Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Blog

LucasArts audio director Orion Kellogg is the latest contributor to the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website, with his developer blog taking us through the complexities of creating compelling sound, music, and voiceovers for a Star Wars game of this magnitude.
Understanding that combat is really the bread and butter of any MMO, we've been focusing on bringing choreographed, action-packed Star Wars combat to The Old Republic. All eight of our character classes allow players to fill the boots of a different Star Wars archetype and, as such, there are hundreds of weapons in the game ranging from lightsabers to blaster rifles to cannons, even flamethrowers. As rewards and character progression are tied so closely to the gear that you're picking up, it's vital that an early-level weapon sound substantially different from a punchier later-level version of the same. The sheer volume of different items and the player demand for weapons that will stand out from the pack has also given us the creative freedom to augment our traditional (pew pew) blaster rifles with more outside-the box variants that will surprise players and intimidate their foes. Lightsabers in particular are a great chance for exploration with every flavor of traditional (vwooooms) combining with truly unique and bass-heavy sabers that will give a terrifying Sith Warrior a rush of power. We're taking traditional sound effects and then tweaking them in dozens of different ways, pulling the most out of the source material provided by KOTOR veteran Julian Kwasneski and taking the sound variety to a new level. As these weapons combine with sizzling Force powers like Force Lightning and crunching specials like Stock Strike, the resulting sound combinations are as dynamic and varied as any weapon system I've heard in an MMO.

To that end, the worlds you'll be exploring are wild and dangerous places, filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. Every creature type is being individually scored to ensure that you're not hearing the same Tuk'ata snarl over and over again. You'll hear gundarks come to life, feel yourself tense as a nexu catches your scent, and wince as an acklay lays into you with a vicious critical hit. It's important that we be smart about not only what player does hear, but also what the player doesn't: you'll hear lightning in the distant skies of Dromund Kaas and the squish of swamp beneath your feet, but the audio will never drown out ambience or tension.