How the devs of Star Wars: the Old Republic craft the choice in the story

Sometimes a role-playing game hits the player with a legitimately difficult choice. It can be a moral dilemma or a question of what to sacrifice. Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMO heavily focused on narrative content, so the game comes with a lot of tough choices designed to make the protagonist sweat. While the politics of the galaxy may change over time and new enemies appear or are defeated, the heart of the game remains to make these difficult choices.

The Old Republic Developer BioWare Austin has faithfully updated the game since its first release in 2011. The next expansion, Legacy of the Sith, introduces new endgame content in which players pursue a rogue Sith Lord to the aquatic planet of Manaan. The expansion also includes a number of important early game changes. For example, the new character creation options allow players to mix and match their abilities, weapons, and the stories they experience, instead of riding one of eight roads with tighter guardrails.

“We’re continuing a storyline that started with our last expansion, and even before that with a plot,” said Charles Boyd, Creative Director of Star Wars: The Old Republic, during a call with Polygon. “There is a lot going on with [Darth] Malgus, and he’s getting a bit of a thug. There is also a scenario where a civil war is brewing between the Mandalorians. “

The Sith have always been one of the strengths of The Old Republic. There is no rule of two, which means there are tons of them and they are all constantly fighting. This conflict is great for game design, according to Boyd, because wherever the Sith go, the conflict follows, “With the Sith, it’s built in. It’s their instinct, to bounce off each other as fiercely as possible.”

While there is plenty of new stuff to explore, it’s always worth stopping to peruse these ancient countryside, especially since the chaff has been cleaned up. Over the years, BioWare has courteously limited the need for players to grind. It’s possible to skip campaign side quests, filler material, and content from early expansions like the Hutt Cartels and get right into the heart of the matter of intergalactic adventure, evil emperors, and moral choices. . Something that makes the MMORPG feel like an RPG is that early campaigns are always very relevant to the endgame story, and player choices matter throughout.

Characters that players encounter, even in their early days, can come back into the mix. “We have so many cool characters, every time we establish a situation we’re like, OK, who would make sense for that?“Boyd says.” We have a multitude of choices that are already established that people are already familiar with and may be excited to review, but it’s also a challenge because it’s a huge cast. We only have one. limited amount of canvases to paint on at a time.

Image: BioWare / Electronic Arts

But when extensions like Legacy of the Sith come, this huge distribution can be a godsend. Characters like Lana Beniko are loyal to the player and have their own interpretations of Sith philosophy. These characters, and their influence on the player, help set the stage for Darth Malgus and the Sith as antagonists. Different campaigns also meet different characters; while my agent may know an assassin well, my smuggler may be entirely in the dark.

“Every time we watch a scene one of the key things we watch is, how can we change that from a Sith Lord versus a Bounty Hunter versus a Jedi?” Boyd said. “You need the story to move in the same direction for almost everyone, otherwise it would become a big mess. But we also want to honor who you are – or were when you started – and make sure the characters treat you in a meaningful way. “

Boyd continues, “We will know the general premise of where [the story is] go, and we think, OK, well, what would be the more interesting moral choice? Sometimes they’re not even on the dark side or the light side; it is a question of loyalty. Then we build the story around that and work backwards so that we can do less about the moral or your character and more about your personal engagement as much as possible.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - four of the series' companion characters pose on a sand dune in an action shot

Image: BioWare / Electronic Arts

Legacy of the SithThe new character creation options again make it an attractive option for campaigns, as you can mix and match weapons and skills from different classes under the Technology or Force umbrellas. Many of these old stories hold up remarkably well.

Dark Side Inquisitor, for example, is the craziest fun I’ve ever had in an RPG of any genre. I walked the galaxy like a perfect girlboss, electrocuting anyone who disagreed with me and dealing with admins who were forced to treat me like a toddler with a gun. The story of the Imperial Agent is another great track, with some really twisty decisions that can make the player a double or even a triple agent.

Legacy of the Sith is currently slated for release before the end of 2021. It will also launch The Old Republic10th anniversary event, which runs throughout 2022.

About Johanna Gooding

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