Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview

The folks over at The Gaming Liberty recently caught up with BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk for a quick Q&A about Star Wars: The Old Republic and their newly opened customer support center in Galway, Ireland. Since these two answers stood out to me, I'll go ahead and quote them:
TGL: So there's been a real push to promote the cinematic experience that The Old Republic can offer people. But we want to know, direct from you guys, what you think it can offer gamers that say, other MMOs can't?

RM: Well we have the best features you can expect from MMOs. We have amazing progression and customisation -- so you can really shape your avatar. We also have exploration, but one thing that sets this apart is that it's set within the Star Wars world -- so that in itself is very cool. We also have combat that's exciting and tactical, but it also has lightsabers. Coupled with the animations -- it's quite beautiful to watch really.

Wrapping everything together is the story -- and that's one of the big difference between The Old Republic and other MMOs. For those familiar with BioWare games, they will be very happy with it. Every player, every character, every NPC has a voice, and although it's subtle -- the difference that makes is incredibly powerful. This helps to add a greater sense of purpose and depth to it. One of the most common things we're already hearing is that people seem to find it hard to go back to other MMOs once they play The Old Republic; because there's a real sense of purpose to everything.

Another interesting thing is that we have real choice for the game. There's a hero journey for each class, there's things you can share, but you can also join in on someone else's personal quest -- even if you're in a different class. But because there's personal choice, there is always personal consequences -- there's no going back you know? You can't simply load up a previous save game and see (what if). That's really exciting from a moral perspective, because it's personally impactful. We've found a way to integrate group combat, with group exploration, group stories and explorations -- yet, there's still a great sense of a personal story. People couldn't imagine how you could pull that off in the MMO space -- and we did that.

TGL: Finally guys, and we know you've heard this a lot, what made you explore the MMO space instead of creating the next Knights of the Old Republic game?

GZ: Well interestingly -- we always wanted to make an MMO. We ended up making a Star Wars MMO and we're incredibly happy with that. The fans will be so suprised I think when they play it -- I mean, you can play this completely solo if you want.

RM: Yeah, we found that some players enjoy playing MMOs like 60% of the time by themselves -- so this game is completely solo in some ways, but enhanced by other players. At any point you can get a group together, play the story together or even apart, explore together, flashpoints and more.

GZ: We know people complained a little, but I think if they try it I think they'll be blown away.

RM: Another dimension on the story front is the companion system. People love the companions in BioWare games, like the companions in The Old Republic are very powerful. They have unique abilites, unique actions, they comment on your actions and if anything; they're like a lense to your world. They're a big part of how we tell the story and in time they'll mirror your actions back at you.