BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr, Greg Zeschuk have conducted an in-depth, 4-pg. interview with GamesIndustry.biz. The main topics covered are Star Wars: The Old Republic (naturally) and the BioWare philosophy and history. (Source: Red Rancor)
You do need to register with GamesIndustry.biz to read the entire chat but it’s free and fairly quick and painless. Here are a few good quotes:
“Q: You’re limiting sales of Star Wars:The Old Republic on release, which is an unusual move in a time of week one sales figures…
Ray Muzyka: It comes from a desire to have a high quality service for our fans, really stable and scalable and accessible and really fun, and make sure it’s performing well. You have to build the infrastructure to support a certain size launch and we’re also thinking really long term at Bioware EA for this, there’s going to many many consumers coming to the game over time and we’re going to be expanding it out. We want to make sure that the service is really high quality, that’s the commitment we have to the launch of The Old Republic.
Greg Zeschuk: It’s a little bit different to a regular game, like a regular console release, where you’re connecting periodically, maybe there’s a multiplayer match, but the only way to play SW:TOR is full time connected to the internet, connected to our servers, so we want to just ensure that we’ve got a nice smooth, reliable game, everyone can get in when they want. It really boils down to, like Ray said, the quality of the service so for the ones that get it it’s really slick and really enjoyable. And we’ll increase it over time, our anticipation of course is to keep selling after that.
Ray Muzyka: And you know that demand is high too. It’s the fastest pre-ordered in EA’s history.
Q: I saw analysts were predicting 3 million sales.
Ray Muzyka: It’s encouraging, and we’re delighted to hear that kind of demand. And we’re definitely planning for that too, we’re anticipating a very high demand for the game, we just want to make sure that consumers who get it have a fantastic experience and at all points of the journey, because they’re going to be with us for years and years.”
“Q: Have there been any surprises in the beta tests?
Greg Zeschuk: I don’t think there’s really been any surprises, but you learn stuff. Certainly the way people play can surprise us. One thing that’s really funny is that people find interesting exploits, you hear about some tricks that people have found and just “wow, that’s ingenious!”
One of the favourites when we opened the early test was that when the two factions were first in the same place we had these taxi guys right on the edge of this cliff. And so one guy got bored, he’d finished all the content and he just sat there waiting for people to arrive and then Force Pushed them off the cliff. He did that for like an hour. Everyone that showed up.
Ray Muzyka: Or actually in the earlier builds you could take out the taxis’ riders. The players would come back, they’re waiting for their vendor and there’s no taxi vendor.
Greg Zeschuk: Someone actually had to pop in and say stop…
Ray Muzyka: We fixed it too.
Greg Zeschuk: Yeah and that’s a good lesson. So as long as you’re aware and cognisant and watching all these things you can make rules, make the taxi vendors unkillable, don’t put things on the edge of a cliff, like all these little funny things.”
“Q: Do you think more traditional MMOs, like World Of Warcraft whose subscriptions are going down, could be under threat from free-to-play titles?
Greg Zeschuk: I wouldn’t call it a threat, I think to put the World Of Warcraft thing into context that’s been running for seven or eight years. It’s amazing how long is actually been going for. So just to hold where they held is amazing.
The trend for free-to-play doesn’t supplant great top quality premium games that support a subscription. It’s funny, even in Korea that’s the case, where the free-to-play movement started ten years ago. There’s still some games with subscriptions, some are free-to-play, it’s bit of a mixture actually.”