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SWTOR's Daniel Erickson on pulling players' moral strings


BioWare's Daniel Erickson said that for the writing team, the crunch time came way ahead of everyone else since the script for the game had to be done first. As such, the team has had plenty of time to reflect on how the game's developed while it's moved on to future content. In speaking with GameSpy, the Star Wars: The Old Republic head writer opened up about the difficulties and fun of penning a game with so many personalities, choices, and plot twists.

Probably the most revealing is how Erickson admits that the writers are trying to pull players in multiple directions through a series of moral influences: the game's own light and dark side system, players' own morality, companions' own likes and dislikes, and multiplayer dialogue. Ideally, he said, one of the goals of the writing team was to make quests that would challenge players' set paths to make them want to change. "It's interesting to watch all those dynamic forces affect the player, see how they interact with the storytelling method," he said.

Erickson also says that the project got initial pushback over the notion of centering it on story, because of the past limitations of MMOs and "the expected norm" that had grown over the years: "It was clear, when you played the early MMOs, that they were trying to put as much as they could in for what was there. There were people on each one of these projects that clearly cared passionately about the lore, and were really trying to get it across to the players. So we knew that that was there and we knew from the single-player games what did it."

The interview continues to cover a wide range of writing challenges, including coming up with the script for Huttball, quests that the team was sure would get cut by the ESRB, and how the team enjoyed coming up with intricate stories, connections, and romances for companion characters.

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