Wot No Jawas? The Old Republic In-Game

By Alec Meer on March 11th, 2011 at 5:15 pm.

wait, there are lightsabers?

A few moments ago, in a convention hall reasonably far away, Bioware unleashed a super-shiny new trailer packed with in-game footage of their upcoming Star Wars MMO: The Old Republic.

It looks improbably glossy and exciting. Can the game itself possibly live up to such visual promise? Well, depends to some extent whether your PC can run that much anti-aliasing.

There it is then. A whole lot going on in there, but the bits that most sang to me was the glimpse of Hoth (or somewhere suspiciously similar) and an HK-47esque chap. That murderbot is surely one of Bioware’s finest moments.

Hopefully, hopefully, we’ll get to experience SWTOR first-hand sometime soon. Get in touch eh, EA?

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79 Comments »

  1. Onyze says:

    Yay for Jennifer Hale! Not so yay for autoplay.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Auto-play should be illegal and punishable by one thousand kicks to the groin.

  2. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Some of it looks promising. but i have a bad feeling that most of the combat will look more like the combat at 1:28 rather than the combat at the 50 second mark

    • cliffski says:

      I couldn’t agree more. And frankly, for a zillion dollar AAA game, I thought it looked laughably poor, comapred to games like Battlefield.

    • Outsider says:

      Agreed. Also, just personally for me, the Star Wars universe has been played out a bit too much. I’m going to be waiting exculsively for GW2, I think.

    • Sarlix says:

      The combat looked a lot like the ground combat from Star Trek Online. Ha!

    • stahlwerk says:

      gaaah! cliffski! Now I weep for a Dark Forces game made in Frostbite 2.

      Edit: And let me explicitly stress that I mean DF, not Jedi Knight. Adding force powers and light sabers to the game always struck me as the messy kind of fan service. I’d rather play a rebel/imperial trooper/kyle-katarn-type-of-guy.

  3. vodkarn says:

    Yeah I have to admit feeling rather underwhelmed. I’m not even sure why, I just saw it and immediately forgot it, basically.

    I, err, like the art?

  4. bleeters says:

    Still waiting on a sith character that concludes their battle plan by announcing “…then we win, and take the week off”. It’s always about the completion of failure with those guys.

  5. Zyrusticae says:

    Looks like they’re going the Star Trek route of only allowing very human-like “alien” races.

    This turns me off considerably. No Trando, no buy!

    • Wulf says:

      Oooh, the Trandoshans! I’d completely forgot about them. Yeah, if they’d had those I might have been a little bit tempted. But then I’d just remember the gameplay-style (30 butans!) and tell myself, quite firmly, ‘no.’ I had to do the same thing with Cataclysm and the Worgen.

      But that’s okay, because for the right now I have Champions Online, which seems to have gone content crazy since around F2P, and soon… soon I will have Guild Wars 2. I get Charr and a manageable amount of skills combined with a game that focuses on situational awareness and watching the game rather than the skillbar (a lot like CO and its onomatopoeia). But I also get dynamic events.

      Wheeeee.

      So yeah, so very not interested. The Trandoshan Option might’ve got a quirked eyebrow, but it’s clear that they’re designing this game up for the number-jugglers, not the people who actually enjoy looking at their game. The characters don’t actually have to look decent if people are looking at their skill bars rather than at the game. (And the footage I linked below proves that. I’m sorry but the models look horrible, and I want to maul whomever was responsible for the facial animations.)

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I agree completely. Just the other day in fact I was checking out the playable races and was extremely disappointed. SWG had a lot better races and that game is ancient. I’m extremely disappointed in Bioware. The crappy combat and typical WoW style mechanics were bad enough, this is the nail in the coffin.

      Another thing I hate about this game is that everything is divided in two factions. Want to be a bounty hunter or smuggler who works for whoever pays the most? Well too bad, pick a side.

  6. Coriform says:

    That looks incredibly stupid.

  7. mkultra says:

    Fail, incoming.

  8. Theoban says:

    I’m not fussed, it doesn’t look great, another mmo, whatever…

    WAIT THEY PRONOUNCED ‘WRATH’ CORRECTLY

    Instabuy

  9. Wulf says:

    Hm. They left the UI out of that. Annnd… well…

    This is a far better representation.

    I also saw in alpha footage that you can have extra bars, bars with 10 slots, above the main bar. So you can have up to 30 or so skills to watch at once.

    I can never play a game like that again. Eight was enough for Guild Wars, 10 is enough in Champions Online, and 10 is enough for Guild Wars 2. I want to be watching a game, not a UI.

    • Tuskin38 says:

      That video is from 2009, who knows what has changed since then.

    • Wulf says:

      Looking at snatches of the video above when paused? Not a lot. It’s just that they cut so fast that they try to obscure things. If they were to release long bits of current gameplay footage, then I’d be more believing. But these compilations of cutscene clips feel incredibly cynical to me, like they’ve got nothing that they’re proud of showing off.

      Guild Wars 2 is getting ready for yet another public demo. A bunch of media outlets have new in-game footage. ArenaNet isn’t afraid to show off their baby because they’re proud of it. Bioware? Less so. I think the lack of current in-game footage is telling.

  10. Tei says:

    The only science fiction universe that could probably work as a MMORPG is Dune. Dune has a lot of factions and lore, that is fantastic for a MMORPG, and most combat is melee, with some soft powers added.
    There are fans of Dune everywhere. We are like a secret govern, we are waiting for a signal to rebel all at once and take power. I hope one of us can infultrate into Bioware, and place some seeds,… This video would have been ten million betters adding “the golden path” in the beginning, to describe the years of peace before the sith come to attack.
    Also, autoplay is pure evil. It breaks one of the rules of the internet. RPS is not adding [NSFW] in the title thread, to avoid unnecesary discussions, but should. Bioware is *not* helping the people that may have been watching this videos from work.

    Postadata:
    Dune has *everything*, theres even a human/feline hybrid race, made by the Teilaxu.
    http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Futar

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Why would you want to have a downhill-going Bioware make the Dune MMO ? It’s all about CCP mate. Only they could do proper justice to such piece of art, as they don’t fear to kick the usual MMO mumbo jumbo in the crotch.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      CCP made Dune MMO? I’m in.

      Dune has been criminally under represented in the game world. Two games from possibly the best Sci fi saga ever written?

    • Ricotta says:

      Wayne, last I checked bio-ware hasn’t been on a downward trend. With Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2, I seriously doubt it could be any further from the truth, those games are huge. Now if you’re talking game-play, I can’t change your opinion I suppose….

      As for a Dune MMO, it would be extremely fun but there isn’t really a collection of outside resources for dune like there is for Star Wars. Star Wars has literally hundreds of books from different authors extending the universe. It’s a very robust pot of story to pull things from, whereas Dune only has the core Herbert books and a couple spin offs. Not to mention the lacking popularity from older Dune movies. Star Wars was such a huge movie for the time, Dune not so much.

    • kyrieee says:

      Kull wahad!

    • Harkkum says:

      The fuzzy feeling of gathering some more spice on Dune 2000…not that I had even heard that there was a book called Dune back then me being the half illiterate hillbilly Finn.

    • BurningPet says:

      NEVER, and i mean, NEVER, let bioware touch our dune. bethseda is fine by me.

    • ColOfNature says:

      If they made a Dune MMO they’d be forced to use the execrable KJA/Brian Herbert pre/sequels. *shudder*

    • Noumenon says:

      I just went to abandonia.com last week and downloaded the Dune game I played in 1995 where you ride the sand worms and fly around in your ornithopter. It’s still really fun.

  11. Anthile says:

    This is not the MMO I was looking for.

  12. WombatDeath says:

    I’m looking forward to it, however uninspiring the visuals might be. I generally enjoy Bioware’s story-telling, of which I gather there is much in this game, and if this is anything vaguely like a multi-player KotOR I will be a happy wombat (not in the game, obviously. I will be an angsty wombat Sith in the game).

  13. sakmidrai says:

    I liked the Secret World trailer a lot more…

  14. Chalky says:

    I’m not sure I would call a whole load of cut scenes “in game” footage.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Haha, seriously. Do 30 two-second clips all mashed together make 1 minute of in game footage these days?

  15. Riotpoll says:

    Distinctly unimpressive.

  16. Grape Flavor says:

    I would have killed for a proper, single-player KOTOR 3. You bastards. I will never forgive this.

    Apparently they had it all planned out and everything: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars:_Knights_of_the_Old_Republic_3

  17. Carra says:

    No John Williams theme?

    And I still believe that everyone and their cat will want to have a lightsaber.

  18. Chesterton says:

    Looks great, I will be trying it out. Sometimes the comments at RPS disappoint me greatly. This is one of those days.

    I don’t understand where or why all the hate is necessary.

    • Wulf says:

      Because it looks like the game has no soul or character of its own? People will dislike things that they think are overly cynical to the point of being patronising, and that’s what TOR feels like to me. Apparently I’m not alone in feeling that.

  19. karry says:

    “Can the game itself possibly live up to such visual promise?”

    I’m more interested if it will be more like actual STAR WARS, you know, with guns that are actually useful, with glorious space battles, where number of swords per capita everywhere in the universe is lower than three, where lightsabers are more than fucking glowing sticks. Or will it be the same kind of trashy pseudo “STAR WARS setting” as in KOTOR. Oh, what am i saying, its Bioware, of course its the same as KOTOR, silly me.

  20. ran93r says:

    I’m not as excited about this as I once was but screw it, will still give it a go.

  21. Hoaxfish says:

    Everything I see about this game just makes my “meh, no thanks” opinion stronger.

    Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Spiral Knights, etc… seem to manage a. to show their gameplay in an interesting way, and b. to show innovation that’s actually interesting to me.

    Mind you, I don’t really care about Star Wars, and I only really got BG2 because there wasn’t a sequel to Planescape: Torment available (yes, I’m still in the camp that thinks PS:T is better than BG2).

    • Wulf says:

      There’s a camp that thinks that BG2 is a better game than PS:T?

      …honestly?

      What part? The number crunching gameplay mechanics?

      I’m baffled by this. I thought that there was a wide consensus that PS:T was so much the better game that BG2 paled by comparison. Much like the consensus regarding Oblivion versus Morrowind. With the more exotic game winning out in both instances.

    • sebmojo says:

      PS:T is generally accepted as the cult hit of RPGs, BG2 is the all-consuming supernova. I think you’re being a bit disingenuous.

  22. McDan says:

    I saw jawas…

    • Jake says:

      Oh sorry, I’ve had these shorts since 1982. They did have an underpant lining, but it’s perished.

  23. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Cutscenes are The Future of MMOs.

  24. Zogtee says:

    Visual promise? Really, RPS?

  25. Teddy Leach says:

    I’ve heard far too much Star Wars music in my life. It just grates at my soul now.

  26. Red_Avatar says:

    Didn’t Bioware already make an MMO? Respawning enemies in combat, spamming spells and abilities, a crappy story, lots and lots of walking around the same area doing silly errant quests … oh wait, no, that was Dragon Age 2

  27. dethgar says:

    It’s the influx of new people. The masses tend to be stupid and narrow minded.

  28. Mark says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that the graphics are rather, well, plain. It’s probably them just trying to keep the system requirements as low as possible. Problem is, whether this game will be any good is so dependent on how the quests work and how the writing is, and they didn’t show that in the trailer.

    All they showed was a lot of boring combat and familiar faces in familiar locales, catering to that familiar nostalgia. And that’s the most worrying part.

    • Wulf says:

      I can’t agree with that. I mean… surely they could’ve managed to make the graphics as good as the original source engine? The one that was used in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines?

      I’m talking about graphics from 2004 here. Can’t they handle that?

      Time for visual aids! Here’s a video of old smilin’ St–Jack from Bloodlines. The facial animations make TOR look like it’s outdated, ancient tech. The detail present on the face does that as well. Again, this is ’04. The lack of detail is giving me flashbacks of ’00-’02.

      I’m not exaggerating, either. Look at games from that period and they’ll look a lot like the character animations from TOR. The world was a dark place before Source when it comes to facial animations, and this game looks like it’s from a pre-Source world.

  29. Igor Hardy says:

    Looks utterly boring. And the intensely discussed lack of Jews is a fatal flaw.

    • Deccan says:

      The Autocorrect Strikes Back?

    • Vagrant Zero says:

      Jawas were there. For a split second (a Sith Lord punted them off screen).

      No Jews though.

  30. Daiv says:

    UUTIINI

  31. BurningPet says:

    I dont get it. its the second, maybe even third time RPS post about this game with a really positive response to a trailer that is nothing but a poor scripted combats that doesnt even look good.. what am i missing here?

  32. ElElegante says:

    Why are there Stormtroopers in the Old Republic? Those don’t exist until the Clone Wars. Is my Star-Wars-Fu weak? Do my eyes deceive me? Is there an explanation?

    • sebmojo says:

      Because ‘Star Wars’ is a finite set of pulp ideas, mushed up into an appetizing goo. One of those ideas is the faceless army of adversaries who may be killed without conscience.

  33. Saul says:

    Double post.

  34. Metonymy says:

    These comments are pretty brutal. I’m willing to believe that there’s some kind of framerate issue or synch issue that’s causing the ugliness in this trailer.

    I’m also a little surprised that after 5 years of WoW, you don’t realize there’s really only a handful of things you can do with an MMO game. It’s going to be a lot of simplistic stuff to start. If it’s well conceived and implemented, it will grow and improve.

    Let me be clear, WoW had a brilliant initial design, due to the possibilities fantasy offered. And, Blizzard managed to improve it for several years before they finally they finally ran out of new things to add, and began to smear existing mechanics around, like finger-painters. Whether this game is a big event is going to be based entirely on whether the early gameplay elements make you excited to play your class or not.

  35. matrices says:

    Maybe RPS uses a 5-year-old video card, but the trailer’s graphics are far from “exciting.”

    They look like KOTOR 1 with antialiasing and a little more detail. And I’m not exaggerating because that’s precisely what I played (and how I played it) just two months back.

  36. jti says:

    When are those sound actors going to start to act? I’ve listened to audiobooks with a single reader doing better with ALL the characters than any of these game characters.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s why I linked the video that I did. Having 600 novels in a game (or whatever Bioware are saying now) doesn’t matter if all the novels are a bit shit. The voice-acting sounds either disinterested or forced, and the facial animations are either absent (and completely lacking in emotion, inviting the Uncanny Valley) or overdone, there exists no happy medium between the two in all the footage I’ve seen.

      And the story seems really dull, with the simple moralistic choices I thought Bioware had moved past with Mass Effect 1. ‘Kill the Captain or not,’ which only matters to your own personal instance. I’m honestly not impressed.

      I’m not impressed because ArenaNet is doing better than them on every front with the same sort of game. The sound clips they’ve released and the Races of Tyria video prove that their voice acting talent is amazing (they’ve got Steve Blum and Felicia Day!). And choices in Guild Wars 2 can actually result in unlocked dynamic events which all players can play, so something you do might actually have an effect on the world that other players will see and interact with.

      When Bioware are failing so incredibly badly at their major selling poiint, in a game that’s cost millions to make versus ArenaNet’s far more limited budget… well, stick a fork in them, they really are done.

  37. Olivaw says:

    Reading the comments for this article makes me shake my head and frown at the lot of you.

    After all my previous experience with MMOs and the rise of free-to-play, this game is the only game I’d ever consider paying a monthly fee for anymore.

    This game looks incredibly promising and you better believe I will be playing it on launch day, come hell or high water.

  38. Wilson says:

    I think the graphics look nice, and it’s pleasant when people are just wandering around, but I thought the combat animations looked naff. I assume that’s because it’s an MMO not an action game, but I don’t think I’d want to play a Star Wars game where the combat looks like a few random guys knocking each other around in a silly exaggerated fashion. I’m not a fan of MMOs though, so in part I’m disappointed that this isn’t a singleplayer game.

  39. sebmojo says:

    I hate being Negative Nelly, but I think it looks dreadful and that Star Wars is a defunct setting. Poor Bioware.

  40. Masked Dave says:

    The combat and engine look exactly like KOTOR, but a few years on. Why exactly does this surprise people?

    And those games were both brilliant.

    • Wulf says:

      Because it’s been many years since KOTOR and it could look a hell of a lot better whilst still being able to run on low-end machines? That the fact that it looks bad is mostly due to horrible art direction (and possibly lazy asset creation)?

      See: Guild Wars 2. A game that’s sure to run just as well as this will (if not better, as ArenaNet are masters of optimisation) whilst looking a million times better, and that better won’t be coming entirely from the engine, either, considering that ArenaNet is almost an art studio.

      I don’t know. I just don’t feel the need to play a game that’s that cynical with its art direction. It feels completely bereft of effort. I won’t say soulless, but it comes pretty close to that I feel.

  41. Postal76 says:

    The game looks terrible. It looks outdated by a couple years and has a ridiculous cartoon-like art direction.

    Also, I don’t care about the crap Bioware comes up with in the SWTOR universe. JUST MAKE AN MMO BASED SOLELY ON ‘THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.’

  42. cfp says:

    Much more informative new gameplay video here:

    http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/taral-v-developer-walkthrough

    Looks reasonably fun, though the Consular’s skills are all kind of odd.

    • Wulf says:

      Hey, wow, thanks! That actually proves that what I was saying about multiple bars of 10 buttons is true. I knew I saw that in alpha and that I wasn’t going crazy. This is much more a game about watching and playing the UI than watching and playing the game. Shame. It could’ve been so much more in the hands of the right developer.

  43. PearlChoco says:

    No thanks.
    I”l wait for Dark Millenium Online.

  44. Ezhar says:

    What’s wrong with the font?