Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Interview

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Eschalon: Book II

Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2003-07-15
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
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BioWare will be releasing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Xbox this month, so we felt it was the perfect opportunity to get some in-depth information on exactly how the game will play. Below you'll find answers to our questions from BioWare's Teresa Cotesta:

GB: How have you gone about designing Star Wars: KotOR to be a role-playing game? Will RPG fans feel right at home?

Teresa: Although Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has a real time feel that should give it appeal to fans that aren't serious RPG players, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is an RPG at heart. From the RPG perspective, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic delivers all the critical elements: ability to customize your character, epic story arc, non-linear game progression, direct correlation between player actions and plot development and a gradual evolution of your character as the plot is advanced that we hope results in players investing emotion into their in-game persona. Throughout the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic presents players with a number of challenges that can be overcome in a variety of different manners. How players elect to resolve these challenges impacts the development of their character and his or her interaction with other NPC characters in the game. The game is really about choice and how you decide to influence or interact with the galaxy defining events going on around you.

GB: How will the PC version differ from the Xbox version?

Teresa: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was developed in parallel for the PC and Xbox, with two major differences resulting from this design path. There are visual differences between the PC and Xbox version resulting from the different video card technologies inherent to each platform. The other obvious difference is the player interface. The Xbox version is customized for a game controller while the PC version was developed with the mouse and keyboard in mind.

GB: Will the game be integrated with Xbox Live?

Teresa: There will be downloadable content through Xbox Live.

GB: And do you have any plans to port the game over to Playstation 2 or GameCube?

Teresa: Right now Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic will be released on the Xbox (July 2003) and on the PC (Fall 2003). No further announcements have been made for other platforms.

GB: How many hours of gameplay are you shooting for, and will the game be designed to encourage replayability?

Teresa: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has approximately 40-60 hours of gameplay, and definitely has a lot of replayability. At the start of the game, in the character creation screen, you can choose to be either male or female, and one of three different classes, that being Scout, Scoundrel or Soldier. The actions you take in the game also influence the development of your character along the Light or Dark side of the Force. On this spectrum comes some of the greatest opportunities for replayability. For example, role-playing as a good Jedi you may see different quests, receive different items or experience different plot developments than that experienced by a Dark Jedi. Trying to help a friendly NPC is certainly going to lead to a different reaction that intimidating him with Force Choke. These actions culminate with two entirely different endings based on the alignment of your character at the game's conclusion.

GB: The official site talks about mini-games that will be available to players. How many mini-games are there in KotOR and can you tell us a bit about each?

Teresa: That's one of the really fun parts of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the mini-games. There are three mini-games available. The first one is the turret mini-game, so when you're being attacked by the evil Sith, you have the opportunity to blast them one by one from the turret of your starship, the Ebon Hawk. Remember when Luke and Han were blasting Tie Fighters after their escape from the Death Star? This is a very similar experience.. Another mini game allows you to race on a number of different planets using your own Swoop bike Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic's version of pod racing. Plus, there is a card game called Pazaak that allows you to do a bit of gambling on the side and earn some extra credits. That's really fun, and pretty addictive!

GB: How will a character gain Jedi powers and what specific functions will they be used for in the game?

Teresa: Whenever a Jedi gains a level he can choose a new Force power as you gain levels, you'll get access to new Force powers. The more powerful Force Powers have prerequisites and level limitations. For example, Force Storm requires that the Jedi already know how to use Shock and Lightning as well as being 15th level.

There are roughly 45 Force powers in the game, with 15 light, 15 dark, and 15 neutral powers which fall into three different categories, offensive, defensive and enhancement. Some of the aggressive Force powers are Choke, Lightning and Whirlwind. Some of the defensive powers include Force shield, Energy resistance and Heal. Some of the enhancement powers are Burst of Speed and Master Focus.

GB: Tell us a bit about how the quest system will work in the game. How many side-quests do you plan on implementing, and will some of these quests span throughout the different worlds available in KotOR?

Teresa: There are a lot of different side quests in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and they are definitely available on all of the different planets you visit throughout the game. One of the really cool things too, is that you can use your ship, the Ebon Hawk, to re-visit different planets so that you can fulfill more quests, or complete ones that you picked up but never fulfilled. A key feature in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the journal system. We think it's important for players to have the option to play the game at their own pace and in a manner and order that appeals to them. Having said that, we don't want them to become confused if they start a number of different quests so we've implemented a comprehensive, sortable journal that allows makes it easy to leave the game for a bit and not get lost when you return.

GB: Can you explain the difference between the Light and Dark sides in the game, and why a player would want to choose one or the other?

Teresa: Your actions and dialog options throughout the game will determine how good or evil you are. If you are a light side character, other people will be more willing to help you out, and a lot friendlier. Saying something nasty to someone and picking fights with innocent people, will take you towards the dark side. As a dark side Jedi you tend to get what you want through fear and intimidation. Our designers worked hard to ensure the game was enjoyable and playable from either don't have to worry about the local authorities chasing you off a planet if you're of the Dark persuasion. As a player it is entirely up to you which path you decide to take, you can be the hero that saves the day, or the evil villain that rules the universe.

We'd like to issue our thanks to everyone at LucasArts and BioWare, especially Teresa, for taking the time to answer our questions!