Outlaws

 

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For single-player gameplay, there were three options: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. (Come on, who doesn’t like Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns?) ~Dan Epp

 Outlaws

The background story in Outlaws revolved around retired U.S. Marshal James Anderson, who lives an idyllic life with his beautiful wife and only child.  Idyllic, that is, until his opposition to selling his land to a nasty railroad baron (weren’t they all nasty?) brings about the death of his beloved wife Anna and the abduction of his daughter, Sarah.  The adventure began with Anderson burying his wife, digging up his shotgun, and heading off to find his daughter and take his revenge.  “Dyin’s too good for ‘em,” the game’s tagline said, and after watching the introduction, you’re rooting for ex-Marshall Anderson to show them all what that means.

Outlaws - LucasArts Entertainment - PC Gameplay Screenshot-2

Outlaws was a first-person shooter style game using a modified version of the Dark Forces game engine, and although the game’s storyline was focused on single-player gameplay, the game also featured a robust multiplayer mode.  Players could choose to play up to six of the main characters within the game: ex-Marshall Anderson, Matt “Dr. Death” Jackson (who killed the Marshall’s wife), “Bloody” Mary Nash, “Gentleman” Bob Graham (the railroad baron), “Spittin” Jack Sanchez, and Chief Two-Feathers, with advantages and disadvantages for each.

Outlaws - LucasArts Entertainment - PC Gameplay Screenshot-3

For single-player gameplay, there were three options: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. (Come on, who doesn’t like Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns?)  The differences between the options were in how much damage Anderson could take from gunshot wounds; in Good mode, the player could walk Anderson into a spray of bullets with only minor consequences, in Ugly mode the ex-Marshall might be able to withstand one or two shots, but certainly no more than that – so no wading into a gunfight firing at will.

Outlaws - LucasArts Entertainment - PC Gameplay Screenshot-4

The graphics for Outlaws were the standard 800×600 mode, which by today’s standard would be bulky, but were more than adequate in 1997.  LucasArts also added Glide and Direct3D support on a later patch, which helped extend the game’s shelf life as better technology was released.  The animated cutscenes were quite unique, as they were run through a special filter to make them appear to be hand-drawn, which really helped add to the game’s atmosphere.

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In addition to the main game, LucasArts included a set of five single-player missions that led the player through the early career of the ex-Marshall.   Each mission’s goal was the capture (preferred) or execution of a wanted outlaw on the run.  With each successful completion, Anderson is promoted, eventually earning his Deputy, Sheriff, and Marshall badges.  LucasArts also released a set of four missions on their website which they called, a “Handful of Missions,” in keeping with the spaghetti western motif.  These missions are stand alone gameplay, unconnected to the original storyline.  (Game companies that give you free extras are always tops in my books).

Unfortunately, despite the great gameplay, Outlaws did not perform well commercially.  It is forever a niche product (similar to Grim Fandango), which holds a special place in the hearts of those who played it.   Outlaws is another forgotten classic that deserves to be dusted off and enjoyed by retrogamers everywhere!

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

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Nothing like dangling a storm trooper over the edge of cliff using force grip or throwing him halfway across the map! ~James Hare

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

[infobox color=”blue”]Released: Sep 2003 (PC) Developer: Raven Software Publisher: LucasArts & Activision Genre: 1st/3rd Person Action Shooter [/infobox]

Decided to dust off Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and see who still played it online, I was surprised to see quite a few people still do so I thought why not play through from start to finish. By the time I gotten to my favorite part of the game (choosing between the light path and the dark path) I realized I’d never actually completed the ‘light path’ version of the storyline. All done but I still prefer the dark side ending.

Either way I realized how well this game has lasted for its age, the game play is still as fun and exciting and the lightsaber combat second to none. I’m still in awe of the amount of customization you were able to do (back in the day of course) on your character in a game that is a first/third-person shooter and not an RPG. It was developed by Raven Software and published, distributed and marketed by LucasArts in North America and by Activision in the rest of the world.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

You play as Jaden Korr, (a character you can customize to be male/female, human, twi’lek etc) a padawan who is travelling to Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy on Yavin IV, along with other new Jedi hopefuls. Kyle Katarn, (the reluctant Jedi you played as in Jedi Outcast) returns as a mentor at the Academy and becomes your master. However your ship is attacked and crashes into the planet, leaving Jaden and one other student, Rosh Penin, to make their way to the academy on foot.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

 

Story

The storyline revolves around solving several questions related to this attack at the start of the game. From here you take on several missions, mostly with Kyle to begin with to find these answers and soon discover that a dark jedi called Tavion (Dessans apprentice in Jedi Outcast) is behind the attacks. Tavion is attempting to resurrect the spirit of dark sith lord Marka Ragnos by using his sceptre to drain dark force energy from locations across the galaxy. On each subsequent mission after the training you set about finding out more about the cult, battling with dark Jedi, the remnant and a few bounty hunters along the way.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

The options of customizing your character does not end at physical appearance, you are able to specialize and train in a selection of different force abilities, light and dark. You start out with eight core force powers; pull, push etc which are automatically upgraded every time you return to the academy after missions. There are also eight advanced force powers to choose from (4 on the light side and 4 on the dark) the light side abilities are; absorb, protection, heal, and mind trick. The dark side powers include life drain, force lightning, force grip, and rage. You receive a point when you complete a mission (each power has three levels of improvement) and you can distribute it in any of these eight powers at the start of the next mission.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Personally force grip and heal are the powers of choice to get up to maximum level, and whether you choose the light or dark path nearer the end of the game (each with its own ending) you can have as many of the dark side powers as you like. Nothing like dangling a storm trooper over the edge of cliff using force grip or throwing him halfway across the map!

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Jedi Academy captures the excitement of lightsaber combat perfectly and not to far into the game allows the player to select between single, dual or a staff lightsaber. The problem with Jedi Outcast was the amount of tedious levels you had to play before you got your lightsaber, in this game you have it from the start and can customize it to your liking. I tend to favor dual lightsabers in green and purple, I have no idea why. After completing the single player I was actually surprised when I logged into multiplayer to find servers still running and being played online.

Usually by now they’ve been taken over by bots and the odd nostalgic gamer but these were very full and active. Good times. The game itself is relatively easy to complete (mainly due to the lack of good AI in the enemy) and even has the option of avoiding harder missions if you choose too. Some of the better levels involve locations or characters from the movies. The Hoth mission is particularly good and the fight with Bobba Fett is awesome (although I feel they could have done more with this level).

Star-Wars-Jedi-Knight-Jedi-Academy

Jedi Academy is a great game and still worth revisiting. It is still highly playable in single and multiplayer mode and has plenty to offer in the way of character customization and mission/weapon selection. I love the choice of the light or dark path nearer the end of the game as it actually evokes real emotions in the player and for the situation the characters are in.

All I can say is the dark side path isn’t easier by a long way. The sound effects, music and voice acting really add a great atmosphere to the game and an extra dimension to the characters. Jeff Bennett returns to voice Kyle Katarn and Jennifer Hale and Philip Tanzini provide the female and male voices of Jaden Korr, with some great supporting voice artists Bob Bergen, Kath Soucie and Cam Clarke.

[You can find Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Stream]

Grim Fandango

Grim-Fandango - PC

Grim Fandango

Tim Schafer is best known lately for the Doublefine Adventure Kickstarter project where he managed to get and spend a-ton of money for the development of his upcoming adventure game called Broken Age. But Tim Schafer’s greatest success in my honest opinion was and always will be Grim Fandango, an amazing game that didn’t manage to sell all that well when it was first released back in 1998.
What is Grim Fandango
Grim-Fandango - PC
Grim Fandango is a 3D Adventure Game with a Film Noir art-style inspired from the Mexican holiday “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead)  and it comes from the good old LucasArts era. It is Manny Calavera’s  4-year journey through the land of the dead to reach the 9th underworld where all the dead souls go to find eternal peace.
Why it is great
Grim-Fandango - PC
This game has an atmosphere unlike any other game I have ever played. The environments are great, the dialogues are amazing, the story is cool, the characters are interesting, the jokes are funny and Glottis is not too big the cars are just too small!
Where can you get it
Grim-Fandango - PC
It is a pretty difficult game to find, since during it’s release it didn’t sell all that much.
I have however found that there are some copies of Grim Fandango being sold on amazon for rediculous prices but can also be found used at ebay.
If you are interested in this game (and you should be) you can find it below:

Ebay – Grim Fandango

Amazon – Grim Fandango

“A ticket on the number 9 is like a leaf of gold Manuel”
Salvador Limones

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

knights-of-the-old-republic
The 2000’s were a disappointing decade for Star Wars fans. The old movies were just getting more old, the books were doing a little good, but the prequel movies failed to impress many fans of the older movies. However there was one shining light that might have been as good as the first time you got to see Empire Strikes Back. That game was Knights of the Old Republic.
knights-of-the-old-republic

The combat was probably the weakest thing about KOTOR, which isn’t probably a bad thing when the quest was so long, the characters so memorable, and a story that dragged on you for the ride. Republic solider Carth, Jedi Bastila, alien teenager Mission, her wookie Zaalbar, weird cat lady Juhani, and the evil droid HK-47 all have their deep but interesting back-stories, and provide memorable parts to the main plot. The Sith Lord Dark Malak made the first really great Star Wars villain since Darth Vader.

Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic - xbox - gameplay screenshot - 2
You’re looking at a game they could easily give you 30-50 hours of gameplay without boredom or parts that you have to stomach so you can get to the goodness. That alone warrants itself a place on my list. However not only that, it helped revive the quality in the Star Wars franchise, put Bioware in the spotlight, and was so good that we couldn’t stand much of the 2nd game developed by Obsidian Entertainment even though it was a good game in itself but not compared to the original.

Star Wars: Battlefront II

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As a fan of Star Wars, there was no way I couldn’t get this game. It was like that Battlefield1942 game I heard about but with light-sabers and shit.  Basically that was the concept and it worked well. You could play as low level storm troopers, Jedi, Sith, even Wookies were fair play. Some more balanced than others, but lots of fan service especially the Jedi and Sith characters to play as. The single player mode was a decent affair. Lots of action, good variety in missions, and probably the better of the two modes when it came to ship combat.
The multi-player had it’s problems, but it was a blast. Being a Jedi, or Sith made you feel over-powered, but you had to earn it, and it was a real challenge to beat one of the juggernauts.  The connection speeds could’ve been a bit faster, and even after the game was super-old you still had to pay for a map pack that would kick you out of certain matchmaking’s  I’m sad to see that they haven’t made a real sequel yet I don’t believe, it could defiantly use some HD returning  tweaks, and improvements.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

If there was one axiom in the PC gaming world back in the 1990′s, it was that LucasArts produced incredible adventure games.  So many went on to become cherised memories in the minds of gamers, such as The Secret of Monkey Island,Loom, and Day of the Tentacle, but also the subject of this edition of the Game of the Week: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis box front.

Fate of Atlantis was a superb Indiana Jones game because it featured all the aspects of an archetypal Indy adventure.  To begin with, Indy fought and competed against Nazi.  ”Nazis. I hate these guys.”  The best Indiana Jones stories cast Hitler’s ever-dangerous forces and sympathizers as the good professor’s main antagonists.  After all, who doesn’t hate the Nazis?  (I mean, besides extremist fringe political groups.)  They’re the quintessential villains for the time period: efficient, brutal, and seemingly omnipresent.  The second major aspect is the need for Indy to be on a quest for an artifact of extreme potency.  Finding an object to match the mystery and sheer majesty of the Ark of the Covenant or the Cup of Christ required shifting the religious overtones from traditional sources to the New Age movement.  Incorporating the alien, time-lost feel of the ultimate symbol of New Age mysticism, the lost city/continent of Atlantis, was a brilliant decision, and gave the game the same epic feel of the movies.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Splash page for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

The man responsible for the Fate of Atlantis’ adherence to the Indy mythos was Hal Barwood.  Barwood had a broad background working in the film industry, including being credited for writing Stephen Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, co-producing the box office flop/cult classic Dragonslayer, and writing the Gregory Peck World War II movie, MacArthur.  However, Barwood had a much more limited computer game background, having been involved in the production of a mere two titles (as “Special Guest Film Director” on The Secret of Monkey Island, and mysteriously credited as “Works like crazy!” on Monkey Island 2).  Still, LucasArts needed someone who thought in cinematic terms, so regardless of his relative inexperience in PC game design, Barwood was given the Big Chair for their next Indiana Jones project.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Exploring the ruins in Fate of Atlantis.

Barwood showed his good judgment immediately upon receiving the script for the yet to be titled Indiana Jones game.  The script was originally submitted as a potential movie script for a fourth Indiana Jones film, but had been rejected.  Barwood realized that the rejection was sound, as he stated, “It was rejected for a reason, though, and I thought it was hopeless.”  He and his co-designer, Noah Falstein, “marched down to George’s wonderful research library and started thumbing through Dark Mysteries of the Past -type coffee table books.”  There they came across an artist’s rendition of Atlantis, and immediately realized its potential as a game setting.  From there they decided that the game’s version of Atlantis needed to have some grounding in our reality, so they “decided to fasten on Plato’s reality to give the thing legitimacy.”  And with that as the foundation, Barwood proceeded to write out the plot of the game, birthing a true gaming classic in the process.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Atlantis as described by Plato in Timæus and Critias.

In some ways Fate of Atlantis was a typical LucasArts adventure, but in other ways, atypical.  The game used the SCUMM game engine (first used in Maniac Mansion, hence the abbreviation for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion).  It used 256-color VGA graphics, and had an outstanding audio score.  (Later versions would include digitized voices, and an inspired Indiana Jones sound-alike performance byDoug Lee.) Further, players traveled throughout a vast game world (200+ locations) searching for objects that helped solve a variety of puzzles.  Yet the differences Fate of Atlantis showed were remarkable.  For instance, unlike games such as Loom or The Secret of Monkey Island, the wrong decision in Fate of Atlantis could result in Indy’s death.  This was an interesting departure from the LucasArts Canon (detailed quite eloquently and yet most verbosely by Ron Gilbert in a 1989 missive, reprinted here).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Magazine ad for Fate of Atlantis.

Another key difference was that Fate of Atlantis included a multipath scenario for gameplay, which was originally envisioned by Noah Falstein, but left to Hal Barwoodto implement.  These paths had different playing styles, unique puzzles and situations, differing game world locations, and even alternate cutscenes.  The game paths had titles which indicated their favored strategies: the Fists Path, containing plenty of fist-fighting and an emphasis on action; the Team Path, which involved Indy adventuring with the game’s female love interest, Sophia Hapgood, and treated her as a kind of in-game hint book; and the Wits Path, which de-emphasized the action in favor of more and more complex puzzles to solve.  This was not a completely user-driven game world, however, as Fate of Atlantis always began and ended in the same way, with the option to select one of the three paths coming somewhat in the middle of the game.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Onboard a Nazi U-Boat in Fate of Atlantis.

Of course, even before Fate of Atlantis was released, Indiana Jones was already a cultural phenomenon.  There had been three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and at the time of Fate of Atlantis’ release, a television series was in its first year of production (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles).  Games based on the movies had been released on several platforms, including Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom in 1984 (C64), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1987 (AmigaApple IIAtari ST, C64, DOS), Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients in 1987 (Apple II, DOS), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game in 1989 (C64, DOS, Atari ST, Amiga), andIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh).  In other words, this was a franchise with both a solid history and strong fan base.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

A Fist Fight in Fate of Atlantis!

Fate of Atlantis was released on several platforms, with versions for MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, and FM Towns. As you can imagine, releasing the game on several gaming platforms ensured its best-seller status, selling over a 1 million copies (with the obvious caveat that the game was also good).  Fate of Atlantis was not only a hit among the buying public – it garnered many accolades among game critics, including “Best Adventure Game of the Year”  by Computer Game Review, a solid 90% game review from Amiga Power, and was even named #93 in the 150 Best Games of All Time list in 1996 by Computer Gaming World (CGW).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indy swinging into action in Fate of Atlantis.

Ultimately, all the awards and positive reviews are meaningless if they don’t convince you to play the game – and enjoy it.  Yes, the graphics are dated compared to today’s 3-D visual masterpieces with photo-realistic images, but if you’re a retrogamer, the graphics aren’t your chief concern, the gameplay is.  And Fate of Atlantis delivers great gameplay with a professionally written story that immerses you into what could have easily been the fourth Indiana Jones movie script.  Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is highly recommended, and clearly deserving of its Game of the Week honor!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_98IcvoTI[/youtube]

Magisterrex has been gaming since the days of Pong and still owns a working Atari 2600. He tends to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games.  If you’re into classic old school gaming check out his blog here

Legacy: Star Wars Update 1.2

star wars legacy patch notes 1.2

We finally get word that the legacy system will be launched in April and some new flashpoints and warzones. The funny thing is the talk about the free friend trial. Sure, every big MMO has it, but it is telling with the latest news about subscriptions to Star Wars TOR. Will these changes keep you playing or bring you back?

Here is the official press release:

Build your legacy in the Star Wars™ galaxy! Continuing to deliver compelling new content for eager Star Wars™: The Old Republic players, EA, BioWare and LucasArts today revealed Game Update 1.2 — Legacy. Going live in April 2012, Legacy will introduce new high level group content and community-requested features including PvP Warzone Rankings and Guild Banks, along with enhancements to the game’s innovative Legacy system. This update also provides improved UI customization as well as gameplay fixes and the latest optimizations to combat balance. Also today, BioWare announced Star Wars: The Old Republic’s “Friends Trial*” program, allowing subscribers to invite as many as three of their friends for a seven-day free game trial.

“Prior to release, our main priority for Star Wars: The Old Republic was to deliver a high quality game and service, right from day one,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Now that we’ve achieved that, we have shifted our focus to adding more content to the game and improving and refining the experience for our fans. Legacy is our biggest update yet and a great example of the kind of content players can expect for the months and years ahead.”

Game Update 1.2 presents the next evolution of the Legacy system. Players can now link their different characters together into a single family tree, giving them the power to unlock and share special Legacy-only abilities. Players can further customize new characters by unlocking different species from any class in their family tree. The Legacy system also provides fun new convenience items for player ships, including an on-board mailbox and Galactic Trade Network terminal. Companion Character affection and moral alignment will also benefit from Legacy bonuses, giving players even more control over their crew mates.

Beyond the much-anticipated game features like improved UI customization, PvP Warzone Rankings, Guild Banks and valuable new in-game items, the Legacy update will introduce challenging new high-level content for both experienced and new players to enjoy: 

Game Update 1.2: New Content:

  • Flashpoint: Lost Island continues the Kaon Under Siege Flashpoint from Game Update 1.1 – Rise of the Rakghouls. Players must survive a menacing island of mystery on Ord Mantell as they hunt for clues to the Rakghoul virus outbreak that ravaged the Tion Hegemony. But the answers to this riddle may prove fatal!
  • Operation: Explosive Conflict sends groups of eight or sixteen Imperial or Republic players to a new zone on the planet of Denova, where traitors and mercenaries are selling the rare explosive mineral baradium to the highest bidder. Players will battle through hordes of Droids, mercenaries and deadly creatures all fighting for control of the planet and its valuable resources.
  • Warzone:  Novare Coast pits two teams in an epic battle to control multiple mortar locations and use them to bombard vulnerable enemy bases. Like the Huttball Warzone, Novare Coast can be played Republic vs. Empire or with players of the same faction fighting each other in a thrilling contest of wills to determine each side’s greatest champions.

Beginning tomorrow, March 6, current subscribers can start inviting their friends to join the galactic conflict as part of the Friends Trial* program for Star Wars: The Old Republic. For a limited time, current subscribers will have the opportunity to send an invitation to friends who have not played the game and who do not have an active, inactive or former Star Wars: The Old Republic game account. This trial experience will give new players seven days of free access to reach level 15 across all eight classes and experience the thrilling stories that make Star Wars: The Old Republic a unique MMO experience (some gameplay restrictions will apply). Trial members will also receive a limited time offer to purchase the digital version of Star Wars: The Old Republic on Origin.com at a special promotional price.

For more information on Game Update 1.2: Legacy and the Friends of Star Wars: The Old Republic Trial program please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Public Beta

Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures logo
Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures logo

While at E3 earlier this year I got a chance to play Clone Wars Adventures and while it is true the game was made for a younger audience it was a fun play. Currently you can give it a try by heading over to their Public Beta page and signing up.

Here is their press release:

Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts are looking for video game enthusiasts of all ages and fans of the Star Wars®: The Clone WarsTM animated television series on Cartoon Network to be the first to get hands-on in the open BETA testing that begins today for Star Wars®: Clone Wars AdventuresTM. Get a sneak peak of the highly anticipated free-to-play online virtual world and provide feedback to help put the finishing touches on the final game scheduled to be released later this year on September 15th.

The ultimate virtual destination for a new generation of Star Wars fans, Clone Wars Adventures is an action-packed virtual world where players can go online to experience fun minigames, daily activities, events, rewards, lively social environments and competition. Clone Wars Adventures lets players duel iconic adversaries with their own custom Lightsaber, speed through the galaxy in a custom Starfighter, defeat enemies and take down starships.

Clone Wars Adventures is a free-to-play game, but players who want to take the galactic action to the next level can purchase a monthly Membership subscription for $5.99, while a variety of epic items can also be purchased through Station Cash® micro-transactions. The Clone Wars Adventures Galactic Passport is scheduled to be available at thousands of retail locations in North America later this fall and will include a 90-day membership, 500 Station Cash, the ability to unlock the Togruta playable character, a Yoda monitor topper, and more.

Sean Vanaman: Telltale Games

Tell Tale Games logo

Name: Sean Vanaman

Company: Telltale Games

Profession: Designer

Favorite Classic Game: Full Throttle

Quote: It’s a murder mystery about rival biker gangs with themes of loss and the ending of eras, set against the backdrop of the American southwest — albeit a bizarre version of it with flying cars. Also, you get to hit guys in the face with a 2×4 while riding a chopper. This type of fantasy is why we play games, and why I got into making adventure gamers.


What’s going on with Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Star Wars The Old Republic logo
Star Wars The Old Republic logo

Plenty, Jake Neri gave an interview to MMORPG in it he began talking about the development process and how they know there are a lot of expectations for the release of SWTOR. One of their main goals, he said, is keeping balance between the classes and it is something they understand is an ongoing process. He also stated one of the things they want to continue to improve on is the animation and cinematic quality of combat to make sure that overall you get the full Star Wars cinematic experience when playing the game.

On lore Jake talked about the benefits and challenges to having their own timeline. They are working closely with continuity experts to make sure they are moving in the right direction and not breaking any cannon.

As for how the game will impact the playerbase Mr. Neri said the following:

“We always start with the element of story and intertwining that into every mechanic that you have an expectation for. There are certain things in the MMO space that are important to deliver on because if you don’t you will alienate a player base. There are certain things that we won’t try to revolutionize, we’ll try to do to a AAA level, but we’re not going to impress your readers with a new amazing auction mechanic. Laughs. Those things are already done well in MMOs. So we are making sure we focus our time on areas that are compelling to the player base and reader base. Things like, hardcore folks want to know how the combat is going to be? Is it going to be epic? Will it feel interesting? We are putting a lot of emphasis on making sure people have a compelling experience from beginning to end. Also, that they have reasons to continue playing at the end, because of the fact that the classes are balanced and interesting and that they are Star Wars. That is one of the things I cannot impress enough upon people. With our classes we are trying to deliver the Star Wars fantasy of those classes. We think that has been ultimately successful in the movies. People have fantasized and dreamed about and created their own fan fiction and fan lifestyles around those classic archetypes and we want to deliver that in the game. We think if we do, that is something that no other MMO can have. So right there we have a huge pillar to stand on.

We understand that for some hardcore MMO fans they may or may not like the story, but we do feel like that is something that will be compelling and interesting that we will continue to work on to give players reasons to go through it and benefit from it with your character and your story. I think those are things that we are looking to do. We are looking to create the Star Wars fantasy at a high level in the end game for players. That is something we really want to do. We want to have activities that keep you interested, keep you coming back, keep you busy that feel like experiences in a Star Wars movie. That is a huge goal. It is set in a different era, you know we’re not in the movie time line, but it is reminiscent in what you know and that is a huge benefit for us. We’re going to try and do that and do it really well.”

You can read the full interview here.

In other news it was first reported on Eurogamer that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the largest most expensive project EA has ever tackled. Eric Brown, EA’s chief banker stated that most games cost around thirty million dollars to make, but said that any MMO costs significantly more.

For an example of cost Blizzard spent more than $100 million to ship World of Warcraft in 2004 and brings in about $100 million a month from subscriptions today. This gives you an idea of what EA is looking towards. While they may not say they are looking to directly compete against W.O.W I am certain they hope to bring in similar profit.

This brings us the topic three. Industry Gamer reported that EA hopes to bring in at least two million subscribers. Arvind Bhatia, a Sterne Agee analyst had a meeting with EA and said that;

“Earnings are somewhat depressed due to ongoing expenses of the Star Wars MMO (but), management has high hopes for this and believes 2M+ subs is possible.”

He went on to say that a little over one million subscribers are needed to break even. Well, we know that no company just wants to break even, the goal is several million subscribers the question is will they reach that goal.