Why Star Wars: The Old Republic is better than another KOTOR

Disappointed that BioWare went MMO? Here are six reasons to get excited again

Your class does not decide your destiny.

“There’s a difference between morality and faction. You were born into the Empire or the Republic - the Light and Dark Sides of the Force are completely separate. All the people in one faction are not good and all the people in the other faction are not bad.

We had to humanize the Sith Empire. We went back to the really old LucasArts games, where going to the Dark Side was like, ‘Dark greetings! It’s a good day for evil!’ There was no way that was going to work, because there has never been an evil empire in the history of the world. There have been evil regimes and there have been terrible governments that have done terrible things, but there were a ton of good people struggling against those from within.

So we’re going to put you on Korriban and train you to be a Sith. We’re going to tell you what you stand for as a Sith. Then you’re going to go out into the world and you have to decide whether you believe that. Will you do the right thing? There’s always that grey.”

The choices you make are final.

“You are going to make choices that change the entire direction of your story - just like in you did in every other BioWare game. What’s the huge difference? Now, you’re 60 hours into this huge RPG, there’s this big, big decision and, being a BioWare player, you look for the save key. And you realize there is no save key. You’re going to make this decision and that decision is going to stand. Just like real life. You can’t take it back. You can’t say, ‘Oh did I kill you? Sorry, reboot.’ No. You’ve made your decision and the consequences are real.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic won’t waste your time.

“BioWare writers attend three months of training because we have the most important job. For the person that’s writing the Sith class story, I’ll write up on the board, “And then Darth Vader...” and I’ll fill in the plot he or she’s pitched to me: “... saves a farmer’s tractor.” I point at it, we all laugh at him and that doesn’t go into our game. You will never walk into a cantina, poke some random stranger and see if she’ll give you odd jobs for cash. You will never get stopped on the street by someone that’s lost his cat.

If you look at the difference between even Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect – the difference in the level of quest importance and contextualization – it was huge. The bar, the threshold of what was allowed as a quest in those games, was pushed. On this one, we kept pushing it. I tell my writers to imagine the first response the player’s going to have. They’ve been tapped on the shoulder and they say ‘I’m about to go save the world - what?’ And if what you’re about to say isn’t important enough to talk about, shut up.”

Oct 30, 2008

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