“Ultimate Star Wars Game” Old Republic Footage

By Jim Rossignol on December 13th, 2008 at 8:36 am.


Impressive developer-narrated video of The Old Republic after the jump. It includes the first footage of the game in action, with some dudes thrashing about with their light sabres. More interesting, perhaps, is the continued explanation of story within the MMO, with discussion of your journey towards the light or dark side, and the role of companion characters. There’s also a closer look at the visual style of the game, which they’re calling “stylised realism”. You’ll want to watch this one.

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86 Comments »

  1. Konky Dong 1000 says:

    I have hope for this. I really do.

  2. O.jones says:

    No decapitations or dismemberment???? That is what made Jedi Knight the best Star Wars based game. I know it required a code, but it should be a requirement for light saber combat. Making yourself a human wood chipper is the ultimate in escapism.

  3. gori says:

    Hope leads disapointment, disapointment leads to the dark side of the force

  4. Leelad says:

    your your your your

    story story story story

    It’s meant to be an MMO meaning other peoples, if it’s all about your story then what’s the point in having it as an MMO.
    I want it to be good but they’re making it hard for me to get on the “I believe” bandwagon.

  5. garren says:

    Story and plot in MMOs? NO WAY!

  6. Meat Circus says:

    @Leelad:

    You speak true.

    TOR makes no sense. So, you want me to pay a monthly subscription to play a single-player RPG with a pre-written story? Um, right.

  7. Nicky says:

    One of the biggest issues i can see with regards to combat is when you look at two characters fighting each other with lightsabers. they’re actually hitting their opponents body parts wildly without defence. Now, unless these are fake lightsabers, surely as soon as the sword made contact with their body, it’d cut through it.

    They should have developed a system where all attacks that players make to one another are matched and blocked, (even successful attacks) but successful attacks take away – not life – but an energy of some sort. when the energy is depleted, you’re unable to defend yourself or attack properly (ergo defeated state) and you can be proper killed.

    slashing people wildly with lightsabers and seeing no limbs fall off, is bad.

  8. Meat Circus says:

    @garren:

    The best MMOs have story and plot as an entirely emergent thing that is brought about by the interactions and decisions of the players within the Universe. See EVE for example.

    This is just a single-player RPG without the ability to save and a subscription fee. It’s *monumentally* stupid and ill-conceived.

  9. Pavel says:

    One of the biggest issues I can see with the game is the fact that it is a MMO.

    I want my proper KOTOR 3, dammit.

  10. rei says:

    Frankly, I didn’t see anything that would suggest this being any different than other MMOs. For all this talk about ‘story’ and ‘choices’, I’m willing to bet your actions won’t make the slightest difference in the world.

  11. Meat Circus says:

    The endlessly irritating thing about the way MMO developers endlessly reinvent the wheel, at least to an EVE player, is that THE MMO STORY PROBLEM HAS ALREADY BEEN SOLVED.

    Please, just copy EVE. Pleeeeeease?

  12. Mister Yuck says:

    Personally, I think Tetris got it right.

    Please, just copy TETRIS. Pleeeeeease?

  13. Reid says:

    As an (albiet ex) longtime eve player, I can say that there’s a big difference between dev story and player-to-player stories. The dev “storyline” in eve is pretty poorly executed, it’s nothing new or amazingly special. Player created storylines on the other hand….

  14. Dan (WR) says:

    Uh. I think saying EVE has solved the story problem is going a bit far. It’s a pointer in the right direction for emergent stories. It’s just a shame that no-one has the balls to carry something in that direction. But there’s another factor – EVE bores the arse off many people.

    Rightly or wrongly, it’s not considered the ‘best MMO’. That’s WoW. And this will probably just copy that while throwing in a bit more narrative to the questlines. I wonder if any of these developers have ever played a MMO though. Most of the players won’t make a story choice based on characterisation or care about a moral dilemma. They’ll choose the one that gets them the Epic Wang +5 for their character.

  15. Mara says:

    Do you have to be a jedi?

  16. Meat Circus says:

    My point is, that MMO stories should be emergent. Otherwise you’re just trying to fleece people into subscribing to a single-player RPG experience with broken saves.

  17. Tim says:

    I believe.

  18. Therlun says:

    The Replublic is in danger!
    You, Jedi, are required to provide me with [10] Bantha hides to save the Republic!

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    Eve does provide principles that other MMOs could use to put the stories in the hands of the players, rather than dictating the stories to the players. It’s a horribly broken game in many ways, but its foundations are sound: look after the reasons for co-operation and conflict in a game world, and the stories look after themselves.

  20. SanguineLobster says:

    Hmm, I guess I’ll be optimistic, I don’t really have anything else to do.

    Emergent player stories are great and fun, but they tend not to have much depth to them, people fighting each other out of boredom and greed. From there throw in betrayals and long term plans from the same motivation, rinse and repeat. It’s involving, but player motivations are shallow at best. If this game could move past this, get the players involved with the world and the characters….. but that may be too much to hope for.

    I hope they’ve put some thought into this. If they have as many tricks up their sleeves as they claim, it may have a chance to be something special.

  21. Corbeaubm says:

    I’d love for this to be good, but I really doubt it. And I didn’t see anything particularly compelling in the trailer either – it’s passable, but no *whoa* factor.

    I also agree that Bioware and LucasArts have completely missed what makes MMOs compelling: procedurally generated content from player interaction. Otherwise, why on earth is it an MMO rather than a single-player game?

    In all honesty, I bet that part of the reason why it’s an MMO is because subscription fees solve the piracy problem.

  22. Xercies says:

    LOTRO did a pretty good story progression thing with its books i have to say. It has a relatively good story, the books are nearly always group instances/quests, and there really good to do since you get soem of the best gear from them.

    I don’t see Old republic working as a monthly subscription MMO, and thats probably one reason why EA was saying microtransactions. But i can see this as a Guild wars style game where you have the missions and you go through the game going from mission to mission and it tells a story.

    But i can’t see how the choice thing is going to work, and how will it work with other players in your group. They have to really get that out there i think.

    Not entirly sure about this one, I think I will stick to Star Trek Online.

  23. Frank Comment says:

    This looks like an oily heap of shit.

  24. garren says:

    Well at least if they got rid of those kill/collect X things quests I’d be happy.

  25. J. Prevost says:

    If they can deliver on what they’re aiming for, this will at least shake things up in the MMO world, which is a good thing. There are a lot of ways it can fail, but… honestly, without accepting the possibility of failure, you can’t progress. If it succeeds, even partially, it’ll have a big impact on any future MMO development.

    I think the real trick is going to be in how the story and the MMO interact. You can’t make it just a bunch of players each playing single player and call it an MMO–you need to have the ability for people to get together with friends and work together towards goals. Even more, you have to encourage it. If you divide the two completely (like the “night-time” story-mode in AoC), I think it can work, but it’s a little unsatisfying in ways. And, of course, that can’t be everything. You need to have opportunities to play together while progressing in the story, as well. And that raises all sorts of questions, like “Okay, so what if you have two friends who want to play together, and one is generally a light-side sort of person and the other is generally a dark-side sort of person?” And of course, the perennial “What if somebody needs help with a ‘group chapter’ (or whatever they call them) and their friend has already done that?”

    Choosing when and how to “break” the single-player story progression? That’s an interesting hard problem. I think most of us can imagine ways to do it, but it seems like an awful lot of work. If Bioware has come up with some good design models for how to do that, it’ll be awesome. (The most awesome thing I can imagine is if players can thread into the stories of their friends. Imagine the light side hero and dark-side anti-hero who grudgingly join up to… er… fight crime? Fight something. Then later they meet up for another mission, and their companions snark it up about what they’ve done before. Maybe you see news stories about what friends and other people you’ve grouped with have been doing on other plot-lines.)

    Blizzard’s phasing stuff in LK is an interesting work-around for plot points, by the way. There are a lot of things where a character’s quest progression determines how they see the world–but the areas that are affected seem carefully chosen to not *require* grouping for content somebody may have “phased out of”, and generally the combat quests tend to be arranged to prevent confusion between people who are out of phase. (I can only think of a couple of areas where an area you need to do quests in changes drastically based on what phase you’re in, for example. Yet, it feels like the impact on the world is much larger because those areas are chosen so carefully.)

    Alternatively, maybe they just go for “single player only mode for really significant stuff”, or say “if you want to play together and help out, you can take the place of an NPC of the appropriate class for that other player in their story”.

    Actually, that scenario could be kind of cool: when you’re grouped for a story quest, one person is the main character and everybody else becomes an appropriate companion (without needing to learn a new skill set)? Hmm.

    Anyway, *if* Bioware has come up with some new approaches or approaches to this problem, this is going to be very interesting. And I say that whether or not there’s any traditional raid-type scenarios available at end-game. I doubt the game’s longevity if they don’t keep there being something really hard to do up there at the end, but if the getting there is done well enough, other MMOs will be able to steal some of the techniques and maybe we’ll see some other experimentation.

    Experimentation is good. :) AoC was fun in seeing how the nighttime stuff worked out, even if the game mechanics and game as a whole were kind of a let down. At the very least, this is probably going to be worth buying a box and a couple of months of play. If it’s worth more than that, Bioware might make some profits off of it and we’ll see how they continue to develop things. If it’s not worth more than that? Hopefully everybody else learns some lessons from the failure.

  26. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    @garren, Yea it should be, kill x,y,u,v and collect x.a, y.b, y.d and v.c. Where u has to be killed to get to v.

    Nah… thats just trying to make a joke, but I would like to see a lot more depth… also, I want to have hyperspace exploration. Where you are not sure where you are going to end up, but when you’re lucky, you can sell planets or mining rights to other people… something like that.

  27. cHeal says:

    Looks awful. Stylised realism? No it’s just looks rubbish, your art will not stand the test of time, infact it already looks like it was ripped straight from the Knights game.

    Is the entire game going to be populated by Jedi and Sith? If so, that’s not star wars! The combat looks clumsy and unintelligelible.

    the smell of my fart/10

    Thank god I don’t do MMO’s or I might have cared.

  28. Gnarl says:

    I hope it won’t be too hard to run a private server if they are asking for subs. I just maybe judging a tad (just a tad) early, but nothing I’ve seen suggests a reason to play this game with others.

  29. Barky says:

    It looks like WoW with lightsabers.

  30. Larington says:

    Stylised realism. That literally sounds to me like, “lookit what WoW did with its art, lets do something similar”. Which is fair enough I suppose, and I agree with their reasons for doing it, but lets just be honest about it eh?

    The visual style of WoW is most definately one of the things it did get right, just a shame I found the moment to moment combat of that game tedius by level 52.

    As for this, I’m still not convinced and won’t be convinced ’til the reviews start coming in. This is partly because a lot of their talk of story being important could easily fall flat on its face – Just look at the number of MMOs where the players skip through the dialogue and only pay any attention to the quest goals because their only concern is ‘nxt lvl pls’.

  31. Tei says:

    WTF?…. autoplayed videos? that is a horrible idea. is NSFW!

  32. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Well, at least the art direction’s on track. (It does look KOTORy, and that’s not a bad thing) I’m still in the “Wish this was KOTOR 3 proper” camp, though.

    As an MMO in this age of MMO disappointments, it’s hard to stir up too much enthusiasm over it.

  33. Rei Onryou says:

    I’m hopeful. That’s all I can say. If indeed it succeeds in each person having their own in-game history/story/goals within the world (indeed, this is what EvE manages), then it extends on the single-player idea by filling in the Billy EveryNPC with others with their own in-game history/story/goals.

    However, as with every other MMO, if there’s a million players, you’d want a million different stories. Rather than “Wow, your here to save the universe? Me too! But why does that guy need 10 Bantha hides from both of us?”

    Give us EvE player-driven freedom in a Star Wars world. If they manage that, I’ll pay, play, and need a change of clothes…

  34. Mattress says:

    Art director on track?
    Say what?!
    The game doesn’t look Star Wars, heck it barely looks KOTOR.
    This “stylised realism” looks uncanningly like World of Warcraft (a game praised upon it’s release for eschewing realism for cartoony and emotive visuals) with lightsabers.
    The video above doesn’t seem to evoke any childhood nostalgia associated with Star Wars. Instead we see lightning and lightsabers put in a context with little meaning, it feels like a crudely rendered imitation lacking the intricate qualities that made the original special. Like a Chinese stitched clone pikachu doll you win knocking tins over at the fun-fair…

    As for trying to merge personalised narratives into a massively multiplayer world? Aren’t they kind of missing the point of said world?

  35. Bema says:

    Wait…this is an MMO? Bah. All the story shit they’ve been peddling made me thought it’d be a decent RPG. Ah well.

    *Crosses it off the list*

  36. Jahkaivah says:

    @Dan (WR)

    But the boring elements of EvE was separate to the “these guys get it” elements.

    If someone were to Remake EvE without the horrible learning curve and removed the travel times (or gave them something to do with those periods), we would have an MMO which solves the “why am I paying Monthly for this when the games’ persistence is being underused” issue.

  37. Dan says:

    I’m depressed now. I was looking forward to this, but having read the other comments and thought about it, it certainly seems that they could have gone down the single-player RPG route, with expansions for additional content.

    The BioWare guys on the video didn’t mention interacting with other players once. Which again begs the question – why is this an MMO? You could even argue that it simply isn’t; it’s a single player game where all the players are in the same place.

    Sigh.

  38. Conquests.of. says:

    I just believe the reason why you boys don’t think story and mmos can’t work it’s because you can’t shake off the rotten rags of old mmos clichés.

  39. Conquests.of. says:

    ah shite phrasing. Minus the first “don’t”

  40. Pidesco says:

    Considering that Bioware can’t make proper choices and consequences in a directed, controlled single player game, there’s no chance in hell they’ll be able do it in an MMO.

  41. bruno says:

    @Mara : Yes, it looks like to me you’ll have to be a jedi… And that would suck !

  42. Tinter says:

    They have said before you don’t have to be a Jedi. They are certainly not giving any else much screentime though. Was that guy with the flamethrower a different class? Because it didn’t look like it played very differently…

  43. demonknight01 says:

    i am very interested in the way this game is going and most of the people who have commented have to remeber this is in the early stages so there a lot more to be revealed and lot more work to be done, next to the new star trek MMO its going to be my next MMO buy

  44. john t says:

    Eve doesn’t have ‘story’. It has ‘HIstory’. If you want to copy it, you just need a single shard, and real, permanent player control of resources.

  45. Feet says:

    Yeah I’m failing to see why this game should be an MMO and not just KoToR 3. I don’t want another WoW\LOTRO\WaR clone, don’t get me wrong.

    I just fail to see how having 1000s of Jedis\Siths walking around together in the “Public” “city” areas is going to work.

    This whole well told story and character thing has been done pretty well in LOTRo and Guild Wars already via instancing so I really don’t see how what they’re proposing is going to change the way MMO stories are seen. Unless they have a better idea.

    So yeah, I’m looking forward to it, but I’m going to pretend they never said it was an MMO, cause quite frankly it makes no sense.

  46. Tim says:

    ohh this is going to be sooo hyped by EA. I must remember to not give money till we /know/ if it’s good.

  47. tmp says:

    But i can’t see how the choice thing is going to work, and how will it work with other players in your group. They have to really get that out there i think.

    Could be as simple as having choice between pursuing quest arc A, B or C (each affecting the dark/light alignment of the character in different manner) and then grouping with people who made the same choice.

  48. PaulMorel says:

    I’m with you, Tim. I’m not going to go through the whole SWG thing all over again.

    I hope that Bioware tries to control the hype train for this game. The game will hype itself.

  49. Panther says:

    Dark side or Light side? Lightsabers or guns? The choices you make will be with you forever……

  50. JulianP says:

    Considering that Bioware can’t make proper choices and consequences in a directed, controlled single player game, there’s no chance in hell they’ll be able do it in an MMO.

    What I was thinking.