When will the game be available in stores?
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is available for both Xbox (since July 2003) and the PC (since November 2003).
What will be the main differences between the Xbox and PC version of the game?
The biggest difference will be in the interface design. We are fully reworking the interface for the PC version of the game to take complete advantage of the keyboard and mouse. Also, we will of course take advantage of the different video cards on the PC, as well as supporting different resolutions. [Editor: the PC version has an added space station location called Yavin, with a merchant carrying high-quality items. The area may or may not be available for download through Xbox Live at some point in the future.]
Will there be a multiplayer mode?
No, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a single player game, though downloadable content will be available through Xbox Live.
How much freedom will players have to explore, versus going through a linear storyline?
We like to strive for a perfect balance of creating a well-crafted and compelling story with the feeling of being able to really control your destiny. So, even though the game has a distinct storyline, throughout the bulk of the game you'll be able to advance that storyline by freely traveling to a number of different planets. One of the great strengths of the game is that unless you're trapped or in immediate danger, you normally have a huge area to explore however you like.
What made you decide to place Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 4000 years in the past, instead in the modern era of the Star Wars saga?
As the Star Wars timeline goes, space travel has existed for tens of thousands of years, so technology wouldn't have to be much different in this time. So, we would be able to have starships, lightsabers, and all the things that people expect from a Star Wars experience. Most importantly though, we would have tremendous freedom to create a new story, new characters, and new species that we wouldn't be able to do in the time of the movies. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the events that take place and the characters that are involved (including your character) are the most important in the galaxy at that time.
What locations will be seen?
We wanted to explore areas of the universe that were completely new. Some of the worlds have been discussed in the movies or expanded universe like Dantooine or Kashyyyk, and others are brand new like the decaying city world of Taris or the water world of Manaan. We also wanted to tie the game into the movies and allow the player to see some things that may be very familiar, so there will be several quests on Tatooine.
What events begin your character's journey, and what is the overall goal of the game?
The game starts off with a jaw-dropping cutscene in classic Star Wars style, and leads straight into the action. The Republic is under attack from an unimaginably large fleet of Sith warships controlled by Darth Malak, and is helpless against such an overwhelming force. You start out on a Republic capital ship, as its crippled hull falls into the atmosphere of Taris. You must escape the ship and look for Bastila, a young Jedi who represents the Republic's only hope against the Sith.
What character classes / races can you play?
The main player character will be human and can be played as one of three classes: soldier, scout or scoundrel. Throughout the course of the game the player will have the opportunity to become a Jedi, making available Jedi specific dual classes such as the Jedi Guardian, Jedi Consular and Jedi Sentinel. Additional races can be played by assuming control of NPCs that have joined your party. Ever wanted to experience the raw power and rage of a Wookiee? Here's your chance! In addition to playing as a variety of human classes the party system allows the player to play as a Wookiee, Twi'lek, Cathar or even a deadly assassin droid. As you can imagine, players have a wide variety of options for gameplay, but can always choose to focus on the player created character and leave the rest of the party to the game AI.
How will character generation and advancement be handled?
The rules system in the game is based on the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars D20 rules. So, players familiar with this system will find the character creation and advancement to be quite similar.
Your main character will be human (party members will be a variety of species), and you first choose your gender and class. You can be a Soldier, Scout, or Scoundrel class, but ultimately you'll develop into a Jedi class. You can then choose your character's appearance from a variety of head models and textures.
You will be able to choose your abilities, skills, and combat feats that will help customize how you play through the game. As you gain experience and start to move up in level, you will be able to improve your skills and add to your Force powers and combat feats.
Could you guide us through the character creation process?
You start by choosing your gender and class. You can be a soldier, a scoundrel or a scout. These classes each have statistical implications, and they also dictate whether your character is big and strong, small and quick, or somewhere in between. Next, you'll see a close-up of your character's face, and you can choose from a wide variety of different appearances. You'll also be able to choose a voice set for your character. Once you've decided how your character will look and sound, you can choose your name (or generate a random one).
You will be able to create a quick character and jump right into the game, or create a custom character and spend some time adjusting your stats. If you choose to create a custom character, you start by determining your character's abilities. These include things like strength, dexterity, and constitution, and will dictate how well your character is able to perform skills and feats in the game. Next, you'll determine your starting skills and feats, which give you the capability to do things like special combat moves or hacking computers. This is where you can really start customizing your gameplay experience. Throughout character creation, we have a button that will automatically assign recommended stats if you want to see a configuration that we think will work well.
How will the player be able to choose which side he or she will be on, and how much will being on the good side or the dark side affect the gameplay and storyline?
Your actions throughout the game will create momentum towards either the dark or light side of the Force. Whether you are choosing an evil thing to say, or you're satisfying a generous and heroic quest, those actions are associated with good or evil and will start to really accumulate. People that you meet in the game will start to react to things that you've done, and you can become famous (or infamous) for certain things. We take this to greater and greater extremes as you approach the end of the game, so that ultimately your actions will have a massive impact on the galaxy and the fate of the Republic.
How do I manage the characters in my party?
Sometimes when you encounter a new Non-Playable Character (NPC) the plot is such that they need to join your party right away. In such a case if your group were full, you would have to choose one member of the party that would go back to the ship and wait for you there. With those cases as the exception, you can normally only switch out your party members at the Ebon Hawk as often as you wish.
How will interaction with non-playable characters be handled?
Most of the NPC's in the game will have a fully voiced dialog tree, and you can talk to them and get information or quests. All of the NPC's that you'll see can be talked to, although some of them may not want to bother with you! The dialog in the game is fully voice recorded.
What weapons and Force powers do you have?
There are 44 Force powers separated into offensive, defensive and enhancement Force powers. Some of the aggressive Force powers are Choke, Lightning and Whirlwind. Some of the defensive powers include Force shield, Energy resistance and Heal. Enhancement powers include Burst of Speed and Master focus. Whenever a Jedi gains a level a new Force power can be selected. The more powerful Force powers have prerequisites and level limitations. For example, Force Storm requires that the Jedi already know how to use Shock and Lighting as well as being 15th level.
There are many different kinds of weapons in the game, but of course light sabers are very popular. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that light sabers not only look amazing but also come in a variety of different forms. For example, players will see the double bladed light saber made popular by Darth Maul in Episode I. In a unique twist, the player's light saber is not simply a found item in the game, but rather is constructed from items and crystals discovered in game play. The player will be further able to customize his or her light saber in the Ebon Hawk's machine shop by changing out crystals found throughout the game. Each light saber can have three different crystals: one crystal determines the color of the saber, while the other two crystals modify the energy output. Some crystals enhance the light saber's ability to cut through steel and thus do more damage against droids. Some crystals widen the beam of the saber making it easier to deflect blaster bolts, while other crystals simply improve the energy output all around, making for a more powerful weapon. In addition to light sabers, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic contains numerous other weapons including a variety of blasters, pistols, bladed weapons, rifles, grenades, disruptors, bow casters and many, many more that also come in dual wield and two handed forms. Combat is clearly an important part of the game and one that we want to make as personal to the player as possible!
What colors of lightsabers will there be?
You can customize your lightsaber on the Ebon Hawk. There are three crystal slots in the lightsaber and many different crystals that you can fit into those three slots. The crystals determine the color and attributes of the lightsaber. By putting in more powerful crystals you can change the properties of your lightsaber, as well as alter the color. The basic colors are Blue, Gold, Green and Red.
How will combat work?
The combat will be rules-based and realtime. That means you will issue the main actions you want your character and party members to take, and they will perform those actions based on their stats. Since you have a huge number of Force powers, combat feats, weapons, and items to use in combat, in addition to the challenge of controlling a party of 3 characters, there is a ton of things to do during combat. The overall result is that the combat is quite strategic, but it plays out very fast, as though you were seeing an action sequence from a movie.
What will the cutscenes be like?
There will be many cutscenes in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic because we want the game to be a very cinematic experience, where you feel like you're inside a Star Wars movie, but you're in complete control of what happens.
There are many different types of cutscenes in the game too, but it will be difficult to tell them apart. They all flow quite seamlessly from one type to the next. For example, the dialog in the game is experienced through a cutscene system, which looks like a letterboxed movie. During those dialog scenes, characters animate, speak, and even lip-synch their words. There is also a large number of cutscenes that involve things in the game world such as scripted events or dramatic scenes that are happening elsewhere in the galaxy.
Some of the most stunning cutscenes though, are the ones of the colossal war going on in space. Combined with Jeremy Soule's musical score and sound effects from LucasArts the cutscenes will be an extremely compelling part of the game.
What kinds of mini-games will there be?
We have added several mini-games, to give players the fast-paced and visceral part of the Star Wars experience that you normally wouldn't be able to do within the context of an RPG engine. So, when your ship is attacked by Sith fighters, you'll be able to hop in the gun turret and blast them yourself. Also, you'll be able to engage in illegal races with modified swoop racers on a number of worlds.
We've also added a card game called Pazzak, so that you can gamble with characters throughout the game. It's somewhat of a collectible card game, so you'll be able to find new cards throughout the game that will help you play better against your next opponent. This mini-game alone has proven to be lots of fun, so we think that it will be a nice diversion for people to be able to try some different types of gameplay within the overall experience.