27/07/2018

Interview Insights

If there's one thing that the SWTOR fan community is lacking right now, I would say it's a site that gathers and curates news and articles about the game (I'm not talking about just re-posting patch notes here, or about guide writing). Anyone remember SWTOR Network? Man, I loved that site, and not just because they linked to me a lot. It's such a shame that it ended up being abandoned.


Memories...

As it stands, it can be easy to miss things like interviews if they don't get reposted as official news anywhere, and sometimes I don't come across them until quite some time after they've been released.

For example the Passionately Casual podcast had a great two-part interview with Eric Musco and Charles Boyd recently. Part one was largely about upcoming content and I actually already listened to it over a month ago, but I didn't load up the more lore-focused part two until the other day, and boy, was it even more interesting than I had expected! Everyone has their own topics of interest of course, but the two things that stood out to me the most were a mention of Zenith (the consular companion) and an almost off-hand comment about something going back to early SWTOR's development.

The thing with Zenith was that dataminers found files for an Alliance alert for him a whole two years ago now (something I mentioned here), but to date he is one of the few companions that remains missing post-KotFE. In the interview, Charles brought up why that is: Apparently what they had planned was similar to another Alliance alert that was released around that time and which wasn't well received, so they decided to not go ahead with it and have now come up with an alternative scenario that they think suits the character and will be received much better.

This is all good news as far as I'm concerned, but I couldn't help but wonder which Alliance alert he was referring to, mostly because I don't remember any of them being particularly badly received. I've been trying to remember which alerts came out around that time, and I think we can narrow it down to Bowdaar, Broonmark and Guss Tuno. Bowdaar's and Guss's were among my own top five Alliance alerts! I guess Broonmark's wasn't that great, seeing how it was a puzzle that wasn't much of a puzzle. I now remember that Cal ranked it as his absolute least favourite actually. Could that have been it, that Zenith's alert was supposed to involve another puzzle?

The other thing that was mentioned in the interview and which blew my mind was that apparently in SWTOR's very early development stages, they originally intended to have three factions: Jedi, Sith and Underworld characters. It's easy to see how classes like the smuggler or bounty hunter would have slotted into that third faction. I have to admit that as much as I like the game as it is, the idea of a third playable faction sounds like something that could have had the potential to be extremely cool as well. To think of the possibilities...

In other interview news, long-time Bioware vet James Ohlen, who's been working on SWTOR from the start, recently left Bioware and used the occasion to grant a little interview to Game Informer. Most people probably latched onto what he had to say about Anthem, but I found the tidbits he provided about SWTOR the most interesting. This comment made me laugh:

Working on the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I was the game director, which meant I had the most power, but I often felt like I was the captain of the Titanic and I could just steer it a teeny tiny bit if I put all my efforts into it.

I get what he means, but did SWTOR really need any more Titanic comparisons? He couldn't have chosen a worse analogy there I think.

The other line that stood out to me was this one, when asked about whether he has any regrets:

With Star Wars: The Old Republic I wish that I pushed a little bit more toward making it kind of Knights of The Republic online rather than “Star Wars World of Warcraft.”

This is interesting to me because people can't agree to this day whether SWTOR is/was too much or not enough like WoW - which is exactly the argument people got into in the comment section of MMORPG.com when that site linked to the interview. Of course, for me the balance between those two aspects at launch was actually just right, but I guess I'm in the minority with that opinion.

3 comments :

  1. It's an interesting take for sure. Was hoping to see more of his general thoughts on BW but I guess that will come later on.

    For what it's worth I still think swtor has some of the best leveling content out there. It was what came after it that had too large of a drought.

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  2. I remember wishing aspects of SWTOR were more like KOTOR, but probably not for the usual reason (wanting a multiplayer coop RPG). I wanted the MMO to be closer to the TTRPG ruleset that the prior CRPGs used, e.g. for slicing to be a skill you chose/progress and not just a gathering profession...

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  3. I will say that Anthem does seem to have a lot of aspects of SWTOR's KOTFE expansion, where the story is single player but there's a big open world multiplayer mission area out there.

    Still, I kind of like SWTOR pretty much as it is, but with the old talent trees (because I'm a bit old school that way).

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