Star Wars The Old Republic E3 Interview
SGGaminginfo sat down with Daniel Erickson Lead Writer on Star Wars The Old Republic at this years E3.
SGGI: Can you explain what is the over arching storyline of SWTOR?
DE: So the game takes place about 3,000 years before the movies and about 300 years after the events of the original Knights of the Old Republic. The big is that it is the return of the actual Sith Empire, so they have come back after being gone for 1,000 years and everybody thought they were entirely irradiated and surprise attack the Republic there was about 40 yrs of war followed by a very very tense peace and when players start up it is sort of like between WW1 and WW2 time period and everyone can see it is going to slide back into war, so the heroes(player controlled characters) play get to play the next generation of heroes.
SGGI: So story in an mmo it’s not really that big in my opinion, what was the decision to go for a big story driven mmo?
DE: Well it is what we do right, Bioware’s actual motto is to make the best Story driven games in the world and the mmo actually gives us a lot of room for a lot of stuff we want to do for roleplaying game, a computer role playing game the thing that was always wrong about it was we..(he kind of jumped during the conversation) Bioware’s roots were in the pen and paper world and the whole point for role playing games was to play with your friends, so it was a limitation of the CRPG (classic Role Playing Games) that they were single player,that’s not what an RPG is supposed to be, it was the limitations of an mmo that they were so big that people couldn’t put the story that needed to be in there, so the limitations of both sort of became expectations of the genre. But for us we have always wanted to make a giant RPG to play with your friends. Sit down have a cool story we’ll be the story master you guys make the decisions and get together and play.
SGGI: As I was saying to when we were doing the first mission a lot of mmo players including myself don’t read the quest text we just hit accept. So what will you do for those who just want to get on with the mission and not listen to all the talking?
DE: You can just hit the space bar a lot and skip through, but we convert people very well people say we don’t care about the story. If it is presented well and is a good story you care, if it’s not presented well and is a bad story you don’t care.
SGGI: So having a fully voiced seems to help here?
DE: it really helps. In fact originally we weren’t going to be fully voiced. During the early development, they were developing Mass Effect and the first time we got our hands of a demo of Mass Effect James (the director) and I looked at each and went oh oh, this changes everything. So we put together a test of what it would do to put voices in the game figured out a price tag and sent it up to EA and Lucas, didn’t think they would approve it and they saw the same thing we did and said yes yes you have to do this.
SGGI: So we could have seen a completely different way of interaction for missions?
DE: Yes, but well the NPCs would still have being voiced but it would have being much more like the original Dragon Age.
SGGI: So we might have not seen something like the mission hub we saw today? Like would you have just used quest text if the fully voiced idea was rejected.
DE: No, they would have still being talking (NPCs)but you would not have talked. You would have picked your dialog and it would have assumed you said it. Sort of old school.
SGGI: Will there be multiple voice choices at launch (for the class you place)?
DE: No, there is 16 actors and they have already had to do 100s and 100s of hours of dialog. The largest VO spent in the player character. So voices come per class, every character has their own voice.
SGGI: So from level 1 to max level is it just going to be an overarching storyline or little mini stories as you level?
DE: Well each class has a Star Wars trilogy, so each class has 3 whole chapters. So you are going to finish out a whole chapter finish that story, finish with that bad guy, wrap the story up and have a new one. You don’t want to sit through 100s of hours of doing the one thing chasing one guy.
SGGI: Going onto the flashpoint (instances), there is a storyline in each one and what happens to the story when you do them multiple times?
DE: Originally the plan they weren’t supposed to be re-playable of that exact thing, right its a story you’re only supposed to do it once. Yeah testing told us we were 100% wrong, people wanted to play them again and again. They are biggest most dramatic cinematic moments, so we kind of just give a nod to that in the story. What we do is we don’t comment on it a lot outside of the flashpoint, so we don’t have people who will come in and say “hey you killed my dad” cause you might not remember if you did or didn’t kill him last time.
They are cool stories but they are sort of separated stories.
A big thank you to Bioware and Daniel Erickson for taking time out to talk to SGGamingInfo.