The Challenge of Creating Star Wars The Old Republic
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The Challenge of Creating Star Wars The Old Republic

Published by: Nigoola (23)
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I think that it’s gone really well. When people are reviewing Star Wars: The Old Republic or commenting on it, it’s almost universally positive when it comes to the storytelling, the ability to make choices in the story, and the companion characters. When we do internal polling and get test data feedback from our players, players two favorite parts of the game are always story choice and characters. I think we focused on it and were successful and people are also enjoying those additions to the online space. It has helped that it’s differentiated us from the other online games out there, so that’s been really useful.

It’s probably the most challenging project Bioware has ever done or that I have ever worked on. I would maybe call it the most challenging project ever published because the scope of the game is immense and we have so many different worlds and some of those worlds are huge. We have hundreds of thousands of lines of dialogue. We have tens of thousands of characters. There are hundreds of hours of gameplay. That’s a lot of game creation you have to do. There are so many art assets, so many stories to write, so many voices to record, so many events to script. The other challenge was to live up to and push beyond the expectations that MMO games like World of WarCraft have created. Players aren’t going to understand if you don’t have industry standard features. It’s been a big challenge making sure that we can put in all of those features into our game at game launch or shortly thereafter. Whenever you’re building a game from scratch, which is the case with Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re not building off of some existing Bioware engine. We had to build a large engine, which is always a challenge.

It didn’t really impact us. We felt, and we still feel, that there is a place for subscription-based games and if you’re going to build a subscription-based game it’s got to be huge in scope. People have to feel that it’s worth paying a subscription fee every month, so the scope of the game has to be much bigger than the free-to-play games. The quality, the polish has to be very, very high, and then you need to have a plan to continue to deliver free content on a regular basis. If you do those things, I think you can succeed as a subscription-based game. Obviously, there can only be a few subscription-based games. There is a limited MMO audience and not a ton of that audience is playing more than one MMO, but I still think there’s room for more than just one really successful online game. I think Star Wars: The Old Republic can coexist with World of Warcraft and other successful games like Rift. You can have multiple MMOs with a subscription being successful as long as those games fulfill the requirements of high quality, good polish, lots of content, and continuing to do high value updates on a regular basis.

We have multiple ways that we can get feedback from our fan base. We have quantum metrics on what our players are doing, where they’re spending most of their time, how often and where they’re dying, how often they are playing war zones, etc. I get reports from our community on what the tops concerns within the community are so I can see what is the community really worried about or upset about at any given moment. We also do surveys within the game. We get players to talk about the game and explain what they like and what they don’t like. We take all that information and it does help inform what we’re going to do for the next major game updates and even further in the future wanting to do for expansions.

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