Monday, 1 June 2009

EA's E3 Press Conference

EA's E3 press conference just concluded.

Near the start of it Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk came on stage talking a bit about Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2, showing videos for both. And while that was very cool (I'm much looking forward to both games), no Star Wars: The Old Republic. Instead I get bored with sport games for half the show. There were a few other games after that (The Saboteur looks interesting though I'm not sure if I can get into the main character), but beyond that...

...there suddenly sounded loud Star Wars music (which, silly ol' me I didn't even recognize at first). Then a lot of guys in Jedi and Sith outfits (hooded robes and all), wielding lightsabers (I'm sure it was the plastic kind, but still) came on stage and then there were the two central persons who revealed themselves to be Ray Muzyka and Darrell Rodriguez from LucasArts.

Ah, so we are getting some Star Wars: The Old Republic after all. (Here's the section with only the SW:TOR bit)

And indeed we did. They talked a bit about it, most of it already long-known (story centric, fourth pillar, great cooperation between BioWare and LucasArts, every class a unique story and experience, etc). But one definitely new thing is that the entire game (as in every single character) will be fully voiced. Ray commented that this may be one of the largest voice-over projects ever.

And then they had another great surprise... a very cool looking pre-rendered cinematic. It was definitely showing things from the Sith perspective, a Sith Lord of some kind accompanied by a twi'lek woman (with what later turned out to be blasters... so I'm thinking the Empire mirror to the Republic's Smuggler) walk towards what looked like some Jedi temple, with the Sith Lord taking out characters left and right. There was a brief glimpse of a Bounty Hunter, clearly working with the Sith, and they encountered a bunch of Jedi in the temple. More Sith warriors showed up and it turned into an epic clash, at the end of which the Sith Lord killed the Jedi. "You were deceived, and now your republic shall fall."

Looked stunning. And I've been trying to find a link to the press conference or the video in question, but right now the official Star Wars: The Old Republic is down (for "scheduled maintenance", which could be to upload the movie or such, but it wouldn't surprise me if the site is being pounded right now).

Actually, as I'm writing this there seems to be something back... but the site is incredibly slow. They've got "The Holonet" up (though not sure yet what that is... I think that's the devtracker) and the new item shows a "Deceived" cinematic trailer, which I'm absolutely positive is the movie I just described above.

In the meantime I'll just link first to this exclusive Q&A on The Smuggler class at GameSpot, which I found as I was looking for news on the press conference. Here's an excerpt:
Dallas Dickinson: We are showing a lot of "MMO Firsts" at E3, the biggest of which is the fact that we are the first-ever fully voiced MMO (both players and non-player characters have full voice throughout the game). This is one of the largest voice-over projects in the history of games--we're taking storytelling in MMOs to the next level, with real cinematic conversation. We're also giving the first in-game look at a couple of classes (the bounty hunter and the smuggler) and a few planets (Hutta and Ord Mantell). The smuggler class utilizes a dynamic cover system in combat, which is also a first for the MMO space. Finally, we're going to show one of our "flashpoints" to demonstrate the amount of real-player choice that we offer in The Old Republic.

GS: We're pleased to be able to reveal the smuggler class in this E3 story. Give us an overview of this profession.

DD: The smuggler class is meant to evoke the Han Solo fantasy. The story, appearance, character, and the way the class plays in combat are all based on Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and other great smugglers of the Star Wars universe. As a smuggler, you'll need to get by on quick thinking, charm, luck, and your ability to outsmart others. Instead of being a heavily armed tough guy (like the trooper), the smuggler has to be one step ahead of his opponents in combat, which is why we have implemented a "cover" system for the class. To succeed, the smuggler has to stun opponents, shoot from around corners, and, yes, shoot first.
Sounds interesting. If the fourth class (if there even is one) on each side isn't interesting then this might be my third character (as I'm definitely playing Sith and Jedi first).

Still not getting through to the official site. But my wonderful love just pointed me to for the video. So get it there in the meantime. And if you do manage to get through to the site then the video is supposed to be here.

Will post more news when I get it (after I get some sleep).


Ok, not quite sleep yet. In the meantime, while the site is still dreadfully slow, it did manage to load the holonet news post. This is what it had to say:
Finding information about Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ just got a lot easier. We’re introducing the HoloNet— the galaxy-spanning data network in the game which is also now partially accessible to you here on the website. The HoloNet contains detailed records on classes, planets, factions, and a timeline of Old Republic History. Check back often to learn the latest updates on the game’s features and to start planning how your Star Wars™ saga will play out.

Access the HoloNet now!
So not the dev tracker, but an ingame and out-of-game information source keeping track of all their lore and game information. Neat. Can't wait to see it in action (tomorrow).

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