The Old Republic Unveiled: Overview, space combat, and Star Wars Galaxies


Massively and the Joystiq network had a man on the ground at Tuesday's unveiling of Star Wars: The Old Republic. We sorted the chaff from the wheat, and now we are prepared to offer up to you a series of post outlining everything there is to know about BioWare's newest game. To start with, we have a high level overview to kick us off. Join us below the cut to get some insider information on why BioWare is making the game, the four pillars of BioWare storytelling, what little they can tell us about space combat and vehicles, and .. perhaps most interesting ... an affirmation of LucasArts' commitment to Star Wars Galaxies.
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"Our game is huge. It's the equivalent in story content and square footage of every other BioWare game that has ever been produced and released combined."

James Neri, LucasArts Design: Star Wars: The Old Republic is about bringing innovation to the MMO space. As we discussed before we're innovating by adding story, companion characters and meaningful choice. Some of the other things we're doing are very exciting – we're bringing Star Wars combat to the MMO space. We really feel that Star Wars combat is about epic blaster combat and lightsaber duels. Very fast paced, visceral combat. That's something we want to bring to this game, and I think we have. Meaningful in-game choices is another major element of the game, as we discussed before.

One of the other things about MMOs is that they're very big. Huge. Our game is huge. It's the equivalent in story content and square footage of every other BioWare game that has ever been produced and released combined. Just think of all those games, put them all together, and we have more content than that. That's a lot of content.
One thing we want to be clear about is that even though we are adding new things to the MMO space – story, companion characters – we are still a massively multiplayer game. We know that we have to have the features that people who are fans of that genre are expecting. We know there are different audiences.

We need to appeal to the BioWare audience – fans of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect – and we need to appeal to fans of the MMO genre. We've kept those both in mind, and we feel we've succeeded in that regard.

Rich Vogel, Co-GM BioWare Austin: When Gordon and I talked to Ray and Greg and formed the Austin studio, we had a lot of people come down from Edmonton, especially in design and art and animation. In world building, we had a lot of people come down from Edmonton, James came from Edmonton, and we have people that worked on Mass Effect. The animation system that you saw in Mass Effect, people that worked on that are with us as well.

Gordon and I worked to bring art and programming together for the studio. We have about ten years experience per person, averaged across the team, they're veterans. We feel like we've assembled a really really great team to build this game with.

Daniel Erikson, Lead Writer BioWare Austin: Role-playing games at BioWare have always been based on a few central concepts – pillars, if you will – of what makes a role-playing game. This has been true since pen-and-paper games. The first of the pillars is combat. Real basic. You make a role-playing game without combat ... I guess you made an adventure game.

"We need to appeal to the BioWare audience – fans of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect – and we need to appeal to fans of the MMO genre. We've kept those both in mind, and we feel we've succeeded in that regard."

Exploration. You need to go new places, you need to see new things, you need to have exciting adventure. Progression. So we're going to go up levels, we're going to get loot, we're going to get cooler and bigger.

And ... story. Now this has been true in every game that's ever been done that's an RPG until we went to the MMO space. And then somehow one of these fell off the truck on the way to MMO Land and it never really got in there. When we started talking about it, what we heard was "Well, you can't do a story in an MMO." We thought, "Well why?" The answer we pretty much got was, "Because people haven't." That didn't make a lot of sense.

This article was originally published on Massively.