The Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic

On the Old Republic's launch day, Gamasutra offers an expansive "making of" feature, with a lot of quotes from lead designer James Ohlen, writing director Daniel Erickson, and BioWare head Greg Zeschuk.  An excerpt:
Zeschuk explains that, as with most BioWare games, the developer tends to start out with a set of goals they want to achieve. In this case, "we knew we wanted to insert a story -- a BioWare hallmark -- into the MMO space, but we didn't know exactly how we would do it. For example, we didn't necessarily plan to voice absolutely everything in the game in our initial plans but, along the way, it became pretty clear to us that would be the best outcome for the players by delivering the best story. What that forced was a fair amount of work redoing character faces and making sure they held up well on close-ups."

"Even though it hadn't been the plan, we ended up with more than 40 companion characters, each with their own dialogue and their own quests," Erickson says. "Originally we thought we were going to do a small set of companion characters and all eight classes were going to share them.

"It just didn't work out that way, mainly because companion characters at BioWare have always grown very naturally out of the plot. The one ambitious thing we knew we were going to do were the eight different class stories... a separate story for each class that runs all the way through the entire game, from beginning to end. That's something that I don't think has ever been seen in an RPG, except maybe for the origin stories in Dragon Age."

So, in theory, SWTOR's story can be played all the way through eight times, each time enabling the player to work their way through a full trilogy.

"To give you an idea of how big these stories are, Chapter I of the bounty hunter is longer than the entire old Knights of the Old Republic," says Erickson. "And then there's Chapters II and III. If, after that, you go and re-roll on, say, the Republic side, you won't see a single piece of repeated content, not one line of voiceover, nothing."