BioWare Insists The Old Republic Is Innovative

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BioWare Insists The Old Republic Is Innovative

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When compared to popular RTS and FPS games of the last 20 years, BioWare maintains that The Old Republic brought something new to its genre.

One month ago in a galaxy right here, BioWare's anticipated online RPG Star Wars: The Old Republic launched to good reviews and excellent sales. While few people take issue with the game's high production values or immersive storytelling, one frequent criticism is that TOR is, in terms of gameplay, not substantially different from the rest of the MMO market. Now that the dust from the game's first few weeks has settled, BioWare has taken an opportunity to weigh in on the game's reception. While the company admits that its game will not redefine MMO gameplay, it maintains that TOR is at least as innovative as most games in the RTS or FPS markets - if not more so.

"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years," says James Ohlen, the game's director. "[RTS] games kept the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true mechanics that existed for 20 years." According to Ohlen, TOR is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, focusing on how to make the genre incrementally better rather than drastically different. "[We] wanted to take the lessons that have been developed in that genre over years and years and years and basically refine them, much like other companies do with other genres."

In particular, Ohlen defended the game's deep narrative developments. "We were building essentially a classic MMO with BioWare storytelling set in the Star Wars universe," he explains. "And there were a lot of people out there who wanted us to reinvent the universe and come up with a game system that had never been done before. And that was something we weren't doing." According to Ohlen, BioWare did not want to drive existing MMO fans away, so purposely kept much of the gameplay that would be familiar to them.

With over 1 million users in the first week, TOR is one of the fastest-growing MMOs in history. Now, BioWare's challenge will be to keep the momentum going. Regarding some of the very vocal negativity in regard to the game, Ohlen remarks, "We're a big target ... But that's just the nature of the game. If you're going to build a huge game and try to go out to a lot of people, you're going to have people who just react poorly." No arguments here.

Source: Eurogamer

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"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years,"

This tells of a severe misunderstanding of first person shooters, their mechanics, their history, and how they have changed in all but the most fundamental way - shooting things. Especially since Gears of War isn't a first person shooter.

Now that I've cleared that up, he could have at least mentioned what the Old Republic does different. Even if it's just bollocks, it would have lent slightly more credibility to his words.

My god, Bioware has become very arrogant. There is talking up your products then there is what Bioware has done with SWOTOR. They won't shut up about it. I'm not talking about this article in particular, just a common theme I've seen. Bioware, we get it. You are proud of yourself for making a MMO.

Wow Do they even realise that it was Half-Life that did some innovation?

I play and love SWTOR but come on Bioware.

An evolution of an MMO yes, an innovation? No where near

believer258:

"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years,"

This tells of a severe misunderstanding of first person shooters, their mechanics, their history, and how they have changed in all but the most fundamental way - shooting things. Especially since Gears of War isn't a first person shooter.

Now that I've cleared that up, he could have at least mentioned what the Old Republic does different. Even if it's just bollocks, it would have lent slightly more credibility to his words.

I don't even like the FPS genre and I know this. Doom and Duke Nukem play very differently than shooters today.

believer258:

"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years,"

Now that I've cleared that up, he could have at least mentioned what the Old Republic does different. Even if it's just bollocks, it would have lent slightly more credibility to his words.

He... actually does that quite clearly. You might not agree, but it's there.

I think TOR is a good evolution, and I think there's a good chance it'll keep evolving in this way.

Nimcha:

believer258:

"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years,"

Now that I've cleared that up, he could have at least mentioned what the Old Republic does different. Even if it's just bollocks, it would have lent slightly more credibility to his words.

He... actually does that quite clearly. You might not agree, but it's there.

I think TOR is a good evolution, and I think there's a good chance it'll keep evolving in this way.

No.. he really didn't. All he did was scream "We're different", make a couple of excuses as to why the game wasn't getting perfect 10s, throw out a couple of buzzwords and then complain that /V/ continues to torment his arrogant company.

Get aside from what he said about Gears, Half Life, Twattlefield (thanks for that one, Yhatzee!), and look at what he is saying about TOR and it is pretty true. It doesn't change the way MMOs are played (on the basic Everquest formula), it just makes it better. I see it mostly in the grind, because you will never be able to take the grind out of an MMO, so the best thing you can do is distract from it and TOR's story does a very nice job of that (not to say that's the only improvement on the formula that it's made). The combat hasn't changed in any MMO since EQ and that's just the way it is. Also, on the mention of EQ, can we stop calling TOR a WoW clone? I mean WoW was really just a EQ clone that improved the formula. If anything call TOR an EQ clone if anything. Just also note that just because its a 'clone' doesn't mean its not better.

I knew I should have kept Bioware away from that terrible EA boy. He's such a bad influence.

I'm a terrible parent.

It's a minor evolution, not much else. The gameplay mechanics are basically carbon copies of much of pre-expansion World of Warcraft, and many of the lessons that WoW learnt are left overlooked.

The big draw, and Bioware's greatest strength, is the storytelling and immersive universe, something that should come as no surprise to anyone. I'm actually a bit surprised the game has such overwhelming critical acclaim with not a single nay-sayer listed on metacritic. The user reviews are surprising too, but for the exact opposite reason. It's like they've descended into an all out reviewbombing war where the fanboys and the haters dish out 10's and 1's with abandon in an effort to push the score up or down.

Welcome to the internet...

Their perceived arrogance aside, it remains to be seen if Bioware has what it takes to provide a draw for their game in the long run. Stories, while compelling, do run out eventually and there'll need to be a game in place by then that offers something that WoW doesn't. Because if that doesn't exist... why not just play WoW?

So what they are saying is that The Old Republic compared to World Of Warcraft is more innovative than the past 12 years of innovation bought by Real Time Stratagy and First Person Shooters.

Lets recap again; Bioware is comparing the past 12 years of advancement of the RTS and FPS genre with the advancement of a single World Of Warcraft clone and a pretty poor one at that.

Previously at Bioware:

Bioware Boss: "Lets make some awesome trailers to promote the The Old Republic, make it look better than the movies"
Bioware Employee: "Great idea boss, me and the guys will get right on it"
Many Months Later
Bioware Employee: "Boss we got those trailers done and published, the fans love them."
Bioware Boss: "Fantastic, how about the actual game; how is that going?
Bioware Employee: "Well, we kinda ran out of money making those trailers but if it makes you feel any better we do have something that we pulled together last minute."
Bioware Boss: "Release it, we have no choice. I will talk to some PR Guys, you know what Bioware fans are like."

Well this is what happens when you sit with your thumb up your ass for four years Bioware, release some good games and then you can be arrogant.

Look, I like The Old Republic. But Bioware, it is not innovative. Yes, the addition of each class having their own story is a pretty big thing for the genre, but nothing else is new or innovative.

Also, the FPS market isn't exactly the best place to look for innovation, since the genre has been more or less stagnant for quite a while.

Saying you're as innovative as Call of Duty is not a good thing, because Call of Duty really doesn't do that much that's innovative. Gears did when it came out, but that's a third person shooter, so I'm really not sure why they referenced it as an FPS. Even so, since Gears, cover-based shooting has largely remained unchanged, so it wouldn't help his argument much either.

Yes, they do sell well, which is what I'm guessing what you were going for, but don't tell me that this game is innovative. Adding personal stories to each class could count as something innovative for the MMO genre, but nothing else TOR does really is.

Daystar Clarion:
I knew I should have kept Bioware away from that terrible EA boy. He's such a bad influence.

I'm a terrible parent.

Simply Awful, what will the vicar say...

On topic; While I would have loved it to be innovative, that only seems to engender fear in gamers and they run in the opposite direction to the most familiar thing they can find.

Which is why MW3 and BF3 sell well but the Mirrors Edge's of this world struggle to get a sequel.

Not that they guy in the interview isn't talking shit, but he is paid to talk a lot of shit because what ever he says he will be snorted at derisively so might as well go massively positive.

If the developer has to go out and tell people it's innovative, it's not innovative.

...Half Life pretty much pioneered in-game (cutscene-less) setpieces...

Daystar Clarion:
I knew I should have kept Bioware away from that terrible EA boy. He's such a bad influence.

I'm a terrible parent.

Arent we all?? *sigh*

Nimcha:

believer258:

"[If] you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life - those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that's been around for 20 years,"

Now that I've cleared that up, he could have at least mentioned what the Old Republic does different. Even if it's just bollocks, it would have lent slightly more credibility to his words.

He... actually does that quite clearly. You might not agree, but it's there.

I think TOR is a good evolution, and I think there's a good chance it'll keep evolving in this way.

In the least smartass way I can possibly mean this: Point me to where.

And not here:

In particular, Ohlen defended the game's deep narrative developments. "We were building essentially a classic MMO with BioWare storytelling set in the Star Wars universe," he explains. "And there were a lot of people out there who wanted us to reinvent the universe and come up with a game system that had never been done before. And that was something we weren't doing." According to Ohlen, BioWare did not want to drive existing MMO fans away, so purposely kept much of the gameplay that would be familiar to them.

All he said there was that they were applying the Bioware narrative formula to the already existing WoW gameplay formula.

Hate to break it to you BioWare, all you did was put a mass effect/dragon age dialogue system in your questing design, and it's hardly innovative, worse yet it doesn't work at a fundamental level.

This design choice certainly helps contextualize what you're exactly doing, but it doesn't make us invest in what's going on for the simple reason that we have no real impact on the world at large, at best you might get a bit of mail from someone regarding the quest to provide you with a epilogue of its events based on your choices, and while this helps it doesn't change the fact that nothing you do really means anything except an adjustment to your alignment which is entirely cosmetic, really it's just dressing on top of a largely unchanged mechanic in MMOs.

I mean, jeez, you'd think the dialogue system would elevate it above WoW's questing design greatly, but honestly it, at best, allows it to be on par; The layout design is on equal footing for both, the dialogues are nice and the streamlined mini-instances do work well but the game lacks any sort of actual terrain phasing so, ironically, you get a greater impression that you're actually affecting the world with WoW.

Furthermore, the established gravatos of these quests in SWTOR actually work against it when rolling alts--What people might not realize is that 90% of your questing experience is still shared between classes of a faction, so plan to save x-planet from y-subplot multiple times if you plan play more than one character on a faction, and for the game to make a big deal about it when you really stopped caring a long time ago.

I could ramble on for ages, about how questing is the hook and not the meat which is kept for endgame and how SWTORs endgame is tepid at best, but I've gone on too long as it is, and don't get me wrong, SWTOR does a lot of other little things that are fairly interesting, like how professions work, or the potential of "Legacy", but it's not enough for me to be really sold on it as a strong enough competitor to knock down WoW's dominance in this market, let alone "innovative", especially when WoW can (and will) just turn around and adopt any interesting concepts for their own game.

So..

You've added an already existing conversation system to a different genre?

Innovative...

Don't get me wrong, it's better than copy-pasting world of warcraft, but, I can't help but thinking making original gameplay might be more enjoyable.

Jaeke:

Daystar Clarion:
I knew I should have kept Bioware away from that terrible EA boy. He's such a bad influence.

I'm a terrible parent.

Arent we all?? *sigh*

Your avatar and post gave me a chuckle, thanks.

"We were building essentially a classic MMO with BioWare storytelling set in the Star Wars universe..."

I'm surprised you dare used the word when this "innovative" game is supposed to be very different from other MMOs. From your trend with your other two recent franchises being more action orianted, I was expecting something like an action beat'em up with lightsabers, Force powers, jet packs, laser pistols, etc. that you earn.

42:
Wow Do they even realise that it was Half-Life that did some innovation?

They are arrogent.
Half Life continued to inovate without repetition.
Have you noticed in each game there is something completely diffirent?

It's one of my favorite FPS games. It makes you think, unlike most, where it's just "stay in cover until your screen turns back to normal color"
Bioware wishes they could be like that.
After ME3, I'm done with them.

Don't get me wrong, I love TOR, I mean, it is by far my favorite MMO game. But if they're dragging on so far about it, I'm going to stop playing after my subscription expires.

This kind of thing just makes me more impatient for Guild Wars 2.

OK, I need some context here before I start making judgements.

Seriously, who was he talking to here? Did he set up a press conference just to brag? Was it a blog post? How does this work?

"NOOOO, those dirty 4Chan retards are ruining our user scores! Our game is totally original!"

nevermind that it has the laziest art style ever, the exact same gameplay as WOW, and WOW's community.

Seriously on the art side though, Knights of the Old Republic 1 had a more interesting visual aesthetic. At least it didn't have stormtroopers and star destroyers from the films. It tried to make things look ancient, like something 3000 years before the movies SHOULD look.

Andothul:
I play and love SWTOR but come on Bioware.

An evolution of an MMO yes, an innovation? No where near

This.

No really, this. Let the damn game speak for itself, BioWare, even though you were probably asked "What do you think of people saying that TOR isn't innovative?", just say "Let the game speak for itself. We put so much work into it it's not like it can't say anything about how far it has come and tried to put some new BioWare-twist on the MMO genre."

Honestly, that sounds like something EA would say...

Using at most DX9 is very innovative. I know, not really a game mechanics complaint...

Seems like a very strange argument for them to make considering the game is essentially almost any bioware came stapled onto wow with a dash of starfox thrown in.

MASTACHIEFPWN:

42:
Wow Do they even realise that it was Half-Life that did some innovation?

They are arrogent.
Half Life continued to inovate without repetition.
Have you noticed in each game there is something completely diffirent?

It's one of my favorite FPS games. It makes you think, unlike most, where it's just "stay in cover until your screen turns back to normal color"
Bioware wishes they could be like that.
After ME3, I'm done with them.

Don't get me wrong, I love TOR, I mean, it is by far my favorite MMO game. But if they're dragging on so far about it, I'm going to stop playing after my subscription expires.

He's not talking about the other things Half-Life did. He's talking about the mechanics of the game, and he's right, it's still point, shoot. The interface has the health bar, ammo; the mouse wheel can scroll through weapons as well as using the number keys. "R" reloads "E" activates objects, space bar jumps. Mechanically it's the same as any other game in genre (post the inclusion of the y axis).

What he's saying is, is that SWTOR is to WoW, what CoD is to Half-Life. What makes Half-Life different is all the other things, not just the mechanics.

lol innovation in storyline for MMO's. It kinda makes me laugh cause i never read the quests i just take them move to marker lvl up, rinse, repeat. But maybe most ppl dont like that style of gaming. idk.

"It's totally innovative guys, shut up!"

While I still do admire Bioware (For the most part), I'm not sure tOR brings as much to the table as they seem to think.

Like others have said, they essentially added the Bioware storyline, party members and dialogue systems onto the standard MMO format.
It's obviously working, and I'd like to try it out for myself but; I dunno. It's not totally an MMO as much as it is a Bioware Single Player game with a constant co-op mode attached.

I don't mean to rain on their parade though, as I said it's obviously a success and I'd love to play the game, if it weren't an MMO. I just don't want to pay a subscription fee to play with other people, mainly because when I play a Bioware game I don't want other people ruining my immersion. Call me antisocial, but I like RPGs to be a solo activity.

Actually, that'd be a cool idea. What if they gave players the option to not pay a subscription fee and not play online with other people and just keep the game singleplayer.
Sure it may leave the galaxy empty, but I'd be cool with it.

RatRace123:

Like others have said, they essentially added the Bioware storyline, party members and dialogue systems onto the standard MMO format.
It's obviously working, and I'd like to try it out for myself but; I dunno. It's not totally an MMO as much as it is a Bioware Single Player game with a constant co-op mode attached.

I hear this a lot, that it's more like a co-op game. I assure you, though, it really is an MMO. There is, by far, more multiplayer content at every level of SWTOR than there is in all of World of Warcraft.

Good news everyone! BioWare says it's not BioWare that lacks innovation, it's the industry as a whole that lacks innovation.

Why is that nowadays whenever I hear Bioware say anything at all it comes off as douchey

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