Star Wars: The Old Republic Post-mortem and Interview, "More Innovative Than Comparable Action/FPS Games"

The positive reactions from the press concerning Star Wars: The Old Republic most likely haven't disappointed the folks at BioWare Austin, although the criticism concerning the game's lack of originality hasn't been taken particularly well, judging by some comments James Ohlen, the title's game director, made to Eurogamer in this post-mortem dedicated to the Star Wars-based MMO:
"It's been a little bit of an unfair characterisation," SWTOR game director James Ohlen remarked to Eurogamer. "Because if you look at other game genres, if you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years.

"If you look at real-time strategy games, they kept the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true mechanics that existed for 20 years. Same with adventure games, same with platformers, same with fighting games, sports games.

"I don't know why the MMORPG genre is not considered to be a genre," Ohlen shrugged. "It could be that World of Warcraft has dominated for so long that people just think of it as just a single game genre.

"But it is a genre, and we wanted to appeal to fans of that genre - we don't want to turn them away by making something that's radically different. And we wanted to take the lessons that have been developed in that genre over years and years and years and basically refine them, much like other companies do with other genres.

"So, I don't know, it's just the way it is, but I don't see us as not being innovative. We're actually a lot more innovative within the MMO space than comparable games in other spaces like the first-person genre, the action genre - games like that."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun also has an interview with him, which mostly deals with the title's launch and the planned update for next week:
RPS: How do you think the launch has gone?

James Ohlen: Really, really well. The servers have stood up, we've got a population spread across the entire game. The targets in terms of how fast players are running through the content, they're hitting it at about the rate we want. Obviously we had a small percentage of players at the very beginning who were able to race through the content in record time, but we knew that going in, because those were the guys from the beta who had planned out a path from beginning to end, so they could be the first. In terms of subscribers, it keeps on growing every day. We've got very positive word of mouth. I'm confident in saying it's going to be BioWare's biggest game yet, in terms of how successful it's going to be.


RPS: You mentioned the smooth launch. I think, server queues aside, it's been recognised as the smoothest MMO launch they've seen. What did you guys do to prepare for that?

Ohlen: Actually, we server queues, we knew we were going to have them, and we expected them at different points, because you don't want to be in the situation where the population is spread across too many servers, because then they'll feel empty. You have to have a critical mass of players on each server, which means that there's going to be queues. But with the smooth launch, I think the main thing there was, it was in BioWare's and EA's best interest that if we're going to be taken seriously, we had to come across as a AAA massive multiplayer. And the fact is, there really has been only one other AAA MMO in the last decade or so, and that was World Of Warcraft. I guess Rift was also a pretty good launch this year as well. You saw Rift do well because it had such a good launch. So it's a lesson learned. If you have a good launch, players are going to trust you, and not screw up the world, and if you don't do that you're probably not going to succeed.