Jan 21, 2012

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The Making Of Star Wars: The Old Republic – Gamasutra

Although this feature is a few weeks old now, I found it extremely interesting when I read it and haven’t seen it covered elsewhere so thought it might be of interest to the AAJ Army!

Gamasutra’s Paul Hyman sat down with a few of BioWare’s best to discuss the formation of the Austin studio and the challenges they’ve seen during the making of the game, as well as their expectations for the future.

BioWare Co-founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk remarked about BioWare’s beginnings, and should be enough inspiration for fuel any entrepreneurial fires you may have burning. It wasn’t always a sure thing:

“When we formed BioWare, we weren’t even sure we would be doing anything more than playing games in my basement,” he recalls. “It’s fair to say we’ve been more than surprised at how things have unfolded.”

Game Director James Ohlen comments about different plans going forward, depending on how successful the game is. He believes WoW-like success is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, though “it would be great”:

“While I can’t give away exact numbers, I can say that we have plans for super success in the millions of subscribers… and then we have plans for if we have a much smaller subscriber base. While it would be great to get the kind of numbers that World of Warcraft gets, we don’t have to come close to those in order to be wildly successful. We could be well below WoW and still be incredibly profitable.”

One interesting fact that some players may not realize is that the Austin studio was formed, and design documents were being written, before they even knew they were going to use the Star Wars license. Daniel Erickson had mentioned this before, and they talk about it in this piece.

Head on over to Gamasutra for the full 3-page read. If you’re interested in BioWare history, and the making of Star Wars: The Old Republic, its well worth the click!

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Dec 28, 2011

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Free To Play? Not For The Old Republic.

Joystiq has a short interview with BioWare Co-Doctor’s Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka centered primarily around the idea of the free-to-play subscription model. As before, the BioWare Co-Founders deflect any notion that Star Wars: The Old Republic is headed that way, only this time they expand that it isn’t even necessarily a good thing.

In regards to available resources for development and expansion, Zeschuk put it like this:

“I’m not saying it’s better or worse. It just doesn’t supplant the other things. ‘Cause we can do some things no one else can,” Zeschuk added. In his eyes, a free-to-play dev isn’t able to throw the same amount of resources and time at an MMO project, and that marks a big differentiation between the two business models. “The free-to-play people can’t invest to the level we can invest, and can’t create something of the size and scale of something we can create,” he said. The idea that free-to-play will take over all other MMO business models, he said is, “from a business perspective, ridiculous.”

For my money, I tend to agree with him. Lowering the price can only take you so far. Look at Dell as compared to Apple. It’s better to deliver a premium value and charge accordingly. Anyone can compete on price. Few can compete on quality. You can only cut off so many limbs before it ceases to function.

While not TOR-related, perhaps the most interested point in the piece led to the revelation that there might be an older BioWare IP surfacing in the free-to-play arena soon:

“You can re-imagine things and kinda envision them in different ways,” he said of the business model’s advantages. “We have some other stuff we haven’t announced yet coming from our play-for-free team that I’m really excited about. It’s gonna bring back some IP that people have a lot of fond memories around.”


Head on over to Joystiq for the full read!

The Co-Doctors!

The Co-Doctors!

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Dec 23, 2011

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Kotaku: BioWare Co-Founders Reflect On Learnings Of Beta

Gaming blog Kotaku recently spoke to BioWare Co-Founders Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka where they had a chance to reflect on the Game Testing (beta) for Star Wars: The Old Republic. They spoke about what the learned from it and what influence the players really had during the process (more than you think.)

Korriban was the very, very first planet we ever did. And it was really funny, because it stayed the same for like four years. Meanwhile, everything else got really, really pretty.” Beta testers noticed the disparity in the art direction, too. Muzyka thinksKorriban looks great now. “That’s a big change that came out of feedback,” he says. “We said, ‘Hey, that Korriban, can we redo that?’ and the team do a major art pass on it.” So, if you’re playing on the Sith homeworld and love the way it looks, you can thank the beta testers for complaining in the first place.

I know I say this a lot, but it’s well worth the read for the discriminating TOR fan. Head on over to Kotaku and check it out!

Image Source: Kotaku

Image Source: Kotaku

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Dec 23, 2011

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Dr. Greg Updates Community On Queues

BioWare Co-founder Dr. Gren Zeschuk just took to the official forums in a post which should ease the concerns of players about what’s being done about the queue times.

Obviously, BioWare is well aware of things and are absolutely on-the-case when it comes to dialing them in for the long term:

Hey folks, as you may likely have seen in the last 24 hours, we’ve been redoubling our efforts in optimally managing the time it takes to get into Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The BioWare Live Team has been carefully watching the influx of players into the game and is addressing with surgical precision the longer wait times on the small number of servers that were having longer wait times previously. We’ve also being doing our best to get every little bit of possible performance on our servers to increase capacity: we’ve “turned them up to 11” to do our very best to get you in and playing as quickly as possible. As a result – you should now be seeing significant improvement versus waiting times at the end of last week. 

We’re also addressing the concerns about losing your place in line if you happen to disconnect for some reason before getting into the game. We’ve been working very hard on this and are performing final testing on potential solutions.

Thanks for your patience and we really appreciate your enthusiasm for Star Wars: The Old Republic. We’re absolutely dedicated to ensuring you have a great experience both inside and outside the game.


You can’t ask any more than that. An update straight from the Chief of Surgery :)

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Dec 22, 2011

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SW:TOR Developers Show Their Dedication – And Tattoos!

A few weeks ago, we heard of a few BioWare developers getting Star Wars: The Old Republic tattoos. Leading the pack was Dr. Greg Zeschuk, BioWare’s Co-Founder. Today, it’s none other than Dr. Greg who tweeted this awesome photo showing exactly how crazy dedicated they really are!

Most seemed to opt for the “combo” crest, Republic and Empire. But props go to Rob Chestney for being the only one flying solid Republic colors!

If any of you were questioning their commitment to their game, I think you can put those fears to rest!

Tattoo Who?

Tattoo Who?

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