Jul 25, 2011

Posted by in Featured, News | 20 Comments

SDCC 2011: Ask A Jedi Interviews Producer Cory Butler (Video)

San Diego Comic-Con this week has been nothing short of amazing for the TOR faithful. The biggest news this is of release is that pre-orders are now available!

But, there was still information to be mined! To that end, we were lucky to be able to have some time with BioWare Producer Cory Butler to work him over ask him some questions about new stuff we’ve seen and some older stuff lingering on our minds.

Here’s a quick overview, with the video below and a full transcript after the jump as well!

  • Companion control
  • Companion customization
  • HoloCam workings
  • Collector’s edition vendor
  • Planet count confirmation
  • Mysterious endgame content not yet revealed (hint: its still not revealed!)
  • How the “story owner” works
  • Return intro cinematic order
  • Bagless inventory
  • Mac version update

Special thanks to Jeff from TORWars.com for his awesome assistance! If you’re not reading TORWars, you’re missing out.


Ask A Jedi: Can you talk a bit about the new things you’re revealing here at SDCC this year?

Cory Butler: So here at Comic-Con, for the first time ever, we’re allowing the public to get their hands on PvP, we have the Alderaan Warzone set up that we’re letting them play. We’re also doing a couple of different Flashpoints, one on the Republic side and one on the Imperial side, and then we have the Origin worlds on the show floor, so all Origin worlds and all classes are available for play.

Ask A Jedi: In yesterday’s panel, you talked about companion controls possibly being tweaked to be more Dragon Age like. Can you tell us more about that?

Cory Butler: As far as changing the companion controls to be a little more like Dragon Age, is something we wanted to tease yesterday but not something we want to go into a lot of detail about just yet. So stay tuned to the web site and we’ll get more info out there.

Ask A Jedi: Also on companions, can you speak a bit about the new customization features you showed?

Cory Butler: Yep, so one of the things we’re doing now is allowing you to customize the way your companion character looks. So for example, Vette, one of the companion characters you get early in the game, is a blue Twi’lek and if you want to change the color of her skin, that’s going to be an option and we’re going to allow you to tweak some basic features of their appearance.

Ask A Jedi: Can you talk about the HoloCam that’s included with the Collector’s Edition? Does it function as a “replay” video system found in some sports games? Will you be able to post this for others to see?

Cory Butler: So the HoloCam in the Collector’s Edition does not function like an instant replay video, as yet – great idea, I love that idea. Right now you can do screenshots with it, but you can do screenshots with it but honestly we’re still kind of playing with it and determining what kind of functionality we want it to have.

Ask A Jedi: Also in the Collectors Edition, there is a special NPC vendor players have access to. Will there be more items added to this vendor over the life of the game?

Cory Butler: That’s the plan, that’s what we want to use it for. Again, that’s something we’re keeping in our back pocket for now, but we’re definitely going to continue to feed items in there.

Ask A Jedi: During the panel is was mentioned there will be 19 major planets, but we currently have only 17 listed (and were previously told that was it.) Were two more added?

Cory Butler: Um no, we have 17 planets, and that’s the total amount of planets.

General Info

Ask A Jedi: In a recent E3 interview from GameReactor, Daniel Erickson talked about some end game, “full content” as he described it, that hasn’t been talked about yet. Content beyond Operations and Warzones. Can you elaborate?

Cory Butler: I would love to talk about it, but we’re not at that stage. As far as the end game content, we have talked about Warzones, we have talked about Operations, we have talked about Flashpoints… everything else we’re keeping off the table right now.

Ask A Jedi: Many AAJ readers are wondering how the “story owner” concept works, and how it might differ wether you’re playing solo or in a group. Can you explain a bit?

Cory Butler: So the story owner concept, when you go into an instance, whoever goes in first is going to be the owner of the instance. In your preference menu you’ll be able to select if you want to play with group members who are your own class, so when you go in if two warriors go in, it’s going to be the first warrior who owns that instance, and it’s going to be his class instance, and the other guy is going to be playing a supporting role for him.

Ask A Jedi: So, can two people of the same class complete the same class quest at the same time with each other, or do they each need to do it with themselves as the owner? Effectively requiring them to do it twice if they are helping each other.

Cory Butler: Part of the story owner area is that if you go into your preference menu and select that you want to allow people of the same class to go into your instances, you have to own your instance to complete your class quest. So you would effectively need to run back through again and allow him to do his class quest.

Ask A Jedi: Does the concept of story owner exist anywhere outside of the class stories (in Flashpoints or Operations for example?)

Cory Butler: No, really just for the class quests.

Ask A Jedi: At E3 you released the awesome “Return” cinematic trailer from Blur, which was also revealed to be the in-game cinematic intro. But if the game takes placed after the events of the Deceived trailer, why is Return the intro trailer and not Deceived?

Cory Butler: Return is our intro trailer because it was designed as that from conception, when we first started thinking about it. Deceived was specifically made to be released publicly. That’s a great question, I think any Hope, Deceived or Return could easily fit in there and serve as an in-game intro cinematic. I think Return does a great job of kind of setting up what you’re about to get into with showing the different classes and combat. It’s really just more the story we wanted to tell.

Ask A Jedi: Why was the decision made to not support the Mac at launch? Will there be a native Mac version later?

Cory Butler: So you’re asking if we’re going to make the game for Mac eventually, that’s not the plan right now, we’re PC only and I really can’t speak to why that decision was made.

Ask A Jedi: Can you discuss what was behind the decision to go with a “bagless” inventory system? Bags would seem to help with organization, much like Folders do on your desktop PC.

Cory Butler: We talked through a lot of this, we think the bagless system for the Star Wars universe felt right for the game. You also have the cargo hold on your ship where you’ll be able to store and organize things. And then within your inventory system we have another tab where you can click over and keep your quest items. So there is a little bit of things where you can organize in there, it just felt right for the game.

Ask A Jedi: Is there interaction with any environmental elements, such as sitting in chairs, opening doors, or climbing ladders?

Cory Butler: It’s not something we have in the game right now. Will it be there for launch? Possibly. Will it be there post launch? Possibly. But right now you can sit on the floor, you can to a /drink and use different emotes, but right now its not in the builds we’re showing right now.

  1. I think the Holocam needs to be something more. Every videogame on the face of the planet has the ability to take screenshot, or you can even just press Print Screen to do the same. I don’t think screenshots only is a great feature for people who slapped down $150 for this. I was hoping at the very least it was FRAPS of some sort.

    • Lethality says:

      Totally agree!

      FRAPS might be a little intensive due to the video file size, but how cool would it be to have a Madden-style replay where only the math is recorded, and then you can watch replays from any angle…wherever you want to put the camera! Talk about cool for learning encounters and stuff… and sharing with others, without the hassle of a video file!

    • I agree I was hoping for something more than just being able to take screens. I am hoping they are planning an actual needed or wanted use for it in the future.

      Nice interview guys keep up the great work.

    • The Holocam could be kinda neat if it snapped screenies and put them into a Holorecord that you can access >inside< the game.

      I would feel good about its value if it kept a Star Wars themed "photo album" accessible by yourself and possibly even other players. Perhaps that could be a personal starship feature… "come aboard, feel free to look through my photo album".

  2. Great video Lethality, nice to see all the good questions got asked as opposed to some of the terrible questions that we got at the Q&A, lol.

  3. DozingDawg says:

    Good Work. You had better Q & A in this video then all of the Comic Con Q&A’s for the whole show. Thanks you.

  4. My guess is the Cam will end up being some sort of limited cam drone. to get a picture from a crazy angle not possible by just using your characters cam. I’d be ok with that. but replays would be awesome.

  5. Kryssprollz says:

    It is a shame a Mac client is not only not available at launch but neither being worked on for a later addition. I am very curious of how EA can justify getting rid of 10% of potential players : wrong technical choices at the development start or business decision to cut on the costs ?
    Either way, the fact they didn’t foreseen Mac market share would increase to the point it is now among their target audience (US-EU, consumers, young adults) is… troubling.

    • prenerfed says:

      It runs on Bootcamp. 10% market share obviously isn’t worth the development costs when (see first sentence).

      • Lethality says:

        Really? Tell Blizzard. Or Valve. They seem to be wildly profitable with it. But it takes an investment.

        10% market share is quite worth it, and if you don’t think so, you don’t understand economics.

        • prenerfed says:

          None of those launched with a Mac client. I understand the economics of this decision perfectly, as it’s the same one that almost every other developer makes.

          • Lethality says:

            Check the facts.

          • prenerfed says:

            It’s a fact that Steam just released their Mac client last year. Starcraft 2 launched without a Mac client. Development of the Mac client frequently happens after launch. That’s all I’m saying.

            Bioware saying they have “no plans” for it is just a bad way of putting it out there that they won’t be doing it for awhile, if at all. But eventually they will probably make a Mac client to make the white earbuds set happy and scoop up that last 5% of the potential mac market who were too lazy or elitist to run it on Bootcamp.

          • Lethality says:

            The lack of knowledge you possess is sad, but not surprising.

            First, StarCraft 2 absolutely launched with a Mac client.

            By Valve releasing Steam AND all of their games, and future games, indicates they see the huge market and the market growth potential.

            It’s completely BioWare’s ignorance of the facts that is going to lead to their loss. I would never have imagined it, with EA driving the train, and their “no dime left behind” approach to things.

            It sounds like you’re fashionably unaware, but Boot Camp isn’t some magical compatibility mode. You have to purchase, install and maintain a separate Windows license that you must boot OUT of your Mac to use.

            Laziness or elitist has nothing to do with not wanting to run Windows. It has to do with not wanting to downgrade our workflow and spend hundreds of dollars extra for a silly game. We avoided Windows very specifically in the first place… mediocrity has no place.

          • prenerfed says:

            “We” ah yes that explains it. Clearly elitism has something to do with it if “mediocrity has no place” is your closing statement.

            I am aware that you need a separate Windows license and software for Bootcamp. If you can afford a Mac you can probably afford those costs. Don’t presume about what your readers don’t know just because their comments aren’t all-encompassing or there’s another unrelated factual error. Starcraft 2 had a Mac client at release, My bad. Most games don’t, and most game developers don’t have Blizzard’s resources. Steam was around for years and years before they bothered, and they’re loaded. EA will (probably ) eventually capitalize on a Mac client as well.

            Bioware’s decision at this point comes down to poor word choice, and spending the money on making the game better for 95% of the market before any money is spent for a ported version. That’s good business, no matter how much Mac fan boys want to cry otherwise.

            Elitist about it or not, enjoy your 50% higher priced locked-in hardware. And by all means please do wait for that Mac client for SW:TOR if running the game through BC is too mediocre for you. It should give you plenty of time to come up with another way to get the last word in here. You’re winning more fans and Mac converts with every reply I’m sure.

          • Lethality says:

            So blind.

            You think Blizzard does it for charity? You think Valve invested millions to get on the platform because they were bored?

            Those are 2 of the most successful game studios out there. They know when to invest and how to invest in their future.

            You say most game developers and studios don’t have Blizzard’s resource. True. But you know who does? BioWare and EA.

            it’s a slam-dunk ROI to produce a native Mac client. And do it at release. Anything else is lazy, and a compromise.

            I will never play it through Windows on Boot Camp.

          • Barothermel says:

            I have a mac and I definitely won’t play this game unless it comes out for it.

    • I think the royal SW:TOR fans would be a 100$ to get home premium for the game I know I would if i didn’t already have it.

  6. I refuse to call Warzones end-game content. It’s just.. content :P

    Can’t believe they’d waste the Mythic guys on just warzones… Where’s my RvR baby.

  7. Lethality says:
    “July 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Totally agree!

    FRAPS might be a little intensive due to the video file size, but how cool would it be to have a Madden-style replay where only the math is recorded, and then you can watch replays from any angle…wherever you want to put the camera! Talk about cool for learning encounters and stuff… and sharing with others, without the hassle of a video file!”

    Just want to point out that Rift has a fraps like ability in there game right now, Now I will not clam to understand all that is involved in setting this up but it is there in game. It also uploads to Youtube and/or Facebook.


  1. SWTOR.eu » Cory Butler SWTOR Interview – HoloCam, CE Vendor, 17 Planeten, Story Owner-System, vorerst kein Mac-Support, Inventar - [...] Fragen möglichst aufschlussreiche Antworten zu entlocken. Eines dieser Interviews veröffentlichte Askajedi.com am gestrigen [...]

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