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Interview: Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Jake Neri

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:38 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

jakeneri

If someone were to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic was a highly anticipated game, the prize for understatement of the year would be handed to over them.

Ever since it was revealed through an interview EA CEO John Riccitiello did during E3 2008, MMO players and Star Wars fans alike have been itching to get their hands on it, and the fervor has grown steadily with each passing year as BioWare tries to placate us with its trickle of information and assets.

Once in a while, the game is shown to press outlets at events like GDC, and most recently, EA’s spring showcase in London this week.

VG247′s Joe Anderson went to have a chat with the game’s executive producer at Lucasarts, Jake Neri, whom – if you recall – we spoke with back in March.

Read on below the break and see if he has any new nuggets of information for you.

[Interview by Joe Anderson]

VG247: Obviously there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there awaiting the release of your title, does this add to the pressure of development?

Jake Neri: Yeah, it adds to the pressure. I think it also adds to the enthusiasm from the development team. I think that we have been fortunate enough to have a real strong reception from the very passionate fanbase.  I think that when you have that everyday community interest in your game, then it sort of feeds the team and really provides us with the appropriate, positive pressure to continue to work hard.

There are a lot of folks working really hard on the game and we are doing everything we can to live up to expectations, that’s for sure.

VG247: This marks the first time that Bioware has created an MMORPG. Do you worry that your game will be badly received and how would you react to this?

Jake Neri: Bioware has really lead and set the standard for what an RPG is in general, so I think adding the massively part it probably the easy bit. I think getting the progression part, the story to be right and getting classes to play well is all something that comes natural to Bioware, so I don’t think that there is too much to be concerned with there.

We have heard this a lot, and we understand people are saying ‘well you haven’t done it before’, but sure there are a lot of things that a lot of us haven’t done, but when you start with the pedigree that Bioware brings to the table – look at Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Baulders Gate. They have done a great job for years, 15 plus years, so I think when you have this pedigree behind you that you can take on any category and do fine with it.

The team’s also veterans of the MMO space,  a lot of us on the Lucasarts side have MMO experience, so I think you are going to find that this is not a concern.

Would life be easier for you if World of Warcraft didn’t exist? Are you worried about competing with it?

Jake Neri: Not at all, they have a great game and we have always approached this as we are just going to make the best game we can. We have a great feature set that is interesting and will offer players something unique, but we will just need to put it out there and see what happens.

It is the reality of where we are at playing in that space, so like I say, we will see what happens.

There are a lot of MMORPGs out there, so what makes Old Republic so special? What does it bring to the table that others don’t?

Jake Neri: Well, in Lucas Arts and Bioware, you have two companies very passionate about the story we are trying to tell. We have a fully voiced experience in that every character in the game will be fully voiced and this really adds to the immersion for the players.

Star Wars also adds a tremendous amount in that it is one of the most recognized brands globally, and when you mix that with what Bioware does best, like the combat which is very fast paced and tries to make you feel like a hero early on, instead of making you wait until you are a high level.

A number of these things are really going to resonate with people and I think that once people get a chance to play it they are really going to like what they are playing.

We take it very seriously how the game looks in the eyes of our fans, and we will continue to take this very seriously.

Has any elements of the game, such as graphics, story or gameplay taken any more significance than the other. Are any of these more important to you?

Jake Neri: One of the things I have learned about making an MMO, is that it is really just a symphony of mini-pieces, so you can’t really just focus on one thing over the other.

I suppose there could be prioritisation over how you develop the game by trying to get your core pieces down first, and then broaden and add features. The success of the game, though, is when all the pieces come together and then you throw the people in and they have a good time.

We have an emphasis on different things such as story, combat and classes, so there are a lot of different areas of focus, but then we are trying to mash a lot of different of areas together into a fun experience.

Do you ever see The Old Republic coming to consoles?

Jake Neri: We haven’t really talked about consoles yet, we are trying to focus on PC first and this is where we are at right now.

Do you personally prefer to develop for PC or consoles?

Jake Neri: Over the last couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to work on MMOs and I have come to love that. The good thing about PC is that although there are a lot of challenges there, it is an ongoing platform and is one which we can service readily and get support to consumers faster than we can on a console.

If you want to have a game where you can sustain a community, then I think the PC is the place to do it as you do not need to wait on certain approvals and processes to get through.

What do you think of the new found fad for motion control? Is this something that you would like to work with in PC development?

Jake Neri: It is interesting.  I have seen people kicking around ideas and we have kicked around ideas about how motion control would work on a PC. The challenge with doing this in a MMO, is that you have people in the world that can’t control how they are going to react, so there’s technical hurdles for things that we can and can’t do.

I do think it’s interesting as I play a lot of Wii with my seven year old daughter and she kicks my butt in bowling all the time, so I think it is expanding who is interested in games and it is bringing something else to the mix.

Are you pleased that your game isn’t being developed by Activision given their recent reputation?

Jake Neri: [laughs] You know, I don’t even know how to comment on that. Reputation aside, the company have had some decent success and I couldn’t comment on that at all.

I am happy to be working with Bioware and Lucasarts on The Old Republic and that’s all I have to say on that matter.

SWTOR is slated for release in spring 2011.

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6 Comments

  1. endgame

    hey believe me, we’re all happy that the publisher is EA. then again, the doctors are some of the brightest minds in the world, they would never work with Acti.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Droid

    Still no talk of an in-game economy. :( Having a thriving market and economy really makes a game a lot better. Got a feeling that this game will be so over-hyped that it won’t live up to expectations, but I hope i’m wrong.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Gekidami

    LucasArts are publishing it, not EA.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. blackdreamhunk

    lol the article

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Stephany Nunneley

    @3 It’s a joint venture, actually, esp now that EA owns BioWare.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Morwyn

    Hey Stephany, would that be ok if I translated this interview in french and put it on my website ? (currently developing anthrasith.net).
    I would, of course, link to your original interview ! Please let me know (mail is : melvin [at] anthrasith.net) ! Thanks in advance !!

    #6 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]