BitSnark

Random scribblings by a prick. Enjoy.

Star Wars: The Worst Secret In The Games Industry Unleashed

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At the Lucasarts/Bioware conference last night, the gaming world was treated to the unveiling of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Losing the ‘The Knights Of’ prefix, this newest Star Wars title pretty much confirms everything that was rumoured in message boards and gaming news sites – this IS the next KOTOR and it IS an MMO, and yes, it IS being developed by Bioware and not Star Wars: Galaxies handlers SOE.

With a tip of the hat to the rumour mill and the ‘I told you so’ crowd out of the way, lets get down to specifics; however few they maybe.

The title itself will be set 300 years after the second KOTOR title, with many of the same locales making a welcome return. In terms of ‘sides’ or factions there are two main groups that the player will choose from those being the Galactic Federation or the Sith Empire.

With Bioware being the masterminds behind this title, ostensibly a (thankfully) big focus will be on plot and characterisation in attempt to eschew the current trend away from characters and storylines that players care little about; a task difficult with an offline RPG let alone an MMO where ‘The grind’ is the bread and butter of the experience and plots and characters are serve as merely window dressing.

Further compounding the desperate need for narrative immersion in the MMORPG genre, Bioware has also placed a much welcome emphasis on social interaction with NPC’s through a wide range of conversational choices (echoing the hallmarks of previous Bioware titles) and these NPC’s may also become your companions that adventure with you and also have their own quests and storylines.

Classes and racial selections weren’t really touched upon, but the general consensus from Bioware is that whatever you can see in the films, you *should* be able to be in the game. Interesting.

A big emphasis was also placed on combat, as it appears to be real-time much in the same way that Age Of Conan is, with the Bioware folks aiming to convey a distinct sense of ‘impact’ each time a blow is landed or a shot connects.

In-game footage was shown in a pre-alpha state, with locations being highlighted and duels occurring between Jedi and Sith alike. Due to the early state of the code the lack of frame rate optimisation was apparent, with what should have been graceful lightsaber strikes replaced with choppy, jerky attacks.

Stylistically the game looks like a cross between the more realistic graphical style of Star Wars: Galaxies and the larger-than-life look encapsulated in the CG Clone Wars Movie/TV series.

But again, it’s churlish to criticise aesthetics at this point when the game has so much development time left.

In terms of other gameplay aspects such as trades, PvP and what ‘grinding’ there will be, Bioware were tight-lipped, merely saying that they simply aren’t ready to talk about some of these things, instead indicating that further details would be revealed in the future.

Perhaps the most controversial question came from Geoff Keighley of Gametrailers.com when he asked about the possibility of the game being console bound. The answer? ‘We’re only ready to talk about the PC version… Today.’.

Interesting stuff overall, and while it’s far, far too early for fanboy’s to start proclaiming ‘it’s a WoW beater etc…’, Bioware have got something quite special here and given their track record I’m quietly confident they won’t drop the ball on this one.
Link for the press release below folks:

http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/17915/Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic-Announced-PC/

Written by bitsnark

October 22, 2008 at 9:47 am

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