The show season is in full-swing and the train is making its next stop in sunny San Diego for the San Diego Comic-Con this week! Of course with every show eager fans are hopeful to hear more about their game of choice (in this case, Star Wars: The Old Republic!), and speculation has already run rampant throughout our forums, the official forums, and all over the ‘net.
So, what is Bioware bringing to show and tell at this week’s Comic-Con? Bioware’s announced a few things, but they are leaving one up to the fans to earn (if you want my honest opinion, I think they’ve already earned it, whatever “it” is!).
First, those of you making it over to SDCC will be able to have a page of the Blood of the Empire comic signed by Bioware’s Senior Writer Alexander Freed, who, naturally, wrote the Blood of the Empire webcomic (d’uh!).
Some of you may think the next item on the list is a bit ho-hum, as I can already hear you guys shouting “Seen it!” Bioware will have the “Hope” cinematic trailer that made its debut at this year’s E3 on hand at Comic-Con, and they’ll be showing it on the big screen several times a day for all to see, with that last bit there being key. I’d also already seen the “Hope” cinematic several times by the time I saw it on the “big screen” at E3; I’d seen it on the plane flying over to Los Angeles, on my laptop in high-def while I was at the show, and even in the small theater at my Bioware appointment. Maybe it’s just the nerd in me, but there is just something awesome about watching it on a huge screen (especially when Paul Barnett is on hand to drum up the crowd!). Of course, if you’re not actually there, that doesn’t help you much.
Finally, we get to some of the meat of the event. Comic-Con is well known for being host to some pretty interesting panels, and this year is no different. Bioware will have James Ohlen, Drew Karpyshyn, Alexander Freed, and G4’s Morgan Webb on hand for a panel of their own. Dubbed “Beyond Solo: Crafting the Multiplayer Story in Star Wars: The Old Republic” we’ll be hearing about what Bioware has done to accomplish their goal of not only creating an awesome story-filled experience for players, but how they will be leveraging that whole “massively multiplayer” aspect into that.
Personally, I’m a bit iffy on the subject of the panel. On the one hand, yes, we’ve heard and seen a good deal about the story elements of Star Wars: The Old Republic, but they’ve mostly drummed up opinions along the lines of “Yes, you’ve put together KOTOR 3, 4…5…6” which is great, but many of us have been left wondering about how the multiplayer element plays into that. At E3 we got a taste of that, as Bioware showed off a bit of multiplayer dialogue, but there is definitely more to talk about here, and so it seems appropriate to use a panel at Comic-Con to do so. On the other hand, I feel almost battered in the head with story talk at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some storyline, I just replayed KOTOR 2 and I am in the process of going through Dragon Age yet again. So, to be more specific, I definitely love me some Bioware story, but I simply want to hear about something else, anything else! I’ve been feeling a bit lukewarm (pardon the lame Star Wars pun) about the bits and pieces of non-story elements I’ve seen on the game so far, and I’m not trying to be an alarmist here, but sometimes I wonder if Bioware isn’t talking about all those other things because there simply isn’t much of note to talk about. Is Star Wars: The Old Republic’s claim to fame going to be story and really not much else? While everyone loves to compare every game out and coming out to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, I’ve noticed that sentiments that (storyline excluded) SW:TOR is simply going to be “WoW in space” have been a bit stronger as of late. And while I’m certainly not going to draw such comparisons myself at this point, I don’t feel Bioware’s done enough to assuage the fears of those that do (that aren’t just trolling, mind you!).
All of this brings me to my final point: Bioware’s secret Comic-Con reveal. Bioware recently announced that they have more in store for eager fans than they’ve publicly announced for Comic-Con this year, and that they’d be willing to spill the beans, if, and only if, fans manage to attain 200,000 (total across all territories) followers for SW:TOR on Facebook and 30,000 on Twitter by Friday, July 23rd. That’s not to say that you’ll never learn of whatever it is that they’re keeping to their chests at this point, it’s just that if you want to hear about it early, they’re ready to talk about it, provided you manage to hit those quotas!
Getting the community involved is always cool, but when your plans for a show are relatively light, your fans are starved for information, and people start comparing your marketing campaign strategy to mushrooms, I think talking about whatever you can feasibly talk about at this point would seem prudent.