Since there has been a lot of interest in exactly what Star Wars games
USA Games might be planning, and the last thread really got side
tracked into general Star Wars history, lore, and background I thought
I would start the thread over fresh, and talk about what my thoughts
and feelings are regarding this subject.
First, the legal issues. Since Lucas Arts and its parent company
Lucasfilm LTD didn't exactly give me the go ahead on any Star Wars
projects that means whatever USA Games does regarding Star Wars will
most likely have to be open source and published as fan fiction in
order to minimize any legal entanglements with Lucasfilm over
licensing. This doesn't mean we can't proceed with a Star Wars project
it just means we'll have to produce the game without a lot of
financial backing. As I've got plenty of sound effects, music, and can
probably find free help to do voice acting if needed this might not be
a big issue.
Second, issue I've been thinking about is what time period or era to
set the game in. This is, for me at least, a tough decision as
currently there is now more than 5,000 years of history and lore set
down in the Star Wars books and comics ranging from the Great
Hyperspace War between the original Sith Empire and the Galactic
Republic all the way up to the Legacy era set some 40 years after the
battle of Endore. In each era there are historic champions and super
villains of note.
As for myself personally I am leaning against anything involving
anyone from the original Star Wars books and movies such as Luke
Skywalker, Darth Vader, etc simply because there is so much written
about them it is getting to be, for me at least, the same old thing
different book/movie. Diddo for the Clone Wars that has so much cannon
and history its hard to create new and original stories that don't
involve some idea already used in a comic, book, or the movies. Still
I'm not totally against creating a game in one of these eras I just
feel its too common place and way over used so to speak.
Recently the Star Wars authors have began documenting events that
happened thousands of years before Star Wars A New Hope which is sort
of interesting seeing the Republic as it was thousands of years before
the Clone Wars etc happened.
For example, two new books such as Fatal Alliance and Deceived have
started documenting events during the Great Galactic War about 3,681
to 3,653 years before Star Wars A New Hope, and it picks up where the
Knights of the Old Republic series left off. There is even a MMO/RPG
being produced by Bioware called Star Wars The Old Republic that
features this 30 year war between the Jedi and Sith. Its something I
think I could base a game on myself and have plenty of room to be
creative and use creative license without stepping on official cannon
all over the place.
Finally, there is the style or type of format I could use for this
game. There are pros and cons for each style or format. Which makes it
hard to decide.
Side-Scroller---Obviously this would be a 2d type game with the
ability to move left, right, up, and down throughout the game world.
Since I think we all know what side-scrollers are by now no more
explanation need be made about what they are.
The obvious advantage to side-scrollers is they are, for a blind
player, easier to navigate. There are only four directions of movement
to figure out, and sounds are panned left or right in the stereo
field. This makes them ideal in terms of accessibility.
All the same accessible or not side-scrollers are stuck in a 2d only
environment. This prevents both the game developer and player from
taking advantage of certain features other formats have to offer. For
instance, there are various combat maneuvers, moves, etc that require
a full 3d environment to acomplish. As someone who has played
something like Jedi Knight and so on in a 3D First-Person format
side-scrollers seem like, well, like a ccrippled game as you couldn't
do half the things you could in a true 3d environment. Just the fact
you are restricted to left, right, up and down is to my thinking
pretty limiting when I'm use to full motion and movement in typical
Star Wars games. Therefore I wouldn't necessarily prefer to use this
format for any Star Wars game myself.
First-Person---This format commonly refered to as FPS actually got its
start with games from the 1990's such as Quake, Jedi Knight, and Doom
as instead of a strict 2d level we were now beginning to think in
terms of true 3d. I.E. you can go left, right, foward, backwards, up,
or down. You could turn 360 degrees and attack enemies above and below
you as well as in front of you. Many FPS games took full advantage of
the full 3d environment to give the player character many flashy moves
like flying round house kicks, spin kicks, rolls, flips, dives, etc
that required a full 3d environment to work properly as well as more
common moves like the ability to sidestep a saber attack by simply
taking a single step left/right while still facing the opponent.
However, besides Shades of Doom, Sarah, etc there have been very few
FPS games introduced to the VI community. One reason I think they
haven't become very popular is because in order to realistically give
us equal access is that we need good 3d audio. Not many are willing to
purchase the proper speakers, headphones, etc to get that access. Plus
I've become aware for a while now that some VI gamers have really poor
special orientation and are too easily confused by games like Shades
of Doom which I found fairly easy to master. This has given me some
doubts as to how to go about creating a really true 3d environment
while not making my customers feel like I'm over complicating things
for them or forcing them to invest in expensive hardware.
MMO/RPG---Over the last few years Bioware and Lucas Arts, as well as
many other mainstream companies, have been cashing in on the MMO/RPG
game style or genre. At a guess I say the mainstream companies, big
name companies, are moving away from FPS into MMO/RPG type games. If
you look at Lucas Arts big releases over the last few years Star Wars
Battle Front, Battle Front II, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star
Wars the Old Republic you'll find they are all MMO/RPG games. There is
a very good reason why this style of game is becoming hugely popular.
For one thing its a multiuser roll playing game. You can create a
custom character weather he or she is a smuggler, Jedi Knight, Sith
Warrior, trooper, bounty hunter, etc. You can pick his/her class,
race, and weapons. Then, once you get the perfect character involve
him/her into the games plot on one side or the other.
For instance, I myself have been listening to Biowares online
demonstrations of Star Wars The Old Republic and I've got to say its
pretty awesome. If you want to be a Mandilorian bounty hunter like
Boba Fett you can create your custom bounty hunter along that line.
However, they also show you how to create a generic Sith Warrior who
rises through the ranks of the Sith Empire to be a Sith Lord. In one
of there final demos they showed you how to play a party system where
the bounty hunter and Sith Warrior faught side by side to whipe out a
bunch of Republic commandos and a couple of Jedi Knights. There is
pretty much endless potential in a game like that. Think Entombed with
a Star Wars theme and really good movie quality acting and you will
have a modern day MMO/RPG game.
About the only disadvantage I can think of with this style of game is
its something that will take a long while to create. The developer,
meaning me, has to write something like a novel in terms of storyline,
before programming the game. It goes without saying it would take a
long time to develope the game engine for a game like that.
However, I think that the pay off long term would be huge. The replay
value in games like that is pretty incredible. There are So many
different ways to play a game like that it is nearly endless. If you
are hooked on Entombed this type of Star Wars game would be right up
your alley so to speak.
So what are my plans/personal thoughts? Well, I haven't decided on
anything official yet, but I will say this. Back when I first
announced my intentions to write a Star Wars game I was thinking of
something like Star Wars Jedi Knight as up till then that was
primarily the type of Star Wars games I had personally played and was
familiar with. Later I thought about actually rewriting the Jedi
Knight games, but chickened out over copyrights. I went through
several rough drafts of game ideas, possibly stories or angles, for an
FPS type game.
However, then Entombed came out and turned my world upside down. I
realised what Jason had done is created a game very much like the
MMO/RPG games Bioware was producing and if Jason could do it with a
Dungeons and Dragons type theme why couldn't I do something similar
using Star Wars instead. This got my gears turning, you might say, and
I started thinking about what period in time I mmight be able to set
my RPG game in. Early this year when Fatal Alliance and Deceived came
out I realised there was a brand new area of the Star Wars history
worth exploring and of course Bioware teamed up with Lucas Arts to
develope the RPG game that is suppose to go along with the books. I
feel at this point I could do something similar. I wouldn't
necessarily call it Star Wars The Old Republic, but could use a
similar storyline and time period for my game.
You might be asking yourself why I might want to set the game in the
Old Republic. Main reason is before the Sith Empire was all but whiped
out around 2,000 prior to A New Hope this gives the game developer two
equally mached forces for the game. You have Republic commandos verses
Imperial cammandos. You have Jedi Knights verses Sith Warriors. Plus
the usual mixed bag of supporting characters like smugglers, bounty
hunters, terrorists, arms dealers, who take up sides with the Galactic
Republic or Sith Empire. It is a great time period to set a game story
in I think.
So here is the thing. Now that I've had my say I'd like you to
consider what I've said and let me know what you would like to see? Do
you want a simple 2d side-scroller, or perhaps an FPS type game like
Jedi Knight. Are you perhaps one of those RPG fans who would rather
not get caught up in a linear plot based game and want to create a
completely custom character, embark on story based
missions/adventures, and basically play from the perspective of a
non-main character who got caught up in the events of the Great
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