Star Wars: The Old Republic detailed


Star Wars: The Old Republic will have “more story content and sheer square feet of territory than every single [sic] BioWare game that has been created and released to date.” That was what we were told practically from the onset of the press event for the unveiling of SW: TOR. BioWare isn’t a sissy when it comes to creating RPGs, either. The company has developed numerous titles that have entertained millions of gamers for a countless hours.

Of course, scale isn’t the only expectation that BioWare has for the long-rumored collaboration with LucasArts. The developer let us know that they fully expect SW: TOR to be a great product that will consist of actual impactful choices, massive landscapes, developed characters, and provide the experience that fans of Knights of the Old Republic as well as the MMO crowd can appreciate.

Lofty goals are always part and parcel with MMOs of late, especially with how competitive the space has become with decent offerings outside of World of Warcraft. Yet, the guys at BioWare and LucasArts gave us the impression that they have some tricks up their sleeves that should lead to their success and, ultimately, your entertainment.

So what did we learn at the event? Hit the break and we’ll let you in on the details we could gather.

Before BioWare shocked us with their statement of scale, we were introduced to two trailers of the game. The first of which was entirely CG. It featured a human female in a temple, finishing the construction of a lightsaber. Suddenly, she’s interrupted by a Sith with a droid companion who barge into the structure. The lightsaber is finished shortly before the Sith enters, and battle is initiated. The outcome of the battle is really irrelevant, mainly because we couldn’t take our eyes off of how hot the chick was.

The second trailer was more revealing of the actual product that BioWare and LucasArts are building. It was composed entirely of in-game footage. It showed various landscapes, some battle scorched, others serene. The game is obviously in an early stage in terms of its visuals, as it was plain that the visuals still needed a lot of work. What was important was how the direction of the art was portrayed. The trailer gave off an unmistakably Star Wars feel. There was also a glimpse of the combat. We saw a guy getting nailed with a lightsaber (who kept fighting), force lightning, force push, and a character with a flamethrower modification on his hand fighting a Jedi.

While flamethrowers are always amazing to see in action (especially hand-mounted ones) it wouldn’t make much sense without some sort of story context. As we mentioned previously, SW: TOR takes place 300 years after the original KOTOR. A few years before the MMO starts, we find the Galatic Republic sitting pretty on Coruscant, ruling over the galaxy with its Jedi and pushing a Unitarian agenda. While the Republic’s back was turned, the Sith Empire decides to make its move. The mysterious Sith Emperor comes down on the Republic with the full weight of his fleet and army and begins decimating entire planets – including Coruscant. The end result is a treaty of sorts, that favors the Sith heavily.

After successfully scattering the Republic and creating the Treaty of Coruscant, the Emperor fades into the shadows in pursuit of something as equally mysterious as he is. In that span of time, the Republic is allowed to gather itself and grow once again. As the MMO begins, we find the Republic biting back against the Treaty and quite possibly drawing the entire galaxy into war once again.

It only begins from this point, and it only gets better from here. BioWare has promised that SW: TOR is one of the most unique stories they’ve ever written. The most interesting aspect of it is that SW: TOR will have personal stories for each person that picks up the game. The Republic and the Sith will have two massive, branching story-arcs that are wildly different from each other. In fact, players who beat one arc will have a completely different experience with the opposite. That is, presumably, after hundreds of hours of play.

As in most BioWare RPGs, companions will accompany players. Like Mass Effect or even Baldur’s Gate, these companions will both influence actions, as well as be influenced by actions of the player. There will even be unique stories that will unfold between a companion and a player – either of lust or deceit. NPCs will even have significant impact on the story. More importantly, they won’t be annoying or placed in a story vacuum either.

Naturally, the most important part of the story is fulfilling the Star Wars fantasy inside of the Star Wars canon. BioWare promised that if players want to be as evil and as masterful as Darth Vader, they absolutely could. It’s also important to note that BioWare is aiming to make every player feel completely unique inside of the universe and cater to the fact that they are larger than life inside of the Star Wars universe.

Outside of the story elements, BioWare was regretfully scant on details, but we were able to pick up on some decent tidbits of information. SW: TOR will essentially be a sequel to KOTOR in the traditional sense. Players will be able to solo the vast majority of the game, while only being encouraged to take part in the social aspects of the MMO.

BioWare is being especially cautious with character creation. They want players to have unique and identifiable characters, but at the same rate, don’t desire anyone to run around with disfigured faces and silly costumes. An Oblivion system full of sliders won’t be present, but from what we gather, tons of options and individual sliders will be present. The aim is not to piss off players by being disgruntled by the look of their characters, while still preserving the atmosphere of a Star Wars game.

Players will be able to visit other planets in the galaxy, but how they’ll travel wasn’t revealed. Also, lightsaber customization appears to be present in some capacity. PvP details are especially meager, but the ability to kill other Jedi (players) has been confirmed.

Coming away from the event, we got the impression that SW: TOR is all about a few fundamental ideas. First of all, BioWare is seeking to create an MMO that is full of meaningful choice, innovation, and story. In a market space that thrives on the redundancy of combat, it should serve as a breath of fresh air. Details of release weren’t discussed, but we were able to confirm that the game is intended to be PC-only at this point in the process. The publisher, EA, is considering bringing the game to consoles, but take that with a grain of salt this early in the game.

So, what do you guys think? A fully realized RPG that is also an MMO? Count me in. In the coming months we’ll have much more information to share, but until then, we suggest picking up some Star Wars books.

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Brad Nicholson
Brad Nicholson   gamer profile

I'm Brad Nicholson. I've been around, but Destructoid is where my dawgs at. You can see my work here, at MTV, at Giant Bomb or other great places around the Internet. I also run a podcast called ... more + disclosures



Filed under... #MMO #Star Wars



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