Daniel Erikson, Lead Writer BioWare Austin:
"What we have now is the reemergence of the ancient Sith Empire."
The game's setting is 3,600 years before the movies. It is 300 years after the events of KOTOR II
. The main conflict is between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. I'm going to get a little Star Wars-y here. In KOTOR
we had Sith, but we had Sith who had been Jedi. Two Jedi went out into deep space, something bad happened, they both turned, and they came back as emissaries of the Sith, proclaimed themselves Sith Lords and proclaimed a new Sith Empire.
What actually happened is that they ran into the real Sith and coming back were really supposed to be harbingers of the Sith. Of course, for people who know KOTOR
, you know that didn't happen because the apprentice betrayed the master, declared himself the new Emperor, and started calling everything around him Sith. So we had Sith Troopers and Sith Lunchboxes and Sith ... everything.
Of course, these weren't all actually Sith – these were all ex-Republic people. These are people who had gone out with them. These were their soldiers.
What we have now is the reemergence of the ancient Sith Empire, which has come into the galaxy, beat the snot out of the Republic, taken several key worlds including their ancient world of Korriban, and then mysteriously, when they were winning, called a truce and asked for some very particular planets that didn't seem of use to anybody and then just ... chilled.
"It's very important for people who care about the IP that it's right. Even the things that contradict the other things we've tried to iron out and make right."
When we're starting the game, the truce is very, very fragile. Think sort of the worst parts of the Cold War. There are proxy wars going on; there are border wars going on. It's very clear to everybody that the peace will not hold and that the war is going to go into full mass.
One of the things we always talk about KOTOR is that it's a fantastic place to tell a story. We don't have to worry about what Luke and Leia are doing. LucasArts really encourages us to go off, make new planets, have new things. New great characters, make new adventures. Add things to the Star Wars universe, while still being able to go out and evoke all the things about Star Wars we've always loved. Are you looking to include some of the expanded universe Jedi and Sith that weren't covered in the KOTOR games?
"When you play as a Jedi, you go to Tython, you train to be a Jedi, you learn what it means to be a Jedi."
Absolutely. I would probably say now, outside of whatever guy at Lucas has to deal with the Holocron – which is the imminent "this is what's true" – we probably have the largest group of experts on the Star Wars history, because we never want you to have a quest that's "listen to a librarian for two hours." But it's very important for people who care about the IP that it's right. Even the things that contradict the other things we've tried to iron out and make right.
One of the things you make have noticed if you're a hardcore fan is that in KOTOR
, that actually all of the tombs on Korriban are actually ... you've got the tombs of Marka Ragnos, etc. These people come in and touch The Old Republic
a lot, in the same way that characters from KOTOR
and KOTOR II
touch our game a lot.
It's very important if you're a KOTOR
fan and you were wondering, "Okay, what did the Exile and Revan do after all that was over?" We know they went off into deep space to fight some ancient evil, but what happened? What happened with the different adventures, what happened with Bastila ... this isn't stuff we'd ever want to shove in anybody's face, because there's also going to be some guy playing this that all he's ever seen in his 12-year-old life is Episode I. That's what he saw. Or, the guy who actually hasn't seen Star Wars.
"You were born in an empire that was waging war on a people who were trying to kill your entire empire. Being a good man does not mean jumping ship and trying to kill your own people."
That's why it's important when you play as a Jedi, you go to Tython, you train to be a Jedi, you learn what it means to be a Jedi. If the only Jedi you know is Luke, who at the time is the only Jedi in the galaxy, you have a different idea of what a Jedi is. Tt least according to Yoda, Luke was doing it poorly. He spent all his time saying "Jedi do this, you are not emotional, you are disconnected, I'm a little Buddhist guy," and Luke kept saying, "No, I'm going to run off and do this thing anyway."
We talk about choice a lot. Here's another thing I think is really important to bring up when we talk about all of these big choices. It's hard to wrap your brain around the idea that you're playing a BioWare game in an MMO space. So you're 60 hours into basically playing "The Sith RPG," and you've been trying to play light side – and again, light side is a very different thing here – people say, "But oh, would I just switch?," but no, you wouldn't switch.
Again, if we're getting into our Star Wars history, the great galactic war that sent the Sith out of the galaxy ... the Jedi were trying to eradicate them. You were born in an empire that was waging war on a people who were trying to kill your entire empire. Being a good man does not mean jumping ship and trying to kill your own people. Being a good man means trying to change the world from inside, trying to make the Empire a better place.