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SWTOR story secrets revealed by Lead Writer Hall Hood


Fans of Star Wars: The Old Republic don't need to be reminded that story is central to the MMO's development. But fans of the story part of the game have been anxiously awaiting the next installment of personal and planetary story arcs. That is why Massively pulled SWTOR Lead Writer Hall Hood aside to ask him some questions.

Hood has been an integral part of the SWTOR writing team since the beginning; he penned major parts of the Jedi Knight, Smuggler, and Taral V storylines. In addition to having one of the best superhero alter-ego names in the gaming industry, Hood sits on the upper rungs of BioWare's writing team. And if that's not enough for you to listen to him, we heard he has a Wookiee co-pilot who could rip the ears off a gundark.

Read on to find out what this practitioner of prose says about the future of the SWTOR story.

SWTOR's Hall Hood something something story!
Massively: Since the first announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic, story has really been the central theme of the game. And since launch, our greatest growth in story has been through live events and operations with promises of more personal story being delivered later. How do you plan to keep story playing a significant role -- as the fourth pillar -- in the future? Does free-to-play change your approach to story?

Hall Hood: Story remains one of the four pillars for all of BioWare's games. If anything, The Old Republic's transition to a free-to-play game will create more opportunities to advance the epic story arcs and interesting characters we introduced when the game first launched. While we don't want to spoil any of the surprises, we can say that players have a lot to look forward to in the future. The war between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire is only getting started, and there are powerful new factions rising up to make trouble for both sides.

"Whenever the designers working on SWTOR sit down to dream up new adventurers for our players, we always start by asking ourselves how we can top our last story."

What level of story are we looking at for the future? Are we looking at more grandiose stories like the Dread Masters storyline or a lot more little, personal storylines?

A good Star Wars story is epic and thrilling by definition, and it's hard to think of any galactic-level villain who doesn't have grandiose ambitions. Whenever the designers working on SWTOR sit down to dream up new adventurers for our players, we always start by asking ourselves how we can top our last story. We have plenty of devious new foes, deadly conflicts, and fun romances on the way.

When Makeb was first announced, we were told that it was not a continuation of the class story. Yet in a recent interview, Jeff Hickman said that Makeb is the continuation of your story. I think there might be a bit of confusion in semantics. Can you clarify and perhaps expound on what exactly Makeb is going to offer as far as the story is concerned?

Our goal when designing stories for The Old Republic is to ensure that they can be enjoyed both while playing alone or as part of a group, and Makeb is no exception. Players of all classes will discover that their previous adventures have made them bigger celebrities than ever before, with both enemies and allies recognizing the players' characters as some of the most important people in the galaxy. Players will be summoned to Makeb precisely because of who they are and what they've done in their class plots -- and their new adventures will place them squarely at the center of the Great War.

With so many different branches of possible outcomes when a player hits the end of chapter three, is there any concern that some possible paths will branch so far that they will lose cohesion with the other storyline choices? For instance, the Agent has three vastly different options at the end of her story, including the possibility of working for herself. What kinds of complications do you run into when attempting to continue that storyline?

SWTOR's Hall Hood something something story!The design team never introduces a story branch that it doesn't have plans to pay off. In The Old Republic, the only constant is change -- and players will see their fortunes changing based on their own actions and the constantly shifting state of the galaxy. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a good espionage thriller knows that staying out of the spy game is never easy. The galaxy will always be in danger, and old friends and new foes will always do something that draws out even the most reluctant Agent for a new mission.

In general, MMO players look forward to live events. I was personally surprised at how many people scrambled to find the new content when the Grand Acquisitions Race was announced. However, a couple of years ago before the game released, Daniel Erickson said not to expect holiday live events in The Old Republic. Does that still hold true? And either way, what can we look forward to as far as live events are concerned before the end of the year?

Our events are meant to surprise players with exciting new opportunities and adventures, so we don't like to reveal our plans in advance. However, everyone on the design team is just as passionate about these special events as our players are, and we plan to have lots of fun content like that in the future.

I can tell by your Twitter feed that you are excited about the stories being told in The Old Republic. Are there any hints or clues you can give fans for the next great installment of the The Old Republic story?

For decades since the Sith Empire returned to war against the Republic, the Hutt Cartel has been content to watch from the sidelines and profit from the chaos. That is all about to change, and the fallout from the Hutts' actions will have long-term consequences for the entire galaxy. The Dread Masters aren't finished yet, either. They're about to unleash something terrible that only the galaxy's most powerful defenders have any hope of stopping. If I tell you any more, the Shroud will have me eliminated for talking. Who is this "Shroud," you ask? Oh, you'll see...

Thank you, Hall! We can't wait to see what the future holds.

SWTOR's Hall Hood something something story!

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