Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview

The editors at GamePro have cranked out their own preview of Star Wars: The Old Republic, courtesy of the build made available to Game Developers Conference attendees last week.
I took a seat at one of seven pimped-out PCs where a level six Republic Trooper was ready and waiting, battle rifle in hand. As a rising star in the Republic-funded special-ops task force Havoc Squad, I found myself deployed to the lush locale of Ord Mantell, tasked with infiltrating a Separatist base and disarming a deadly explosive. Before I dove into my mission, I approached a nearby NPC who, like all of the NPCs in Old Republic, was fully voiced and fluidly animated. The NPC, a snarky reporter named Lamalla Rann, shared her spite for the Separatists before asking me to help her hunt down some missing data, as well as her missing assistant. I was thrilled to see a familiar BioWare staple in a Mass Effect-inspired dialogue wheel, and as I agreed to help Lamalla and her plight, I couldn't help but wonder how this cinematic conversation could be repeated in the grand scheme of the game -- specifically with so many dialogue trees and choices at one's disposal.

"We said, 'If we're going to do story, we have to do story like BioWare does it," said Erickson. "Interactivity without choice is pointless. One thing I've always kept in my head since I was studying design was something Sid Meier said -- 'If my choice is not real and is not impactful, don't make me press a button.' It's the choices that make [the characters] real." My conversation ended, and two or three paces later, I was sharing the screen with a sword-wielding Separatist ready to throw down. Well, kind of -- The Old Republic looks great, don't get me wrong, but there are still quite a few bugs that need to be worked out; namely, enemies didn't so much as blink at my Trooper until he'd sidled up directly beside them. But after that? Well, as they say, all hell broke loose.