Sunday, 13 June 2010

Pre E3 2010

Tomorrow E3 2010 kicks off for a week long of gaming news. And The Old Republic is expected to make an appearance with a new cinematic trailer during EA's press conference. But this weekend we already got a sneak peek at a few things with a behind the scenes look in the making of the new trailer over at Gametrailers and an extensive hands-on article over at GameSpot.

Let's start with the GameSpot article. In it they detail hands-on experience during the first moments of six of the game's eight classes: the Trooper, the Smuggler, the Sith Warrior, the Sith Inquisitor, the Bounty Hunter and the Imperial Agent. It contains some spoilers as to the opening stories of these classes (particularly for the Bounty Hunter there seems to be a rather big spoiler in there), but otherwise it's an interesting read. It confirms that pairs of classes start on the same planet (and it looks like their stories intersect). But more interesting perhaps is that it confirms two more player species: Twi'leks and Chiss. And it talks a bit about the various mechanics for the classes (ammo for troopers, overheating for the Bounty Hunter, cover for the Smuggler and Agent, rage points for the Warrior and Force power meter for the Inquisitor). Here's an excerpt:
The trooper class begins with four different primary combat skills, which are keyed to the number keys on your keyboard, and all pertain to using your heavy blaster rifle. Most of the trooper's combat abilities operate based on ammo (this has been changed from the previous time we played the class, when it relied on action points). The abilities include hammer shot, a basic ranged attack that consumes a single round of ammo; rifle grenade, which consumes several rounds and activates your character's rifle-mounted grenade launcher to knock all enemies in the blast radius flat on their backs; fast reload, which reloads your weapon to full; and stock strike, a melee attack that lets you pistol-whip your foes with the butt of your rifle once you get up close.

The smuggler class, on the other hand, is one of the game's "cover classes" and focuses on acquiring cover behind various environmental objects. These objects then grant various offensive and defensive bonuses while accruing energy points with basic attacks and expending them with advanced ones. The smuggler tends to favor a single, handheld blaster (again, not unlike Han Solo), and the profession's starting abilities currently include flurry of bolts, a basic ranged attack that builds energy points; take cover, which lets the profession acquire any nearby cover indicated by a transparent green paper-doll model; burst, which fires off three times as many rounds as flurry of bolts but costs energy points; and flash grenade, a hand-thrown projectile that has a chance of stunning all targets within its short radius but also costs energy points.

From cover, the smuggler's action bar changes to include flurry of bolts (which causes the smuggler to quickly pop out of cover to fire), detaching from cover, and charged burst, which is a new skill that slowly charges up a blast before causing the character to peek out behind cover and deliver a highly damaging burst of three charged-up rounds at a great cost of energy points. (And aside from these character-specific abilities, all characters in the game will universally have some kind of fast-healing, meditative skill to use when out of combat to decrease the amount of downtime required for characters to recover from the wounds they've suffered.)
The article is an interesting read if you don't mind the first few minutes spoiled a little (or if you're planning on playing one of the two Jedi classes, which aren't even mentioned so no spoilers there). And definitely gives some further insight into the game.

And hey, Twi'leks confirmed. True, that's no surprise at all (I think everyone pretty much already knew they were going to be a player species), but still nice to have confirmed. Unless they come up with some interesting surprises I know what species my main character will be. :)

The second bit is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this year's E3 cinematic trailer. After the massive success of last year's trailer it's understandable that they'd want another trailer for this year. But at the same time that also means that they'll have to try extra hard to out-do themselves if they want to blow people away again. During Gametrailer TV's "E3 All Access" pre-E3 show they had a look at Blur studios working on the new trailer, including a sneak peek at the trailer.

Now, that's a 41 minute show and the section about Blur lasts about two minutes; the rest is about a whole bunch of other games. You can watch the entire show if you're interested, but if you want to only see the The Old Republic bit then that starts about 11:30 minutes in. Or use the "Behind the Scenes - The Making of an E3 Trailer" bookmark in their timer bar (which jumps over the short preamble from the presenters) to jump right to it. Or you can just watch it from YouTube right here:

I'm fairly certain that the full trailer itself will be made available tomorrow right after EA's press conference (during which I'm certain they'll show it too). I'll put up a post once it does.

[link] to hands-on article at GameSpot.
[link] to "E3 All Access" video at Gametrailers.
[link] to GTTV Blur segment at YouTube.

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