This is a chat event I picked up in an archive somewere a while back. Hope This helps. Its run by Mike Gallow, a producer and Casey Hudson, project director/producer
March 22, 2002 Transcript
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Mike Gallo, Producer (LucasArts)
Casey Hudson, Project Director/Producer (BioWare)
RichG: Hi all - welcome to our Knights of the Old Republic chat. Our thanks to Mike and Casey for taking the time out to talk about their upcoming game. If you guys would like to introduce yourselves to the crowd...
MikeG: Hi everyone! My name is Mike Gallo and I'm the producer on the LucasArts side for KotOR.
CaseyH: Hi! I'm Casey Hudson, project director / producer at BioWare.
RichG: Thank you - right, let's get underway. Type your questions and the moderators will broadcast them for Mike and Casey to respond to. We'll try to post as many as time will allow.
Q: Which Force powers will we be able to use?
CaseyH: There will be a huge number of Force powers that you'll be able to use. All the ones you've seen in the movies, plus a number of very cool ones from the extended universe.
Q: Obvious question: what rules system will you use?
MikeG: We haven't announced the rule system yet, but we hope to provide some details shortly. Certainly before E3.
Q: What species will you be able to play as?
CaseyH: Your main character will be human, but you take control of your party members as well, who can be droids, Twi'leks, Wookiees, etc.
Q: Will your companions be playable, or will the AI play them?
CaseyH: You'll be able to play each of your party members just like your main character.
CaseyH: Also, regarding playing your companions, when you're controlling one, the others will be controlled through AI. You can switch to control a different character at any time though.
Q: What are the differences between the Xbox and PC version?
MikeG: Right now both games are being developed in parallel, and in general the story is the same. However, the PC version will obviously have a completely different UI specifically built for the PC version. More details to follow closer to the launch of the PC version.
Q: What will the tech be like? We've seen the Episode II trailer, and that tech is toned down. This game is 4,000 years earlier. How can we have a realistic tech level for the timeframe without making it feel un-Star Wars?
MikeG: We really like the tech in that EP II trailer!!
CaseyH: The Star Wars timeframe is extremely long. The civilization has had space travel for 25,000 years, so even 4,000 years isn't very long on that scale. So we are able to keep things quite similar to the films technologically. Also, the tech. varies a lot from planet to planet, so there will be quite a variety.
Q: Even though its going to be fast paced, will there ever be a pause option anything like Baldur's Gate?
MikeG: You'll be able to pause combat at any time, similar to Baldur's Gate. The combat should be pretty intense!
Q: Is the game going to be 40+ hours long?
CaseyH: It's tough to say exactly how long it will take to play through at this point. We're aiming at something longer than your typical console RPG, but not quite as enormous as BG2.
Q: Are there going to be stats that you choose at the beginning of the game, only in a more linear manner, like Torment?
CaseyH: You'll be able to choose quite a few things at the start of the game, such as assigning skill points, combat feats, etc. Then, you'll be able to add to those throughout the game to build your character.
Q: Will there be any tie-ins to some of the Tales of The Jedi graphic novels?
MikeG: We're interested in doing that, but we're still working on the who and where...
Q: What will you be able to do with the Ebon Hawk? Will this be some sort of a space sim as well as a RPG?
MikeG: The Ebon Hawk is kind of like a home base for the main character, and it's also meant to be a star of the game as well. You can walk around the ship and interact with other characters and do cool things. There is also the fast paced turret mini-game that you can play.
CaseyH: Yes, the 'Hawk is lots of things. It's an area that you can walk around in, it's your inn/tavern of the game, and it's also a focus for some of the action sequences and minigames. It won't be a separate space sim though. We want to integrate having a cool starship with the format and gameplay of an RPG.
Q: Classical RPGs based on Star Wars put great focus on Jedi crafting and imbuing their lightsaber. Is there going to be anything like that in KOTOR, or will you just "find" one?
MikeG: There's going to be lightsabers in this game?
RichG: Thought this was an appropriate follow-up then:
Q: What types of weapons will be available? I am assuming the bowcaster and lightsaber at least.
MikeG: We'll have a bunch of different weapons, and they range from blasters and such to lightsabers and vibro blades.
CaseyH: We also love the idea of crafting a lightsaber and making it your own. This is also part of your journey in becoming a Jedi. So, although we don't want to spoil any surprises, you can expect to see something along these lines instead of just finding a lightsaber somewhere.
Q: Are repulsor sleds available to carry additional items?
CaseyH: Your inventory will handle most of the need to carry lots of stuff - or your Wookiee if necessary! Otherwise, there's always the Ebon Hawk if you need a place to keep extra stuff.
Q: What will Diablo 2 fans love about this game?
CaseyH: I think fans of most RPGs will enjoy the character building, story, and action of this game. It's also a game that takes the genre to the next level by, among other things, incorporating an improved rules based combat system.
Q: How linear is the storyline? Are there multiple paths to follow? Multiple endings?
MikeG: The player will have a lot of things to do in the game that may or may not be directly related to the storyarch and there will be the whole "light and dark" aspect to the game as well.
CaseyH: Although there is a carefully crafted main story, how you get through it is really up to you. We're making use of all the skills, weapons, etc. to create many solutions and paths through the story.
Q: Will there be multiplayer or modding options on the PC?
MikeG: We're still discussing this internally, and we'll announce any additional details at a later date.
Q: How often will players be able to save their games/progress?
CaseyH: We're currently planning to let the player save at any point (when out of danger, anyway).
Q: While you will surely be using some of the classic music from the series, will there be an original work composed, and if so, do you have anyone in mind at this point?
MikeG: We are really close to announcing the composer for this game! Hopefully sometime very soon. Our goal is to have an original score that touches on themes that everyone is familiar with from the films. The style will be classic Star Wars, but with all new compositions and themes.
Q: How populated will the world be, as much as, say, Planescape?
CaseyH: We are going to push the hardware as far as we can to keep the environments interesting, and dynamic, with characters, ambient creatures, ships in the sky, etc.
Q: How item intensive will this game be? Fantasy RPGs have tons of magical items to enhance abilities, protect and aid combat. Can we expect to see those things, just in a "tech" sense, or will the whole idea of inventory be de-emphasized?
CaseyH: You'll find a lot of items throughout the game, so that will definitely be a factor in building your characters and customizing the gameplay. Another cool thing is that you will find some items that were used by characters in the Tales of the Jedi comic series.
Q: Is it truth that you delayed KotOR PC version because of SW Galaxies?
MikeG: Well, the question of timing has come up a lot! We saw a great opportunity to launch an RPG on a brand new platform with no established RPG franchise. The timing of Galaxies also played into that decision, but we promise that both versions will be worth the wait!
Q: Does George Lucas take personal interest in the Star Wars games you guys churn up?
MikeG: It's quite amazing regarding KotOR! George was involved very early on when we were talking about setting this game so far in the past. He was really excited about the time period and the things that BioWare wanted to accomplish. Ultimately it was his thumbs up that got this game off the ground!
Q: Maybe a bit off-topic: what are you working on today?
CaseyH: There are a lot of people working on different things, but for example, today we are working on getting some cool lightsaber combat interactions working, planning some cutscenes, and lots of work is being done to build the environments in the game.
Q: What will you be showing of KotOR, if anything, at E3?
MikeG: We'll have a fully playable demo that will be in the LucasArts booth and at the Xbox booth. It won't be the whole game, but everyone will be able to get a taste of what the final experience will be like.
Q: What sorts of minigames are there? Will there be many minigames to choose from? And what if we wouldn't want to play a minigame, must we play them in order to advance?
CaseyH: The minigames are intended to be light and fun, and to give a sense of fast-paced action. Some of the minigames will have to be completed to proceed, but it will be carefully balanced so that those ones are fun and easy for everyone. It's our most important focus on the minigames to make sure that they're balanced and fun.
CaseyH: Also, the minigames are designed to let you play parts of the story that normally you would just watch in a cutscene, so there will be a variety, and they will come up as different things happen in the adventure.
Q: To what extent will you be able to use the environment? Except from destroying things, will you be able to do anything else?
CaseyH: One of the great things about the environment will be the exploration factor. There is tremendous variety in the types of environments so it will be lots of fun seeing what's around the next corner. Plus, we will have the ability to animate parts of the environment, and that can be incorporated into the gameplay as far as our designers can push it.
Q: Loaded question, but legitimate: does the Xbox hardware allow you to create games with better graphics and more features than a PC game, which may need to meet a "lowest common denominator"?
MikeG: Well, the power of the Xbox is considerable, but the features aren't affected too much by the platform. When looking at the PC market we obviously can't ignore the people that don't have a GF3, so in that respect some of the special graphical features may need to get turned down. Besides that, most PCs that are on the market now are really powerful and by this time next year even more so.
Q: Will this game's storyline be based on chapters, like we saw in BG1 and BG2? If so, how many chapters are planned?
CaseyH: It's not exactly planned in chapters. Once the game really gets underway, you'll have a number of planets to travel to, each with a variety of locations and environments.
Q: Will you be able to feel the game, as in Jedi Knight when you look at those huge spaces and starships?
MikeG: One of the team's goals has been to make this game "feel" like it's in the Star Wars universe. So, having immersive environments with aliens and creatures, starships etc. is really important.
Q: Mike, you said your dream project would be Obi-Wan 2 - will that influence Knights?
MikeG: Ha! There are no plans for an Obi 2 at this time. The team has talked about it, but nothing serious, so no, it won't influence my work on KotOR for the foreseeable future.
Q: Will we be able to play the game that Chewbacca played with C3PO and R2-D2 in the movies?
CaseyH: The battle chess game? Actually, some of the guys on the team ask me about that a lot too! I'll just say that you can expect to see a number of things like that - cool little references to the movies that help the game feel like you're really in the Star Wars universe.
Q: What is the biggest challenge that Bioware is currently working in KotOR?
CaseyH: Our biggest challenge right now is to tie together all the cool elements that are being created into something that has really fun, smooth gameplay. In a massive RPG like this, there are thousands and thousands of little game objects, rules, systems, etc. that take a lot of work to integrate seamlessly into an experience that tells a compelling story.
Q: Will there be audio responses throughout the game, or will they be mostly text-based?
MikeG: The plan is to have all of the text in the game be voice. We've also got a really cool lipsyncing tool, so it should look and SOUND pretty awesome!
Q: Is there any of the owning factor of BG2? Like you can have castle or a thieves guild transferred to KotOR... or your own house and a Jedi order?
CaseyH: Although you won't be able to own a house, you will be able to have your own starship. The Ebon Hawk is how we're implementing the enjoyment of having your own place, but this one's mobile!
Q: All this mention about Tales of the Jedi has got me wondering will we be able to ride any sort of animal in the game like the badass ones in the comic?
MikeG: That's one of the cool things that we're currently evaluating. No promises!
Q: Will the game have 3D sound, like Sound Blaster Live! EAX?
MikeG: The Xbox has some tremendous sound capabilities, and we will take advantage of those things including 3D sound. The PC will also have 3D sound.
Q: A lot of the enjoyment I had with BG2 was because of the romances. Will there be romances in KotOR?
CaseyH: A lot of what makes a story a Star Wars story is the action, adventure and yes, a little romance. That kind of thing requires very careful writing so that it comes off well, but there should be a little romance in the story. Of course, it's your character we're talking about, so it will only come about if you're into it.
Q: Let's talk continuity: If we are eventually Jedi, will we have an NPC Jedi Master instructing us? Will we return to him/her to advance and grow in the Force? Will that person judge our connection to the Force, and if we are drifting to the dark side?
CaseyH: There is, of course, a Jedi Council at this time, and you'll be able to interact with them as part of your development as a Jedi. You will have a master to show you the ways of the Force.
Q: Off topic: have you played Jedi Outcast? If so, did it give you any ideas of things to incorporate in KotOR?
MikeG: I have played JKII quite a bit, and it's pretty cool! The team at BioWare hasn't seen it yet but they should be getting their copies any day now!
There may be some cool Force powers to look at.
Q: Will we see in the game grand-grand-grand-grandfathers (or mothers) of famous characters from the movies?
CaseyH: We would love to put in some tie-ins to people in the movies through relatives, etc. But you'll have to wait to find out who they'll be...
Q: Will there be lots of secret areas to discover?
MikeG: Like a lot of BioWare's previous games, there will be a lot of replayability in the way of quests, secrets and such.
CaseyH: Another really cool thing will be that you'll have access to different areas and side-quests depending on who is in your party. Also, whether you're becoming a dark or light side player will also give you access to different parts of the game.
Q: What about if a companion dies? Is the "resurrection" done by Force or by some tech or do the characters stay dead?
MikeG: We have an improved way of handling death than BioWare had in BG, but we're not ready to discuss exactly what that is just yet.
Q: Your previous RPG games came on multiple CD's. Any chance KotOR will see a PC DVD release as well as the regular multiple CD solution?
MikeG: Since the game is still several months away from release we haven't locked down exactly how it will be released. It will certainly be on CD (number of CD's TBD), whether or not it's on DVD is still up to where the market is at when we get close to launch.
Q: Can you reveal anything about the combat system? Will you be using the same rules we saw in Baldur's Gate, or are you creating something new specifically for this game?
CaseyH: We're taking the combat to the next level with this game. We are building upon the best parts of the combat systems of previous games, like BG and NWN, but we have an improved method which should give amazing results in the way the combat looks. And we're optimizing it so that it has all the variability that RPG fans expect, but within a control scheme that is a lot more intuitive.
Q: Personally I like to have my combat turn-based, so I may think for my next move. Will you be able to switch to that mode?
MikeG: Well, you can pause the combat and take as much control of your party as you'd like. This system is similar to BG in that respect.
Q: How will the whole locked and trapped areas work?
MikeG: Certain characters will have skills that they can use, while other characters may be better suited to "lock-picking".
Q: What (non-LucasArts) game are you looking forward to playing?
MikeG: Well, Dungeon Siege just went gold and we got the Freedom Force demo yesterday...
CaseyH: I'm most looking forward to playing Deus Ex 2, but that's not for a while. Hopefully I'll get some time to play it!
Q: Naughty question, but - let's see some 3D female beauty in the next screenshots!
MikeG: Casey? We certainly have some 3D female beauties in the game!
CaseyH: Yes, we can certainly look into an image of one of our female heroes for you.
Q: Will we be able to buy different clothing, i.e. a robe, in the game that changes our character's appearance? If so, will that change the way NPCs perceive our player when we walk into towns etc.?
CaseyH: Regarding the clothing, yes, you'll have a wide variety of clothing, armor, etc. to wear, and they will be visible on your in-game character. What you wear (especially if it's a disguise) can affect how you are perceived.
Q: Why is your party limited to only 3 characters?
MikeG: Good question! That was really the best choice for us given the camera angle that we wanted to use and the gameplay style that the team was looking for.
CaseyH: 3 characters is also a sweet spot in terms of giving you variety in the characters you adventure with, while keeping the AI requirements, GUI real estate etc. within reason.
Q: Will we see "huge" scale battles, talking of tens or even hundred of enemies and allies?
CaseyH: The story centers on an epic battle between the Sith and the Republic. Our goal is to make it as big and as spectacular as we can, so large scale battles will certainly be important to telling this story.
Q: Will you be pivotal in these large scale battles?
CaseyH: Well, although we don't want to give away too much of the story, it centers on you. So you will definitely be pivotal.
Q: What different styles of characters will there be other than your bog standard Jedi?
MikeG: You start out the game as a soldier, scout or scoundrel and can later evolve into a Jedi. Even when you do become a Jedi, the skills that you had before will stay with you.
Q: Can't we zoom out any further? Just like the famed Aribeth GeForce 3 screens issue?
MikeG: We will allow the player to have control over the camera, but during the game it's limited to rotating and slightly up and down. It will also be dependant on the area that the character is in.
Q: Will you be able to play the game and continue on adventures after the main storyline has been completed?
MikeG: There will be a lot of replayability, so the player will be able to try different things with his/her character.
CaseyH: When you consider all the different ways to play through the game, different classes, weapon types, skills, Force powers, dark / light side, etc., there should be lots of replayability.
Q: Can you give some examples of the skills and combat feats you mentioned earlier?
CaseyH: Some examples of skills would be computer use and security skill. An example of a feat would be deflecting blaster bolts with a lightsaber.
RichG: Well, our guests have been ultra generous staying over time - we'll run a couple more questions then wrap up.
Q: Any multiplayer aspects to the game?
MikeG: We're still looking into multiplayer right now. We should announce something definitive soon.
MikeG: Well, the Xbox allows us to do some unique things!
DOA 3 just did some cool stuff and it's certainly an interesting proposition!
Q: In Baldur's Gate, you would have to rest to refresh your library of useable spells. Will Force powers have to recharge like this as well, or will rest be required at all?
CaseyH: We will likely adjust it so that you are not required to rest to regain your ability to use the Force.
MikeG: Thanks everyone! We look forward to the next chat!!
CaseyH: Lots of fun! Thanks everyone. See ya next time