Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Blog

Star Wars: The Old Republic senior writer Alexander Freed gives us a better idea of what we should expect from the Imperial Agent class in a new blog entry on the game's official website.
One of our goals for the Imperial Agent was to take a fresh look at the Star Warsâ„¢ universe. We know what life is like for Jedi and Sith, smugglers and bounty hunters but what does it mean to be a citizen of the Empire, charged with protecting its people and bringing glory to its Sith rulers? What does it take to be part of a military machine not as a soldier on the front lines or a scheming Grand Moff, but as a player in politics and espionage? What sort of person navigates a galaxy of superweapons and superhumans with only his training and his wits, knowing that one wrong word could mean secrets exposed and wars lost? What's the ultimate goal for such an individual? Power? Thrills? Or simply an Empire safe from its enemies?

The Imperial Agent is an unusual class in that it doesn't neatly fit a specific Star Wars movie archetype. Oh, espionage clearly has a role in the setting in the original trilogy alone, we see stolen Death Star plans, mysterious cloaked informants, good-hearted businessmen blackmailed into betraying old friends, infiltration teams flying salvaged enemy ships, and more but the operatives themselves are rarely front-and-center. In a game with the scope of Star Warsâ„¢: The Old Republicâ„¢, however, creating a class to deal directly with this setting element seemed natural.

That addresses the (agent) part of the class. But why (Imperial)? We see a lot of loyal officers of the Empire in the films without getting inside their heads. Grand Moff Tarkin is the only character Darth Vader ever treats as an equal he can stare Darth Vader down even as Vader violently chokes people around him. But why? How does an ordinary man like Tarkin come to (hold Vader's leash,) and how would a lower-ranking officer ever survive a Sith's wrath? Is it by proving yourself invaluable, or by having a secret edge your superiors can't beat?

There's also a lot to be explored in the role of the defender of a despotic nation. The Sith Empire has done terrible things, yes but trillions of ordinary Imperial citizens believe in its cause. The Empire isn't mired in the chaos and mediocrity of the democratic Republic. The Empire promises that great men will rise to the top, and lesser men can be proud to serve. Many Imperial Intelligence officers are genuinely patriotic, believers in the system. and others are jaded, self-serving or idealistic reformers. If we were going to create a game where half our stories take place from the Imperial perspective, we needed a class that dived deep into the Imperial story.