More Info on Bioware/Lucasarts’ worst kept industry secret: the MMORPG Star Wars The Old Republic.
Set 300 years after the events in Knights of the Old Republic (and featuring some familiar faces), Star Wars: The Old Republic will put players on either side of a massive war between the Republic and the Empire. “It’s not a day-in-the-life of Star Wars,” Ray emphasizes; “It’s about being a hero.” They want the game to fit the scale and proportions of a conflict that spans the entire galaxy. The game will follow BioWare’s emphasis on “choice with consequences” with room for players to be ambiguous or conflicted about their motives. In short, Greg says, it’s what BioWare fans want: a perpetual RPG that delivers the full BioWare experience.
The battle rages from the capital of Coruscant to the far reaches of the Outer Rim.
BioWare roleplaying games are typically built on four pillars — combat, exploration, progression and story. The first three are already a big part of the MMO landscape and are areas in which BioWare has excelled. But the excellent stories that BioWare has consistently delivered in their single-player roleplaying games haven’t really found a reliable expression online. Ray and Greg want The Old Republic to focus on the fourth pillar of adding story and character within the MMO genre. Moreover, they actually want the game to leverage the social aspects of the MMO to drive the narrative in ways that haven’t been possible in their single-player games.
Fans who are concerned that they’re not going to recapture the magic of the original Knights of the Old Republic may be comforted to learn that The Old Republic team is made up of many veterans, not just of Knights of the Old Republic, but many of BioWare’s roleplaying games. James Ohlen seems to have had a hand in designing every game the studio has made, from the original Baldur’s Gate right through to Jade Empire. Not surprisingly, we’ve been told to expect that The Old Republic MMO will feel and operate like a BioWare game. There will be a big focus on character, on digital acting, on moral flexibility, on a lively and reactive world.
The sense of scale, however, will make Star Wars: The Old Republic different from every other BioWare game. In response to community pressure to scrap this game and just make Knights of the Old Republic 3, the team suggests that there’s enough content in Star Wars: The Old Republic to call it “Knights of the Old Republic 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.” At first hearing, it’s easy to suspect that is just marketing hype, particularly since it was delivered to us more than a couple of times by more than a couple of different people. Nevertheless, it seems to be entirely accurate to claim that, in the team’s words, this is “the biggest and most ridiculous BioWare game ever made.”