We recently caught up with Star Wars: The Old Republic lead designer Charles Boyd to chat about the current state of Knights of the Fallen Empire, the future of episodic story content in SWTOR, and how the game fits into the overall Star Wars universe under Disney.
MMORPG: While Star Wars: The Old Republic is not official canon, we've seen Legends content become canon through media such as Star Wars Rebels. For example, we saw the inclusion of Malachor in season two of the show. How does SWTOR fit into the big picture of Disney's plans for the Star Wars universe? And is there any possibility we'll see SWTOR story elements, characters, or locations show up in canon content such as the new TV shows, comics, or books?
Charles Boyd: I loved seeing Malachor in Rebels! We’re all obviously huge Star Wars™ fans so anytime we see some of The Old Republic references in new stories, we’re just as excited as all of you. That said, we don’t have any insight into other unreleased Star Wars storylines or projects, so we’ll find out when everyone else does.?
MMORPG: You've just released Chapter 13 of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, can you tease players on what's to come in the remaining 3 chapters? What can we look forward to?
CB: Coming up next, Chapter 14: Mandalore the Avenger, will focus on Shae Vizla and the Mandalorians, one of my personal favorite groups from Star Wars lore. As we move forward, the battle against Arcann is really going to come to a head in the following chapters, with players’ choices coming back to haunt or reward them in significant ways. There are also a few major twists and turns coming that will totally reshape The Old Republic galaxy and lead to more difficult choices and payoffs down the road.
MMORPG: What has your team learned from putting out your first episodic story expansion? What's worked really well? And what hasn't worked out as well as you'd hoped?
CB: Releasing the story via an episodic chapter release cadence has been a fascinating journey so far. We love being able to see the storylines play out over time and watch as players react to it and theorize about what will come next. The most rewarding part for the team is being able to constantly give players new adventures to enjoy. As you can imagine, it’s a very aggressive plan to execute, so we’ve learned a lot about how to optimize our processes and ensure we utilize best practices to deliver the quality our players expect from Star Wars™: The Old Republic. Building a story that has the level of depth, capable of driving this level of story momentum with increasingly expanding choices and consequences has definitely made it one of the most interesting creative pursuits we’ve attempted.
MMORPG: Can players expect another episodic story expansion following the conclusion of KOTFE? If so, roughly how soon after are you looking to kick that off?
CB: We aren’t ready to discuss our plans after Knights of the Fallen Empire just yet, but rest assured that our players’ stories, choices, and consequences are far from finished. ? We have some amazing plans for the future that I can’t wait to share!
MMORPG: What can you share about your plans for future non-story content? Many players in the game have been looking forward to new Operations for some time now.
CB: We’re constantly exploring different types of experiences to include in our updates – the Eternal Championship is one great example that’s going live alongside Chapter 13 this month. There’s definitely a story around it, but the real goal of that area it is to introduce players to some of the game’s more challenging gameplay mechanics and encounters to ease them into more high-level encounters like you mentioned. We’ve definitely heard our players’ requests for more of this type of gameplay and while we don’t have anything specific to announce right now, we’re taking those requests to heart as we develop for the future!