'lek Gunslinger who accompanies Revan in KotOR, makes Vette a "must-have" as far as I'm concerned.
Rounding off my list is the impossible-to-remember-but-fun-to-try-to-pronounce Xivhkalrainik, shortened of course to Xalek by Overseer Harkun. Xalek is the only Kaleesh Companion in the game and he's absolutely wonderful. We get various insights into Kaleesh culture in other methods, notably during the Imperial Ilum questline, but much like Pierce and the Imperial Military, we don't get any insight quite as profound as the one from Xalek himself.
He doesn't say all that much but what he says when pushed is very interesting. It reveals enough about the Kaleesh culture that we're not left asking for more and yet it seems that there is so much more to discover. Paradoxical, but I think that's the best way I can sum it up. He leaves a very decent lasting impression and it's refreshing to be being taught by the Apprentice, helping us to understand their culture and way-of-life, rather for us to be teaching the Apprentice. Indeed, there are more cutscenes of Ashara training under the Inquisitor than there are of Xalek.
So, there we have it. These are the Companions which I would go out of my way to never lose if the opportunity to "lose" Companions presents itself in Knights. I'm still sceptical of the extent that the changes to Companions shall affect our personal rosters permanently, but I'm still very much curious to find out.