Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview

The editors at Gamasutra talked with BioWare's project lead James Ohlen about the pre-launch polish phase for Star Wars: The Old Republic, post-launch plans and more. Snippet:
As far as polish, something that strikes me as particularly interesting about this project is that it's fully voice acted. Traditionally an MMO can iterate easily because they don't have to worry about going back in for a re-recording of dialogue since it's text only. Is this a challenge?

It's been something that we've had to be aware of, but we've been aware of it since back in 2006. We knew it was going to be something we had to worry about, and the big thing is, when you're doing game balancing for quests, it's really about the activities that you're doing. So, if you're told by the NPC "You have to assassinate this guy," we can change what happens in-between that and you getting to him.

If we get feedback that the current way the mission runs is not intuitive or not very fun, we can change how the mission goes. But the actual conversation at the beginning where you're told to kill him off? That doesn't have to change. So, most of the feedback we get is around the actual activity that you're sent to do.


Have you found that the development process followed a traditional sort of BioWare plan? Or did you really have to adjust yourself?

It's very different. Mainly, most BioWare games that are new come together at the last like, four months or something like that. Usually they look like trainwrecks. When we're showing them to the producers or publishers, they're like oh my god, how is this game going to come together? And then it comes out, and it's a 90 MetaCritic game. But this game hasn't been the same, it's actually been in really good shape and playable for a long time.

By necessity.

Yeah. And that's been a lot different for me. Most BioWare games aren't really fun at all until the last five or six months.