Sep 18, 2011

Posted by in Officially Speaking | 17 Comments

Officially Speaking: Path Of The Cyborg – Is It A Species?

Welcome to Officially Speaking, a regular column focused on the most hotly debated topics ever to grace the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums. Do you have something to add? Feel like it gets lost in the shuffle over there? Join in the extended discussion right here on Ask A Jedi.

There’s a debate that has been raging on the official forums for months now about available species in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Never mind the debate on what races should be accessible to players in the game, that’s a whole other article. This controversey focuses on the whether should cyborgs should be considered a race.

It all started some months ago when PC Gamer UK published a “matrix” of available classes and species. One of the entires was “cyborg” and of course that spun TOR fans into a frenzy. Not long after, Daniel Erickson popped in on the thread to offer some advice that not everything you read is final, nor necessarily even accurate:

The species/class combo list you’re referencing is not accurate. If it does appear in the magazine, that’s unfortunate.

My guess is that an enthusiastic member of the press wrote down everything he saw in the character creation screen which, as we’ve stated often, is nowhere near final. Occasionally we’ll have species in odd classes or in all classes because of a bug or testing.

Cyborgs have of course been a part of Star Wars for a long time. Some of the more famous? General Grievous, Luke Skywalker, Darth Malak, and of course Darth Vader.  It seems only appropriate that players are given the option for their character to be a cyborg in TOR. But many players are wondering if they deserve to take up a precious slot as a full blown species of their own.

One forum poster notes:

“They could have made becoming a cyborg, or not, the finale of one of the chapters. Even the first one. Look at what Malgus and Anakin went through before becoming a cyborg. What an incredible “story” opportunity to portray and experience.”

Another poster who was actually able to play the game at a convention states:

“A lot of people disagreed with me that it was actually one of the playable race/species options.   But now I am sure that it is. I don’t know which class has it.  I don’t know why it has not been revealed yet. But I would be extremely, extremely surprised if it is not a choice.”

So, if cyborg actually takes its place in the character creation process, what are your thoughts on the matter?  I personally don’t think cyborgs should get their own slot as a species. I mean, theoretically, couldn’t any species become a cyborg? Why couldn’t a Twi’lek have his arm replaced with a cybernetic version?

The best solution might be the excellent suggestion from SirRobin above that becoming a cyborg shouldn’t just be a quick choice made in the character creation screen, but a pivotal moment in your character’s story.

Imagine fighting a rival and clutching a holo-recording to your chest as he backs you up to a ledge overlooking a conveyor belt which assists in creating droids.  The rival demands you give him the recording and you are given three options:

  • Never! [Fight]
  • You win this one [Give him the recording]
  • You can take it from my cold dead hands [Become a cyborg]

If you choose the third option, you leap over onto the assembly line and just before you reach the machines that will go all Jack-the-ripper on your character, it fades to black and you are presented with a special cyborg customization screen, you then awake afterwards in a medical lab as a cyborg. While we can’t expect BioWare to take the time to do something like this, I do think it’d be a much more effective way of presenting this “species” to players, who could then play a cyborg of any species.

So how do you guys think the cyborg question should be handled?  Leave your comments below and I’ll be sure to join in on the discussion with you all.  In the words of one famous cyborg: “I’ll be back.”

Editor’s Note: Please remember to not post any NDA-breaking information in the comments section, it will be deleted.

  1. I hope to hell it isn’t a species… it just doesn’t make sense. if anything it should be a story choice as noted, or simply some form of character slot, maybe one you have to unlock.

  2. I agree with you – Cyborg should be a Story option, and not a Species option.

  3. Ajay (R2D2) says:

    Cyborgs, strictly from the definition, are not species-specific or a species. While I do like the story tie-in to becoming one, I feel that the game has been so far in development, that a change like that would be hard to implement with us being only a few months from launch (hopefully). Essentially, one could say that Cyborgs are about as same creation-wise as the other humanoid species. I feel it is just an easy way to add an additional character creation option, which Bioware has been sticking to with all of these near human species.

  4. Someone should have done a better job proofreading the article. I stopped reading after the second typo and realized I was still in the first paragraph.

  5. Really!? I’m glad im not paying any attention to the forums on swtor these days….. Last I heard this was Star Wars not Battle Star Galactica….

    If this was the case I could understand a race of cyborgs and that would be the end of it!

    However this is Star Wars TOR cybernetics is part of the technology and is availabe. I could see a character having to get cybernetic limbs and such… but to just downright be a full out species is a complete joke.

    Oh yea another example of cyborgs would be from something called Star Trek with a race called the borg. I’m done!

  6. Cyborgs shouldn’t be a species in their own right. There needs to be an additional character customisation component for every species which allows for the addition of cybernetic parts. This should be easy as all the species are near human anyway!!!
    I recognise how it makes some sense to have a character changed with cybernetics as part of their story, as Luke, Vader and Malgus all were. However it makes no sense to have THE CHOICE to amputate your body parts or not (except of course in the character creation), that is called “Body Integrity Identity Disorder”.

  7. Lord-Maknoe says:

    Though I understand both points of view, I believe that it should be a beginning choice. But, I also see that it shouldn’t be something you get right away. What I think, is that if your character is a Cyborg like Darth Vader where your a full body Cyborg (or like Malak who’s a half face Cyborg) then you should be able to choose it right away. But if it’s something as simple as having a new robotic arm, then I want to see a questline for that. Those are my personal opinions on the matter, though I trust in Bioware’s judgement…

  8. My best guess is that Bioware was either playing with the idea of having a Cyborg “species” or that one of the stories already has a pivotal point where your character becomes a Cyborg and they had it as a playable species just to debug…

    I really hope its an optional quest line already in the game or added later. For people scary about making a permanent aesthetic change you could have the option to switch between a Skywalker style limb and several other more mechanical types… for a nominal fee.

  9. Cyborgs should be available to all species and classes such as human. All it adds is the cybernetic aspects to whatever species you choose in character creation. Cyborg should be like a body design feature.

  10. I’d rather just see either a regular/cyborg selection for each species or simply cybernetic implants in the character creation selections. Definitely not a species. I don’t remember Anakin having to pay for a species change in star wars :P

  11. I have a few issues with cyborg personally. Firstly it will essentially be different facial options as that would be the only bit you will see, so why a separate race? It should just be another slider option for all races IMO. That also brings me to the second issue, what race are cyborgs? Humans? What if I want a zabrak cyborg.

    I also would be disappointed with cyborgs playable as a race when so far Nautolan, Togruta, Kel Dor, Mon Cal and many other races are in game but not playable.

  12. I do not see Cyborgs as a starting race because they themselves don’t have their own race. Some started out as human’s, some Twi’leks, etc. Plus, none were born that way. Even with strong stories, they still started out as a plan old normal being, not a cyborg.

    Now, how I could see it being used would be simular to WOW’s Death Knights. A player would have to have raised at least one character to the cap and then they are allowed to create a cyborg based off of one of their characters. So you both get the continually and the story behind each cyborg. In the end if you at first raised a human to the cap, then you get to create a human cyborg.

  13. An easier way to create cyborgs in game would be to just create a couple of armor sets that have a cyborg look to them and then allow the underlay system to buff it up the same as they have mentioned with the traditional looks like the Obi Wan Kenobi robes.

  14. I’m still tripping on the fact that he referred to Malak and Skywalker as cyborgs. Vader, barely, but Skywalker had a limb, and Malak only has a respirator!

  15. The species options are one of my few complaints I’ve had with the game so far. And no, cyborgs as an option does not mollify that at all. As stated before, it doesn’t make sense as a “species” because of the fact it’s not a species… It should be a modification option for every species.

    Having it be a modification implemented through a story mechanism would be amazing, but as noted in the article, highly unlikely at this point. Otherwise, it should be something that should be an option for all species, like a haircut.

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  1. Cyborg ou non ? | Guide pour Star Wars : The Old Republic - [...] AskAJedi s’interrogeait hier sur les Cyborgs. [...]

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