The New Old Republic: Coruscant

By Jim Rossignol on October 10th, 2009 at 11:01 am.


The time when I get really envious of game developers is usually when they get down to the full sweep of world building. In this latest video Bioware talk about the making of the city-planet of Coruscant in The Old Republic, and explain how they’ve had to build a planet entirely without terrain – a purely urban setting, miles deep – while also getting across a spectrum of political power and corruption via the gradation of environments through layers of the capital of the Republic. Ooh, there’s also some boasting! This is an unprecedented city environment, they claim, with the kind of infrastructure that would be required for a sort of endless Manhattan, which dwarfs any city environments in other games. From the shiny surface mega-structures of the senate and the spaceport, down to the endless dereliction of the lower levels. It’s a kind of architectural encyclopedia of Star Warsian styles all on its own. And what is going on with Robert Chestney’s t-shirt? Ah, the many mysteries of Star Wars…

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61 Comments »

  1. Schmung says:

    Hey there X we need some footage of you working on something for this developer.
    Oh, no problem, I’ll just move my stylus around on this massive tablet and hope that no one notices that the photoshop image I’m working on is already entirely collapsed and that I’m not actually doing anything to it.

    • the wiseass says:

      That irked me too and of course the fact, they don’t work on CintiQs.
      Poor Guys, harsh work conditions only one layer allowed… at a time.

    • Kadayi says:

      CintiQ, seriously? The thing you don’t want when your busting your balls is to have a goddamn monitor sat on your lap all day killing your sperm count.
      I’ll take a Wacom 4 over a CintiQ any day of the week.
      Plus the colour contrast ratio on them isn't that great Vs a decent WS monitor

      Yes You’re right, I’m deliciously evil

  2. duel says:

    in some ways the city looks impressive, but then there’s loads of restricted little platforms that you know is going to be the only explorable area. It just looks icky :P

  3. Larington says:

    One of my mates in uni yesterday had a T-Shirt that read:

    In case of emergency:
    BREAK DANCE

    Just thought you should know.

  4. Scalene says:

    Screw Corsuscant.

    I wanna roam across the desert of Tatooine. Hell, I’d buy The Old Republic, in the hopes someone makes an RP server, just so I can hang on Tatooine.

    Because Tatooine is AWESOME.

    • Scalene says:

      Also, can I just say:

      “Massive variation in enviroment?”

      Shades of grey are NOT variation, Mr. Game Developers.

    • lumpi says:

      Oh, be fair!

      This might be the first game in a while that doesn’t rely on shades of gray for looks. I guess the disco-rific WoW style might have had its influence, but look at all the different colors used for buildings, lighting. It’s far more colorful than the movie version. Which is a good thing.

  5. sfury says:

    Sewers again.

    Oh, great.

  6. bubba kush says:

    anyone else see the jawa run past in the office at 220 or have i just smoked too much purply purps?

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Couldn’t see it, was it behind the orange sandcrawler crossing the screen?

  7. Darkelp says:

    I agree with Tatooine, it kicks ass!

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    That actually looks pretty great.

  9. Frosty says:

    When will they release the other bleeding class details?!

  10. Garg says:

    I’m all hyped up over this after re-playing KotOR 2 with the new restoration project. It’s just a shame it doesn’t have any input from the Obsidian team, as I thought that KotOR 2 had the better story of the two.

  11. Pedro says:

    “What does the sewers look like?”

    You know I really dont care, its just a damn movie / imagined universe. There are other more important things to focus on like deepth of story. Not that BioWare aint good at that, but hey – imagine how much more you could do if you didnt focus so much on OMG gfx! Seems to be a major problem these days.
    Because we all now half the actual content is gonna be cut once the directors close the wallet right? Right?

    • Gutter says:

      Yes, because 3D modelers are usually the one who write stories as well!

      Why, I remember when Bioware advertised for a “3D Modeler / Successful writer”

  12. Lacero says:

    It looks great, but didn’t we have the same thing with Taris in KotOR? That had sewers too.

    It’s making me pine for a necromunda computer game but with better rules.

    • Fenchurch says:

      I once planned to make a Necromunda mod for UT2004. Having only the most rudimentary art/3D skills, me and my friends quickly lost interest in the idea. x-D

  13. DMJ says:

    It’s probably indicative of something that the only way to interest me in Star Wars these days is to distance the entire project from the movies by 4,000 years.

  14. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Chestney seemed to get really emotional there, when describing Coruscant as the galaxy’s big hope for democracy!

  15. Legionary says:

    Their major difficulty, I think, is going to be representing certain worlds without simply repeating settings from KOTOR and its sequel. Taris is, as you say, almost entirely city (though not quite, it did have a ‘ground-level’ section. If they don’t make Coruscant unique then there’ll be a feeling of deja vue; BioWare are good at creating worlds, but I do have concerns over whether TOR will feel stale – KOTOR3 would be a letdown.

    • Lacero says:

      Isn’t this a new team in Austin? If so they would be reinventing the same things rather than repeating them, which seems an even more boring possibility.

  16. JohnBoy says:

    The t-shirt is meant to look like Mandalorian armour. They were given to attendees of a Bioware/EA internal meeting, delightfully named “The Jedi Council”.

  17. visi says:

    0:45 – He looks like Wash from Firefly. That would be fitting…

  18. elias says:

    Don’t get your hopes up for much more explorable space than the Citadel in Mass Effect…

    • Quests says:

      I expect something as big as 10 typical WoW zones, thousands of walkable streets, being able to enter in every skyscraper, and something like 200 night clubs.

    • DSX says:

      That’s my fear as well, amazing set pieces and backdrops against what turns out to be a very narrow, shallow corridor. True freedom of movement in a sprawling SW metropolis would be worth the price of admission alone.

    • Stupoider says:

      Those are some big expectations, Quest. I can only see those small, enclosed platforms being the areas which you can explore. The rest is just background.
      I’ll be happy if they manage to pull something larger than that off, though!

    • Sonic Goo says:

      I’d be happy if I could jump in a flying car and join in that traffic jam in the sky.

  19. Girth says:

    Thank you Gutter, thank you… I’m not sure, and probably dont want to know, how many times someone has asked me why “[x] put out all these new weapon models, but no new levels or game modes!”

    Seriously, I think people have this idea that dev studios are 1000 people who all do every job at any given time.

  20. DontMakeMeThink says:

    This video applet sucks arse. How the hell am I supposed to tell how much is buffered when the indicator is that long and there’s no progress sub meter?

    • CMaster says:

      Annoys me more that it autoplays every time the page is loaded. So it started playing again when I clicked “reply” for example.

  21. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I’d be curious to see how they balance exploring an entire city-planet (planet-city?) with creating enough content to fill a city-planet. I always thought Trantor was fascinating. …er Coruscant. Yes.

  22. captain fitz says:

    I had Beneath a Steal Sky flashbacks every time it showed the indoor environments.

  23. Kadayi says:

    I like how a planet completely covered in structure still manages to have clouds.

  24. Poet says:

    They can keep building cities till the stars fall from the skies but until they can figure out how to make them more then just a Hollywood set they will remain an illusion that only the dreamers call home.

  25. kafka7 says:

    they’ve had to build a planet entirely without terrain – a purely urban setting, miles deep –

    Have you been to Birmingham recently?

  26. Deuteronomy says:

    Fuck this shit. I want to see Trantor.

    • klumhru says:

      Isn’t Trantor the city planet in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation seriies? The one that Coruscant is a complete rip off off?

    • Peace of Eight says:

      That’s the one.

      To be fair, everything in SW is a rip-off of fifties and sixties sci-fi novels. That’s what Lucas does; he’s the JKRowling of scifi.

      They’re also both filthy rich, so take my standing-on-hind-legs criticism for what it’s worth. =)

  27. pilouuuu says:

    It just makes it more sad that this is a MMO instead of a proper RPG.

  28. Trithemius says:

    Space-New-York (completed with gang-warfare-ruled areas) is the greatest symbol of hope for democracy in the galaxy? With it’s literal economic hierarchies, and the rich and powerful literally crushing down on top of the poor and powerless?

    New Crobuzon seems more friendly than Coruscant!

    Did the designers miss the fact that Trantor, on which Coruscant is obviously based (see people above) fails horribly?

    Gahhhh!

  29. Socks says:

    Probably the same way it still has a breathable atmosphere and water supply. Best not to think into it too much.

  30. klumhru says:

    Much as I really enjoyed KOTOR and it’s buggy sequel, I can’t say the same for this game, sadly. From what I’ve seen of the combat it look very generic. All the backdrops in the world won’t make a game if the gameplay is crap.

    I really do hope this game works out, mind, I just don’t see how it can…

    P.S. I don’t think that player is the default RPS player or in any way related to RPS, but just on the odd chance it is, please turn off the autoplay in the future ;)

    • Premium User Badge

      luminosity says:

      I really don’t see how you think it’s any worse than what was in KOTOR 1/2, and I say that playing 2 through again right now. It’s turn based combat where each turn you get to choose to use a special ability/attack. the only way a WOW-esque semi-turn based cooldown / global cooldown system would be any different is you can’t pause combat any more.

  31. Monkeybreadman says:

    Holy shit! It’s an intergalactic bad shirt conspiracy!

    Eric’s collarless blue shirt buttoned all the way up, with the beard makes him look like a nazi monk

    Rob’s shirt is a walking talking abomination, a crime against all that is good and holy

    Clint’s brown effort is the least worst, but its still brown

    And Robby, the cool guy in the office, his black ear ring, his neck band thing. He’s wearing a shirt a 16 year old would wear to some crappy club. Terrible

  32. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Looks sweet but I wonder if Bioware are just setting themselves up for a fall with all of this hype.

  33. Trithemius says:

    @ Socks

    “A (space) wizard did it!”

  34. Thingus says:

    You have no idea how hard I’m fighting the SW fanboy urge to explain how Coruscant’s weather system worked in the books. It involves mirrors…IN SPACE.

    • Frosty says:

      Do not go on the official forums and look at the massive fight that has started over why Coruscant has not died of global warming. A fight of BS Star Wars science and those claiming global warming is a myth. Sigh.

  35. moshegy says:

    I wonder if my lack of interest in this means I’ve outgrown Starwars or Bioware.

  36. Noumenon says:

    What was that about “the socializers can hang out up by the airport, the explorers can go down in the tunnels”? Is he saying you could have an enjoyable experience just talking to people coming and going? Is that something supported by gameplay, or is he saying there are people who really play games just to hang out and talk to the NPCs by clicking X?

    • ET says:

      Actually, there are! One of them here, anyway.

      This doesn’t look very exciting to me, though. I’m a settings person, and their view of how Coruscant works…….is kind of been there, done that.

  37. Major Goose says:

    If there’s one thing this game has going for it…. The trailer just made me go buy a chewbacca t-shirt…

    Multiple shades of brown awesomeness!!

    http://www.80stees.com/products/Chebacca-Costume-Star-Wars-T-shirt.asp

  38. Nalano says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Space-New-York (completed with gang-warfare-ruled areas) is the greatest symbol of hope for democracy in the galaxy? With its literal economic hierarchies, and the rich and powerful literally crushing down on top of the poor and powerless?
    New Crobuzon seems more friendly than Coruscant!
    Did the designers miss the fact that Trantor, on which Coruscant is obviously based (see people above) fails horribly?
    Gahhhh!

    The problem is Star Wars is a space opera, and trying to tack on anything more complex and nuanced a world or system onto it turns that complex and nuanced system into a ham-handed social parable so obvious it makes children's books look subtle.
    Star Wars is not a particularly strong platform for exploring cities. It will never depict a city so vibrant as Blade Runner's Los Angeles or Ghost in the Shell's Tokyo. It cannot explore the duality of man or ask the nature of society.
    What it has offered and what it will offer is a midwestern American suburbanite's impression of Manhattan: The comic book Metropolis or Gotham, depending on whether it's a "good" or a "bad" urban form, with less depth of character than the DC universe's Metropolis and Gotham have engendered, because such images might spoil it for the family.
    That's what I expect to see from it here. Difference will be depicted as a plethora of alien lifeforms that are crafted to be as visually weird as possible, but who are then pigeon-holed into Planet of Hats or worse, without division. A bar will service everybody equally, and everybody will go to the bar. It doesn't matter what species, ethnicity, gender or economic strata the merchant is; his background is flavor only and will act exactly like any other merchant.
    Diversity will be implied only in looks; conformity is the reality. It's picture perfect. It is so unreal as to become unbelievable.

    Anonymous Coward said:
    What was that about "the socializers can hang out up by the airport, the explorers can go down in the tunnels"? Is he saying you could have an enjoyable experience just talking to people coming and going? Is that something supported by gameplay, or is he saying there are people who really play games just to hang out and talk to the NPCs by clicking X?

    Remember every single other RPG in existence where if you clicked random people they'd have a stock phrase to say, or they'd be caught in a stock argument forever as flavor for the area, or they'd all allude to some local event that you're supposed to be the cause/protagonist/savior of?
    Like that. Except this time they hope you'll actually remember some of those stock lines.

  39. Noumenon says:

    I don’t think of that as “socializing,” though, I think of it as, I dunno, like reading the flavor text on a Magic card, or exploring for clues. The only RPG experience I’ve had that I would categorize as “socializing” was in Dragon Quest VIII is when I would actually want to go talk to the princess and see how she felt about things. I ended up with kind of a crush on her… kind of a unique experience.

  40. Alex says:

    Wow…I think that looks really great !