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Interview With Star Wars: The Old Republic Devs 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-information-there-is dept.
Kheldon points out a lengthy interview at MMO Gamer with developers from BioWare Austin about their upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. They provide details about the game's method of storytelling, and discuss how they divide up the scenes and conversations such that one player may not always see what the player next to him does. Lead writer Daniel Erickson said, "What we wanted to do was be able to separate out people just long enough for the parts that were important for it. If you're going to go have a discussion with your dad Darth Vader, you probably want to go do that by yourself. Or, with your party, you can bring your friends with you. But you probably don't want a thousand people there, especially if a fight's gonna break out, because it wouldn't really make sense." Bioware also recently showed off the Smuggler class, and revealed that the game has hundreds of voice actors performing "hundreds of thousands of lines of dialogue."
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Interview With Star Wars: The Old Republic Devs

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  • Smuggler class (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @04:13AM (#28325261)

    can you shoot first with these characters ?

  • by omgarthas (1372603) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @04:24AM (#28325287)
    Can I be a Jedi?
    • by Bios_Hakr (68586) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lacitpx]> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @01:48PM (#28327601) Homepage

      I would think that everyone in the SW universe would want to be a Jedi. They are kind-of an uber-ninja class with no real shortcomings.

      So, the question isn't "can I be a jedi", the question should be "how do we make everyone not want to be a jedi."

      SWG had a pretty fucked way of doing it. Especially in light of the fact that in the movies, you were either born with it or you weren't. Maybe this time around, every new character you create will have a 2% chance of getting Jedi powers. Maybe cap this in a way to keep people from just creating 50 characters to get a Jedi. Like the char must reach level 10 to know for sure and you can only find out if another, higher ranking, jedi encounters you. Maybe an aura or something that only master jedis can see...

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        I think the Jedi question is a pretty fundamental problem in any Star Wars MMO. I don't think arbitrarily limiting how many people can play a class would fly, though.

        I suppose they could require you to reach max level in another class first, then begin training as a level one Jedi. Or, they could make Jedi a much tougher grind than other classes (they get 1/2 XP that other classes do). Or even combine these two ideas - only the dedicated go the Jedi route.

        Of course, they'll probably won't do something li

        • by Sasayaki (1096761)

          *sigh* Jedi will be the "Night Elf Hunter" (or more recently, Night Elf Death Knight) of TOR then.

          • by T.E.D. (34228)
            *sigh*. Yet another level 1 Twileck Jedi dancing nekkid on the mailbox in Coriscant...
        • by T.E.D. (34228)

          There is no problem with letting anyone who wants be a Jedi/Sith in SW:TOR because the lore for that era of the Star Wars Universe has lots of both running around.

          I can see where they will have trouble with relatively few people wanting to play the other classes though. Being a Storm...er..Clonetrooper, even a supposedly badass one, just doesn't have the same panache.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aztektum (170569)

        You obviously are not following this game.

        You will be able to choose Jedi/Sith from the start in SW:TOR just like SWG. Two key differences being that in the SW:TOR, a lot of Jedi/Sith fits with the era and they're making the classes balanced against each other - there will be no uber-class.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        You could charge players with non-jedi chracters $10 a month and those with jedi $30 a month. You might also have strict requirements for jedi to perform a bunch of crap in-game duties to maintain their jedi's (taking regular mini's from the "jedi council"/"sith council" or face expulsion). That would allow those who REALLY want to play as jedi to do it, while at the same time having a little balance. Personally I wouldn't want to be a jedi anyway. I always found them to be douchebags in the movies (with th
      • by _32nHz (1572893)
        Actually the would be a way of implementing Jedi that make sense both from the story and game points of view. Make them uber beings, but unable to own land, bank, trade etc (either declaring it against their creed or just have even more powerful Sith NPC's always gank it). This would allow 'casual' gamers that can't invest the time to develop an MMRPG character to play the game. I don't have enough experience to know if this would work for core player, (Last time I had enough time to play these games the
  • YAMMO? (Score:3, Funny)

    by haeger (85819) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @04:59AM (#28325371)

    Yet Another MMO?

    Zero Punctuation did a fair analysis about MMOs in general in this [escapistmagazine.com] review. At about 2:30.

    I never got into these kind of games so I might be biased.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @06:15AM (#28325593)

      In any other area of games there are plenty. There isn't a single real time strategy game, a single first person shooter, etc. Why should MMOs be any different?

      For that matter, we've seen very little in terms of what MMOs can potentially be. There hasn't been a whole lot of variety. Eve Online is one of the few that is really different, unfortunately it sucks. There is a whole lot of significant variation that could be done.

      Even withing the typical "hack and slash" type of MMO, there's no reason there can't be more than one. Different people like different things and no one MMO will focus on all of them. A simple example might be difficulty. Some MMOs, World of Warcraft would be a great example, are very forgiving. While there are things in the game that take a good deal of skill to do, the over all game has a very low barrier for entry and doesn't punish you. This is one of the reasons its popular. Ok but not everyone wants that. Some people want a game with a much steeper difficulty curve, where failure is punished. Such a game won't see the player base WoW will, but it doesn't mean that there aren't some who want to play.

      So I see nothing wrong with another MMO coming to market, so long as it is done well. It isn't as though a game "wins" and we no longer need to produce any more games of that type.

      Personally, I'm hopeful for this one. I like sci fi, and Star Wars in particular. Sony made a total hash of Galaxies, so another one is needed. Bioware is a company I have a great deal of respect for, they've produce many awesome RPGs. Also, though I'm not a huge EA fan (who now owns Bioware), they have a few successful MMOs to their name, so they know a bit about running them. Thus I'm hopeful that this may prove to be a fun game to play.

      Because really, that's all it's about. People like to whine and bitch about all kinds of things related to games in general and MMOs in particular as to what they "should" be but none of it is relevant if it doesn't relate to fun. Ultimately, the game needs to provide good enjoyment for the money. If it does that, it is a success. I don't care if it isn't "innovative", I care if I am entertained when I play it.

      One of my favourite games still is Civilization 4. It's a great game, and I say that having played Civ 3, Civ 2 and the original Civ, as well as a host of other strategy games that are related. No, it isn't original, and it's title indicates that. It is "Yet another turn based strategy game." However, it's a good one and I enjoy it.

      • by Jarnin (925269)

        Sony made a total hash of Galaxies, so another one is needed.

        It was a combination of LucasArts and SOE that borked galaxies. They decided to make a game set during the time of the original trilogy when they had the prequels coming out in theaters. Then there was the decision to have the Jedi archetype in a period when the Jedi were supposed to be extinct or in hiding. Had they placed Galaxies during the Clone Wars, the games release would have followed Attack of the Clones, which would have had cross-marketing working for it and there wouldn't be an issue with Jedi b

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @12:05PM (#28326921)

          I played SWG from the first day it came out. I, and many others, were gone long before the big changes where they let everyone be a Jedi and so on. That was, in fact, the reason for those changes. They'd been losing people left and right and they were trying to figure out what to do. For some reason they thought "IF we make it more like the movies people will like it." No, sorry, that was never the problem.

          Galaxies had two major problems that sunk it:

          1) Bugs, bugs, bugs. Man was that game awful, especially from a company who allegedly knew what they were doing. After all, SOE ran Everquest, they know MMOs right? YA, not so much. The problem wasn't so much that the game had bugs, as all MMOs seem to, but that they never fixed them. They obviously had a split development environment where the "new content" people didn't talk to the "bug fix" people. Bugs would get patched, and patched and so on and the game would be pretty reasonable. Then a big patch with new content would come out and everything would be broken again. We aren't talking problems with the new stuff, we are talking bugs that were already fixed were reintroduced. They were using a old code tree and shit got broke all over again. It would then take a few weeks of patches before things were really playable again.

          2) Sony's anti-fun team. I swear, they had a team of people who were dedicated to finding everything fun in the game, and taking it out. If people enjoyed something, they went after it. If something was hurting the game, it stayed in. As an example when cities came out one important feature was the militia. These were people who policed the city. If someone was acting like a jackass, the militia could warn them off, and then if they didn't leave, shoot their ass. It allowed players to regulate their cities. Well, someone found some exploit with it, that allowed them to gain combat experience. Ok, who cares right? That was so easy to get in the game. Nope, Sony went apeshit and disabled the militia's abilities. Of course as soon as this happened, the jackasses flooded in to cities and caused trouble, which the CSRs wouldn't deal with. They never fixed it and brought it back, at least not before I quit.

          Now on the flip side of that was multi-splicing. People figured out a way to hack weapons and armor and make them waaaaaaaaay more powerful than they should be. Major imbalancing thing. So fixed right away right? Hell no. For over a month Sony denied it existed, then they said they were working on it but didn't do anything. Eventually they fixed the exploit, but didn't remove the hacked items, or ban players. I believe they did eventually remove the items, but the players didn't get banned.

          What it came down to was that the game was extremely poorly run. In its original state the game probably with the Jedis being a hidden rarity (once we had all the Jedis on our server in our city for a meeting/show off, there were 3 total) it would have worked fine. Game needed some balance issues fixed and so on but over all, it was a solid idea. Hell it was the first MMO I ever saw where player housing was useful. The whole player cities were a neat idea.

          However it was run by idiots. They didn't care to try and make it bug free, and they seemed to have no concern for what was fun. Thus people started leaving and then they REALLY screwed it up in a misguided attempt to fix it.

          • by metacell (523607)
            I haven't played SWG for more than a few hours, but I've played Everquest 2 for years, and recognise many of the issues you talk about. Like extremely slow bug fixes, and screwing up the game when removing exploits. I can also add abyssmal communication with their customers - servers could go down unexpectedly, and the SoE staff wouldn't deign to comment it on the web site. Fortunately, many of the issues have slowly improved during the last two years.
      • "Bioware is a company I have a great deal of respect for, they've produce many awesome RPGs."

        Bioware has mostly been a second rate game developer. Outside of baldur's gate franchise and the original Kotor, everything from them has been middlingly average at best. I never was interested in mass effect or jade empire. When they moved to making 3D games the people who were responsible for Baldurs gate 1 and 2 seemed to have lost their focus or those developers moved on.

        I was originally excited about neverwin

        • Sorry I disagree. BG1 really reset the standard for PC D&D RPGs, and BG2 was just a perfection of that. Great story, great art, great music, just wonderful games all around.

          NWN I was not as big a fan of, but in part because I was expecting another Baldur's Gate. Once getting used to the different gameplay, I enjoyed it quite a bit. As a toolset it is just amazing, equaled only perhaps by the Elder Scrolls Construction Kit, however it also has great multi-player. It allowed people to really do a CRPG ver

    • by ildon (413912)

      RTFA, as they say. While it might just be marketing bullshit, they do claim that they want to get away from the "you and 1 enemy take turns whacking each other for 60 seconds" combat model.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      As a console gamer (you know, one of the guys who helped make KOTOR a big success in the first place), I'm most disappointed that Bioware chose to basically turn their backs on us with a PC-only MMO sequel to the KOTOR series. Bioware has a strange way of saying "thank you."
  • I hope this isn't just another MMO.

    • Well technically it is another MMO. Its also another Star Wars themed MMO. I think the elaboration you missed is that we hope this isn't just another cookie-cutter-boring-grinding-game made for people who have nothing better to do than spend countless hours of their dull lives trying to get armor and weapons that were 1.2% better than what they had before.
      • That would be why he said "I hope this isn't just another MMO". He knows it's going to be another MMO, but he hopes it will be more than another cast from the same mold.
      • by brkello (642429)
        If you take away the grinding for slightly better statistics then it won't be an MMO. I know you may think that is stupid, but what else is a MMO supposed to do? You remove that parts of the game and you just have a regular RPG. If you make it a multiplayer RPG, why bother going in to hard dungeons with your friends? The challenge of it? Then once you beat it, you are done. Might as well just be playing single player games.

        You might not find MMOs fun, but millions do. It's like you are complaining th
  • It certainly seems like Bioware might be *the* people to revolutionize the MMO. I mean, they've pretty much put out some of the best RPG's in the last five years, maybe arguably decade. Allowing them to take their storytelling onto the MMO stage, and given what's in this interview... I'm hopeful this will be something different.
  • They claim to want to make a cinematic experience, hundreds of hours long. A story that you create. Where you are in charge of your own Star Wars Saga.

    A lofty goal, but this is Bioware and they NEVER done this.

    In fact, the newer the Bioware game, the more it has been on rails, with little reflection on what your actions meant in the world at large. Fallout was the game were you changed the world.

    Knight of the Old Republic really only had two paths both of which you could switch from instantly at the end.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Knight of the Old Republic really only had two paths both of which you could switch from instantly at the end.

      KOTOR 2 was even worse, and it had a lot of boring dialogue to boot.

      Looks like the best SW game is still Tie Fighter. I only wish I knew whatever happened to my CD :(

      • by maglor_83 (856254)

        KOTOR 2 was even worse

        And was made by Obsidian, not Bioware.

      • by flitty (981864)

        Looks like the best SW game is still Tie Fighter. I only wish I knew whatever happened to my CD :(

        I just open the box and look at my 3.5" discs, wondering whether or not it's worth it to go find a floppy drive from a used computer store somewhere.

  • The part that sounds new is that you'll (in theory) have a reasonably personalized and cinematic experience the entire time. Whether you and the smuggler next to you will have essentially experienced the same plot? I don't know. I'd be tempted to say it doesn't matter because for sure every rogue in WoW has had the exact same plot and hasn't had any choices at all, plot-wise speaking, but that point is at the clutch of the single player claims that they make.

    The interviewer asks them a hard question:
    • They also talk all about the single player game, but then also talk about the same weekly raids WoW has, being designed by WoW raiders. This tells me that anything new is not really on the table. You will have tanks, healers, and dpsers. You will have big bosses, and need a guild and a weekly schedule, and if you don't do this, whatever pvp will wind up in the game will be horrible for you.

      That doesn't follow. They're demonstrating that they understand some people want that kind of gameplay, and will try to provide it to them. They're not saying that's all there will be, not in the least. You're reading far too much into what they said.

      • by cfalcon (779563)
        "That doesn't follow. They're demonstrating that they understand some people want that kind of gameplay, and will try to provide it to them. "

        Oh, I agree with that. But the carrot for raiding is usually "able to crush all those before you", or at least "have a character with gear levels that doesn't get you ignored or never grouped with".

        The fact that they don't address it leaves that as the default conclusion.

        "They're not saying that's all there will be, not in the least. You're reading far too m
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Of course most players within a class will experience a similar story. Every true branch in plotline dramatically increases the cost of production for the rest of the story arc. Unless they expect players to choose the same class multiple times, it's really not worth branching off in too many different directions. The cost of development would be astronomical.

      Essentially, the first "true" branches are when the player chooses a class, from what it sounds like. From there, it's all about the *illusion* of

    • by brkello (642429)
      Your PvP complaint isn't even true in WoW. If you raid in PvE you can get really great gear...for PvE. Take that gear and PvP with it, and you will be destroyed. If you PvP a lot, you get honor points/arena points which you can exchange for better gear that is good for PvP and horrible for PvE. So you can take whatever route you want. Yeah, if you want to experience the raid content that takes hours to get through, then you need to have the time to do that. But just because some people can't participa
  • Hmmm ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xaemyl (88001)

    I dunno. They seem to be painting themselves into a corner.

    On the one hand, they can make it where no one can be a Jedi (and who wants to play Star Wars where you CANT be a Jedi?), or they can make it where you can play Jedi (and who wants to play those other classes when you can be a ZOMGuberJediNinjaGankingn00bs)

    I forsee bad things happening with this game either way they go.

  • Fuck That (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Raise your hand if you'd rather have Kotor 3 instead of sending bioware money every month

  • i assume that at some point this main quest will end. at that point, what will motivate players to continue paying a monthly charge to play the mmo? will the game segue into WOW style raids? or, will the devs take a more WAR-like PVP approach to solving the endgame issue? as a matter of fact, i haven't heard anything about whether or not PVP will actually be in this game-- i assume there will be something since the game takes place during some kind of epic struggle between light and dark jedi. any infor

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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