“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. rabbitsoup says:

    @ Feet

    surely it should be KOTOR 3 + diablo style multiplayer (and not with just jedi or sith)

  2. TooNu says:

    This will be great, Firstly you make a character if you want to play the “OMFG I HAEV EPIX NOW!!1″ making all the choices best for gear.
    Then you make a character for the story as a light side and then a character for the dark side story.

    This is how most gamers with actual souls that love games would do it. The “+5 Epic Wang” types can find enjoyment in this game also of course, but, I think I would much rather be emmersed in the Star Wars universe that SONY can’t fucking ruin.

  3. SanguineLobster says:

    Wow, I didn’t notice it, but apparently this game is worse than any game ever created.

    Maybe we should wait until after the second, or hell, maybe the third trailer before we crucify it because we don’t know how it will work.

  4. DigitalSignalX says:

    I want to believe. I do. However will still put my eggs in Stargate worlds. Star Wars fans have been burned too often by Lucas Arts.

  5. Pattom says:

    I think my biggest disappointment with this game so far isn’t the focus on storyline, though I’ll trust the people who believe EVE’s methods superior. The thing is, I don’t really consider this to be a KotOR game. It’s a Star Wars MMO, but it’s a different part of the timeline, and the events of the KotOR series seem largely irrelevant. I don’t really think the claims that this is a successor to those games are fair, because it’s so clearly a different beast. Does anyone else feel this would have been more promising if it was an EVE-style game set in the Mandalorian Wars (that is, before the KotOR games and in the era of the KotOR comics)?

  6. Ian says:

    Looking promising.

  7. Johnson says:

    Hate to be hating on your hate parade but I for one am really excited about this whilst trying not be. I guess theres so much negativity because tbh we have mostly all been burnt by an mmo that promised too much (well I have). But I’ll wait until someone whose opinion I value has played it and then I’ll ignore them too and probaly buy it to find out for myself. I like bioware I LOVED Kotor so I’m a believer.

  8. Iain says:

    I need to know more about how the combat mechanics work before I get off this nice, comfortable fence I’m sitting on at the moment. But the video doesn’t inspire me with too much confidence right now that it will be anything more sophisticated than WoW’s.

  9. jackflash says:

    Not a real fan of the “stylized realism” look. Also, without seeing more of the gameplay, it looks just like any other MMO.

  10. MeestaNob! says:

    Combat reminds me of Force Unleashed (ie, Jedi/Sith just club each other with glow sticks rather SLICING THE FUCK out of each other with Lightsabres).

    Immediate fail in my book.

    And whilst it’s early, the graphics look barely passable now, and cant imagine what they’ll be like in 2 year time when this finally comes out.

  11. Xercies says:

    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.

    The problem with that is that it brakes up the population, what happens further down the line? Will you just have one person that made your choice, zero. You can’t really do any group quests if that happens.

  12. Bhazor says:

    Oh god. Does this mean the core team in Bioware have been sucked into a ten year development cycle?

    Still I have to admit I can see single player working if the single player quest line is a “pick your allegiance” scenario where you’re then introduced to those who picked the same side as you and are set loose . Set loose into all that lovely soul crushing grind.

  13. matte_k says:

    I imagine if they ran the light/dark system as something akin to WaR’s Order/Destruction split, i.e. the further you progress down one path or the other, then areas of the opposite orientation become closed off to you (for instance, if you tend towards being an evildoer, you’ll get so much grief in light sided areas you wouldn’t be able to last long in there) and newer areas aligned to your orientation open up. Of course, there’ll be large areas where both sides will meet in conflict, with the possibility that enough players could swing control of the sector to whichever side wins the conflict. Providing that it doesn’t get top heavy on either side, that could be promising.

    Also, non Jedi/Sith classes could proffer themselves for hire as mercs or commandos, or traders/arms dealers, etc. to back up whichever side they feel like joining.

    It’s a bit early to beat up on it really, i can see why people are, because so many MMO’s have promised big ideas and then failed to deliver, or been ruined in the pursuit of players cold, hard, cash, but it’s Bioware behind it-give them the time and space to grow the concepts properly, and it could produce something different and worthwhile, even if it isn’t a revelation.

    Also, as far as the video goes, they’re just touting lightsabers and all the trimmings associated with that to get people interested, because they know that’s what the majority want. You wouldn’t want to see a video of just some guy walking down the street buying a new robe, would you?

    Fingers Crossed, anyway…

  14. Wedge says:

    Yes, it sounds like it’s just going to be a single player RPG with no saves and PvP after you finish the main quest. Stupid, perhaps? But they aren’t going to be charging a monthly fee if I recall either.

    And the combat looks the same as KotoR but with better animations, anyone who thinks different never played KotoR.

  15. tmp says:

    The problem with that is that it brakes up the population, what happens further down the line? Will you just have one person that made your choice, zero. You can’t really do any group quests if that happens.

    But that’s presuming each choice actually does split the population and sends the players down completely separate plot branches with absolutely no converge points… and even if such was the case it still boils down to total amount of possible choices vs the size of population. I’d expect this number to be quite limited — how many ‘real’ big choices does a player get to make, even in single player story-driven RPG? Really not that many…

  16. tabasco says:

    It seems that everyone (especially Meat Circus) in this thread, except Wedge, is under the impression that TOR will have a monthly subscription fee. It will not. So to the people saying that it seems like it’ll be a single player game posing as a MMO, if it does, and that’s a big “if”, then you can’t bitch about paying $15/month for it. Of course, it remains to be seen what things players will have to pay for in their microtransaction business model. Hopefully it’ll only be for minor and/or cosmetic things, and not core aspects that should be free.

    And another thing.. TOR is probably 2 years from release, and one of the devs in the video said that the footage is “pre-production”, so all the complaints about the graphics are just ignorant. I won’t ask you to have faith in EA, because they don’t deserve it, yet, but I think Bioware have earned enough respect for people to have faith in them.

  17. Rakysh says:

    umm… Just cos they talked about the single player a lot, it doesn’t mean that is all.

    It goes like this:

    New Stuff: MASSIVE single player

    Not so new: PvP, raids, groups, standard MMO stuff.

    If they made a trailer solely about the second list of stuff, this thread would be filled with “And? What’s new?” ‘s. The devs are not going to make their first diary thingamajig about how it’s doing WoW slightly differently- they are going to emphasis the differences.

    Just sayin’.

    Personally, I hope that it’s not all jedi, or the server size is really small- like 500 or something. That way, there will never be way too many jedi. Obviously that has inherent problems, but it’s just an idea.

  18. Anthony Damiani says:

    Dunno. If I could play $15 a month, and have access to KotOR-level single player story, I think I could go for it.

    People overestimate how much the multiplayer component is key to the success of MMOs, and how much of it is just having so much content that it doesn’t run out– being able to absorb peoples’ time for 10 or 20 or 100 days /played if they’re sufficiently obsessive. Having other people there IS an important factor that adds replay value and extends the life of the game– but it’s historically come at the cost of narrative and meaningful player choice. That’s not a small tradeoff, and if you can have both, you’re accomplishing something.

    As to being microtransaction based– obviously, this is a dealbreaker for a lot of people, and probably me. I certainly hope they don’t continue to attempt to export this model from the unique cultural and economic conditions of east Asia from which it originated. There’s at least some reasonable evidence that western consumers aren’t eager to embrace it (and, indeed, find it confusing– especially when hybrid models are attempred).

  19. Trithemius says:

    A good idea for how story emerges from play-based conflicts might be to look at how the “traditional” (i.e. bits of paper and polyhedron based) roleplaying games have done it: Vincent Baker’s “In A Wicked Age” has produced some quite neat and coherent narratives out of more or less unplanned conflictual encounters with other players.

  20. Johnson says:

    @ tabasco

    I totally agree with you, also they have said that the period in which it is set wont be all out conflict between the sith and the old republic rather wary hostilities and there will be some mixing. Also they have said that the sith and the republic aren’t going to be simple light/dark side splits you can just as easily have a dark republican (read: Dick Cheney) as you can a light Sith player.

  21. Morte says:

    @Sanguine Lobster said “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.”

    Yep. That’s why I eventually stopped persevering with EVE, a game I originally hoped would be a bit like pen and paper RPGs in its freedom and creativity. It turned out that you have freedom and creativity to fight over turf, make deals, and cheat on them. There just isn’t much you can improvise in a computer game compared to what a group of people around a table can do in their imagination.

    “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.”

    But how do you have something like Planescape Torment in a MMO, where nobody is allowed to change the world enough to stop anybody else doing the quest fifteen seconds later? I’ve seen many solutions to this, mostly involving instancing (WoW, GW) or limiting what players can do to narratively simple stuff (EVE, Tabula Rasa). None of them seem satisfactory.

    Ultimately massively multiplayer persistent world gaming seems like a bad idea. TF2 and COD4 and L4D, those are good massively multiplayer gaming. But if this Star Wars MMO is going to be a Massively Singleplayer Online RPG with occasional grouping and a chat channel… …maybe it would be better to admit that. Make KotOR3 a singleplayer RPG, plus drop in co-op and chat channels and guilds and whatnot.

  22. Valentin Galea says:

    Post Grim Fandango Lucas Arts is non existent to me.

    I have implanted this chip in my brain that actually blocks any reception and storage of notion or memory of everything Star Wars milk-cow related!:)

  23. Neil says:

    Lightsaber battles will probably be handled the same way as martial arts in The Matrix Online. Hit a button and watch a few seconds of canned animations.

    The light/dark reminds me a bit of the good/evil separation in EQ2. Sounded interesting in concept, but in practice it was just annoying.

    At this point I’ve had all I can stomach of these games where the entire design revolves around killing the level 10 orcs so that you’re strong enough to beat the level 20 orcs. You can’t change anything in the game world except how powerful your character is, so that becomes the point of the game by default, which is why design and budget-wise, everything revolves around combat progression. It’s not a role playing game, it’s a glorified slaughterhouse, the only place where killing by the hundreds is boring and passe. Check in, do your time while you chat with your buds, collect your paycheck, check out.

    And don’t get me started on how tired I am of every MMO putting a new facade on “tank, healer, damage”. “Taunting” as a character role is such idiotic, unintuitive game design. So is watching life bars.

    How about making an MMO that employs varied interactions (not just collecting and killing) with a simulated, dynamic game world? Where the most meaningful rewards are not doing 0.5% more damage than you did before, but in seeing the effects of your actions on the course of the world?

    What passes for innovation in MMOs makes me ill.

  24. Myros says:

    What he said (Neil).

    MMO = been there done that (100)

    I really enjoyed the kotor games so I have some hope for this mmo, but based on what the devs have said so far it looks like the same old sheet. No MMO has a save game function wht would they continue to talk that up as if it was am innovative new feature? It’s like they dont realize there is a gaming world outside of kotor ;p

    Myros

  25. Erlam says:

    “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.”

    Despite all the story comments, all the ‘but it doesn’t LOOK like starwars,’ etc, I think the above will be the largest problem with the game.

    Look at the (real) star wars movies. In all three, lightsabers are used sparingly, and end fights fast. If you are going to include them, you have to do something like the above mentioned, which people (including myself) have asked for before.

    Lightsabers cut through anything – anything – thus having a wild swinging contest between two combatants won’t ever work. Starwars was largely about the Empire vs. the Rebellion, and how that happened. This is a Starwars game about the books, basically, which will significantly shrink the larger userbase. If you asked the average person who was between 20-40 what Starwars was about, how many of them would mention anything related to this game?

  26. MrMelons says:

    After KOTOR 2, where i pretty much had every decision i had made in KOTOR 1 and 2 dicked by some stupid witch who “sumed” it all up for me, i’ve been skeptical of a 3rd KOTOR. Am i going to hit high level beat the big bad and then be told im going off into deep space after that last 2 KOTOR heroes? But its okay my choices will determine whether im good or not when i do go out there and leave everything i worked for behind.

    Also i didn’t see any other classes other than jedi fighting in the preview. Now admittedly i haven’t been reading up on this game, but if jedi are the only playable character then im out. I LOVE jedi, but lets not forget the Fett, he just goes to show that you can be cool with the just guns and a will to kick some ass.

  27. MrMelons says:

    @Neil

    *CLAPCLAPCLAP* Bravo good man, just read your comment and i hope for that day to come as well. Just remember that the gaming industry isn’t about story anymore, that died when games moved on from 16bit when they needed a story for lack of graphics. Now everything just needs to be pretty and have achievements that make you feel like you have done something that day.

  28. tmp says:

    Lightsabers cut through anything – anything – thus having a wild swinging contest between two combatants won’t ever work.

    It did work in two KotOR games so far.

  29. Lu-Tze says:

    Taking all bets on ratio of Sith to Jedi. Current favourite is 10:1.

  30. Bobsy says:

    Anyone saying Eve doesn’t have story is a big pile of super-wrong I’m afraid. Eve’s story is player-driven, the constant gnashing of empires built and populated by players grinding up against each other.

    Put as simply as my Monday-brain can get it: a story does not have to have been written down first.

    There is hope for the future, a ludicrously over-ambitious hope at that. Infinity! Inf! In! Ih! Tee! But beyond that… eh.

    Frankly, I’m not holding much hope for TOR. I don’t want it to fail, because it would lose Bioware money, but at the same time I don’t particularly feel any urge to play it.

  31. myname says:

    They really need to take MMO’s out of the quest/kill grind – make the story and progression the player’s, not “the game’s”. That’s why skill based level systems are the way ahead.
    As someone above on this page said, let the players create the stories and the content, and then “lift” that to everybody’s attention.

  32. Larington says:

    Bearing in mind that recent 10 page piracy article, maybe the people saying this sounds like a single player RPG as an MMO are more correct than they realise – That its at least in part Bioware being forced to adopt an alternative business model in order to ensure the game gives a proper return on investment (In otherwords, so the game sells well enough that it doesn’t potentially kill the developer).

  33. Eamo says:

    Everytime I hear them say something like “we made choice so important, every choice you make impacts your character” I hear “we won’t allow you to respec and you will have to start over from level 1 if you want to change anything about your character”, choice that limits your options is not fun in an MMO.

    As for people claiming EVE has story solved, for your first month playing EVE you won’t encounter any story whatsoever. The fact that you can capture regions of space and develop your own corporations isn’t story, it is game mechanics.

    In the EVE universe things change but that isn’t really a story. It is just the passing of time. I am sure a few players could recite the history of big corporations and alliances in EVE but it is not a story. It is just history. Without narrative arcs, without plot twists, without character development it isn’t a story, just a sequence of events.

  34. Bobsy says:

    History is a story. It is THE story.

    (I took a history degree. Can you tell?)

  35. jon says:

    But can I be a Han Solo style smuggler and have a pet Wookie?

  36. bazzy says:

    Also i didn’t see any other classes other than jedi fighting in the preview. Now admittedly i haven’t been reading up on this game, but if jedi are the only playable character then im out. I LOVE jedi, but lets not forget the Fett, he just goes to show that you can be cool with the just guns and a will to kick some ass.

    This is why I don’t think such a game will ever work (for me, at least). To truly capture the star wars feel, you need to have the option of being a Jedi and facing overwhelming odds (waves of stormtroopers/clone warriors/etc), if EVERYONE is a Sith/Jedi then they’re no longer special, everyone may as well be an Ewok, you’re all equally matched.

    The only way this could work is if you could somehow incentivise people to play as the cannon fodder, but how do you do that? Give them awesome equipment/phat loots and you’ll soon be back to square 1. You could perhaps have people play two distinct characters and allow them to build up time (ten hours as a bog standard trooper buys you an hour with your Jedi), this theoretically would mean the ratio of Jedi to everyone else is 10:1, but how do you ensure the 10 hours is productive and not just the PC running overnight, or that your Jedi time doesn’t run out during an important quest, etc. I just can’t see a way to make it work, unless we pay everyone in China WoW gold to play as grunts… hmm…

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