Thursday, 13 May 2010

More UK Press Event

As noted in the previous post this week saw an EA press event in London where BioWare showed off The Old Republic to the press. And today the embargo on releasing articles lifted. So here's a few more of those articles (which I'll add to the original post as well).

First there is an interview with Daniel Erickson over at Strategy Informer. It talks about how far the game is, some of the choices they've made for it and about its scope. Here's an excerpt talking about the release date:
Strategy Informer: Not to foreshadow anything, but how much Leeway will you have should you think you'll need more time?

Daniel Erickson: What we do is we do reviews fairly early on, like there's a reason we didn't announce a release date for a while. We also don't mention features until we're pretty sure they will be in the game. We didn't announce that Spring release date until we were sure we could hit that date. You're probably not surprised that it wasn't the first release date we thought it might be. That said, Bioware is committed to shipping quality, and there's a reason our games have come out like they have. We got a lot of support from both sides, [Ed: Publishers & Developers, I'm guessing here] as really there's no sense in spending that much time and money, and then shipping it wrong. The truth everyone knows about MMO's is that you get one ship, and that's it. You can fix anything you want afterwards, but nobody is coming back if you get it wrong the first time.
I'm not to happy with how he makes it sound (in a later question) that the choice to not voice the main character in Dragon Age was somehow unfortunate, as I find that much superior to having a voiced main character. I've got much more of a connection with my character in Dragon Age than with BioWare' Shepard in Mass Effect. This because with an unvoiced main character I can decide on my character's personality instead of getting BioWare's personality choices shoved down my throat. And I find it deeply unfortunate that Mass Effect caused The Old Republic to take the same road. In the end it'll just make me leave faster by not having that connection to 'my' character.

It is nice to hear though that he doesn't consider Final Fantasy RPGs; they're fun adventure games, don't get me wrong, but they lack the player ownership of character and story. In many ways you're just along for the ride in the end and though TOR takes away some ownership with its voice main characters as well, at least the story and dialog choices you can make should make up for that to a good degree.

Anyway, the next article as a Hands On at GameSpot. Here they talk a bit about playing the low level Bounty Hunter, doing a quest to collect a head (and showing that TOR didn't manage to get away from the standard MMO "kill x of y" quest types) and showing some moral choices you get to make there. And they talk about the player race revealed (and spelling it correctly too). Here's an excerpt:
Though BioWare is not talking about Rattataki race-specific attributes yet, the bounty hunter's special abilities--at lowly level six, at least--were laid out for us. The bounty hunter is The Old Republic's gadgeteer class; we played as a male Rattataki bounty hunter, packing the basic arsenal of bounty hunter toys. These included rapid shots, as well as missile blast and rail shots. We also had shocking electro darts and the obligatory flamethrower attack. At the other end of the toolbar sat "recharge and reload," a gradual health and mana restorative akin to eating or drinking in World of Warcraft. This was accompanied with an animation of the bounty hunter tuning up his or her jetpack and flamethrower.
The third article is an interview with Jake Neri over at VG247. It talks about the challenges of making an MMO and meeting the very high expectations, what makes SWTOR different, as well as some current general things going on in the industry. Here's an excerpt about it being BioWare's first MMO:
VG247: This marks the first time that Bioware has created an MMORPG. Do you worry that your game will be badly received and how would you react to this?

Jake Neri: Bioware has really lead and set the standard for what an RPG is in general, so I think adding the massively part it probably the easy bit. I think getting the progression part, the story to be right and getting classes to play well is all something that comes natural to Bioware, so I don’t think that there is too much to be concerned with there.

We have heard this a lot, and we understand people are saying ‘well you haven’t done it before’, but sure there are a lot of things that a lot of us haven’t done, but when you start with the pedigree that Bioware brings to the table – look at Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Baulders Gate. They have done a great job for years, 15 plus years, so I think when you have this pedigree behind you that you can take on any category and do fine with it.

The team’s also veterans of the MMO space, a lot of us on the Lucasarts side have MMO experience, so I think you are going to find that this is not a concern.
They're definitely confident. Considering that, gameplay-wise, most of their single-player games haven't been all that interesting I'm not sure I share their confidence on that part. Based on past experience it should be functional at least. And they definitely have every right to be confident as far as story-based games goes.

Anyway, I'll add the links to the original post.

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