Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Blog

The latest developer blog entry to go live on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website introduces us to the game's encyclopedic codex system, courtesy of principal lead systems designer Damion Schubert. With over a novel's worth of lore already packed into it, this is the sort of thing that will convince me to pay a subscription fee each month:
When we encounter design problems in The Old Republic, we like to first look at other BioWare games for a solution. In this case, we really appreciated the codex used in Dragon Age, which allows players to collect pieces of the story that eventually coalesce into a collected whole. We also looked at the codex in Mass Effect. The focus was slightly different, instead providing an encyclopedic view of the universe as a whole.

For The Old Republic, we took the best of both systems, using our codex to not only elaborate on the settings you fight in and the creatures you kill, but also to plant seeds of knowledge relating to key personages and concepts from your class story and long-lost lore meant to give more feedback at large. We sketched out what we wanted, and told the writers to get to work.

How much work? Current estimates of our codex are around 120,000 words of text. By comparison, the average Star Wars novel comes in at around 100,000 words.


We give away some codex entries for free. For example, we think that it's important that players have basic background about the locations they are visiting, and key people in their class story arcs will almost always merit a codex entry. For the rest, though, we want people to explore the planets a little more, and take on some challenges a little ways off the beaten path.

Wandering to distant locations on the map will unlock codex entries about those far flung corners of the globe. Unlocking the codex entry for the k'lor'slug, for example, involves killing a hard to find, tougher k'lor'slug deep in one of Korriban's tombs. Additionally, exploring the artifacts in the Academy's library can reveal ancient bits of lost lore, and doing quests for various alien species can unlock their entry in the codex.