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.