Monday, April 1, 2013

Exclusive Reveal: TOR Space Combat Revamped

Howdy folks!  Do I have a treat for you today.  Over the past week, other TOR sites and blogs have been showing sneak peeks of upcoming content for Star Wars: The Old Republic and their newest expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel.  Luckily for me, I was able to also speak to a developer and snag my own exclusive interview, but it's not pertaining to the new expansion.  Well, not directly.

I got to talk about the new, ultra-secret space project.

So without further adieu, here's my interview with one of the lead space combat designers for Bioware, Gull Abell.

Targeter: Wow, thanks a lot of spending some time with me today.  I'm really very excited about what you're gonna show the kids.

Gull: Oh, it's no problem.  This has been a project we've been working on for a while, and frankly we're all excited to sort of take the wraps off of it.

T: Alright, let's get down to brass tacks.  What can we expect with the the revamped space combat?

G: Free-form atmospheric and space flight.  Cockpit UIs.  A new talent tree dedicated to piloting.  The ability to pilot anything up to a capital ship, if you can afford it.

Czerka KR-51 Freighthauler

T: Wow.  Let's let that soak in for a second.  I still can't believe it.

G: Yeah, it's a big one for sure! (laughs)

T: Ok, so, you're talking completely free-form?  Like, we hop in and just go?

G: Eventually yes.  For right now, it works in the way that you can board your ship from the orbital docks and take off from there.  Atmo flight is still in the works, because we'd have to really revamp how you approach a planet, some of the cutscenes.

Corellian Blockade Ship

T: Yeah, I had a question about that.  We usually just have a scene where we land; will that stay?

G: Well, that's an idea we've had.  Do you just jump in the your ship and the 'start-up sequence' is your liftoff?  Or do we allow you your own liftoff experience?  It's up for grabs right now, honestly.

T: So let's get into the big thing, combat ...

G: Yes!

T:  (laughs) Looks like that's a big discussion in Austin as well, eh?  So, what's it going to be?

G: We want to replicate the free-form flight experience of the 90s with X-Wing and TIE Fighter, really.  It was such a high point for flight sims and we want to bring that back, you know?

T: Definitely!  Can I get a TIE Interceptor?

G: No no, but maybe something analagous.

Mandalorian Patrol Fighters

T: Ok, so, in-cockpit fights?

G: Yes, definitely.  We want you to have the ultimate Star Wars experience, and that means hotdogging it around in space as the pilot.  Real-time cockpit fights included.

T: Does that mean PVP ...

G: I'm not allowed to talk about our plans for that.

T: Ok ok, I understand.

G: We're excited about where we're taking space combat.

T: So, will the on-rails game still be around?

G: As a legacy game mode, yeah.  It won't get any more support.  But the crafting will still be there, obviously.

T: Oh, so the ship parts we craft?

Kyramud Republic Defender-class Warship

G: Will be able to be traded and crafted for your fighter, freighter, corvette, or capital ship, yes.  We don't want to damage the crafting market so that's all something we're taking a look at.

T: Speaking of capital ships, any word of the guild one?

G: (laughs) No no, we're not ready to talk about that yet.  It's still on the Wall of Crazy though.

T: Well, that's something.  So you mentioned a couple of classes of ship there, will we have variety?

G: Definitely!  And talent trees for each class.

T: For what, like faster speed, more maneuverability?

G: Weapon power, better shields, all that stuff.  It'll be a smaller tree than normal, but will still function the same.

T: So, we'll have points?

G: It'll operate like the Valor rank; you'll earn Space rank via missions; Search and Destroy, Escort, Assault, some other modes we're finalizing.

T: What about space raids?

Cockpit view of Czerka Systems Patrol Craft

G: We're still working on the details.

T: Cartel Market ships?

G:We're not ready to talk about that either, but it's not something unreasonable I think.

T: Especially given how successful the Market's been.  Awesome!  Well, Gull, thanks for stopping by Imperial Intelligence and letting the good folks know about the new space project.

G: My pleasure.  We're so thankful to fan sites for the support you give.  And thanks to all the players!

T: Thanks Gull!

Big thanks to Gull Abell, space combat design lead for Bioware.  Tune in later for more details!



  1. Good one, thumbs up! :D I would've deducted points for the name "Gull Abell", but you got them back for including an authentic mention of the Wall of Crazy. :P

  2. Damn it!!! You so had my hopes up!