Sep 25, 2011

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Wild Space: Release Date(!) And Developer Interviews

It’s a big galaxy our there, and Wild Space can be a dangerous place. Worry not, explorer – each week we’ll navigate you safely through the lost hyperspace routes of the Deep Core and track down the great articles and entertainment from around the SW:TOR fan community, all in less than 12 parsecs, of course!

It’s been a long time coming but we finally have an official release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic. December 20, 2011 cannot get here fast enough! To start us off on Wild Space, here are a couple of release date articles and features from a few fansites that you may have heard of before.

Darth Hater has an article with a bunch of information about the release date. It includes an interview with Stephen Reid, highlights of the actual announcement from the BioWare doctors, and an audio/media gallery of the whole thing. I highly recommend the interview with Stephen Reid about SW:TOR’s release, Early Game access, and the ongoing beta.

TORWars has a short phone interview with Stephen Reid that they transcribed on their website, a breakdown of the SW:TOR pricing model, and a video of the BioWare doctors making the announcement.

It’s tough to contain my personal excitement since I have been looking forward to this game for a long time (as I’m sure a lot of you have). I have been wanting to play a sci-fi MMO for some time and it looks like my wish is finally going to come true on December 20th. Congrats to BioWare on this amazing milestone!

While the release date announcement is going to overshadow a lot of other content for a while, there were a couple of great developer interviews that came out this week. Force Junkies has started a new column called “Get to Know a Dev” where they interview a SW:TOR developer every week and get answers to the burning questions that everyone wants answered (like, “Where is the best place to grab lunch?”). For their first week, they interviewed Principal Lead Combat Designer, Georg Zoeller. The interview is really interesting because they get a little bit of history about Mr. Zoeller and what a “Principal Lead Combat Designer” actually does at BioWare. Here’s an excerpt:

I (…) manage the Combat Design team which handles design and implementation of classes, combat balance for PvP and PvE, companions and all those hostiles you encounter in your travels through Star Wars: The Old Republic. A part of this job also involves collaboration with our Live team which handles game testing and analysis of tester feedback and metrics.


I’m the one guy in the building who is not allowed to have favorite classes or Advanced Classes as it is my job to make sure they are equally fun and viable.

Check out the full article over at Force Junkies.

Lastly, the folks at Darth Hater scored an interview with Daniel Erickson (Lead Writer) which focused on the story of SW:TOR as well as some game systems. He talks about some of the challenges of bringing back fan-favorite characters like Revan and HK-47 as well as how the story behind the Sith Emperor was developed (no spoilers, I promise). One of the other cool things that he talked about was how BioWare intends to use it’s phasing technology upon release (i.e. the system where they create multiple game instances of a particular area):

We keep phasing to very small portions of the game. What we do not want to have happen in our game is the, “I’m standing on a street corner, and I’m supposed to meet you there, and you’re not there because you don’t exist in my universe.” There are games that went that way, but when we talk about phasing, we’re talking about small scale phasing. So when I go in a room where I’m supposed to meet the long lost love interest and I killed her dad, everything is going to be correct for that. Everything is going to be going for that. In the class pieces there’s a lot of parts where you go off to different small worlds, to asteroid bases, to space stations or something that are very personal to your piece. That whole place maybe exploded and be on fire or whatever, but we’re not doing anything that is ever going to separate out the main body of the game and the community. We do not want to split up people’s actual reality. – Daniel Erickson

The biggest complaint that I have seen about phasing is that players don’t want to be physically separated from the other people that they are playing with. It sounds like that isn’t BioWare’s intent and they are going to do their best to make sure that they only use phasing in small areas. It’s another great interview by Darth Hater so be sure to check it out for tons more information about how the story and other game systems.

  1. Lot’s of great stuff came out this past week.

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