Trending Games | World of Warcraft | Overwatch | Project Gorgon | Bless

    Facebook Twitter YouTube YouTube.Gaming Discord
Quick Game Jump
Members:3,752,681 Users Online:0
BioWare | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 12/20/11)  | Pub:LucasArts
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Retail | Retail Price:n/a | Pay Type:Hybrid | Monthly Fee:n/a
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Interviews: Daniel Erickson Interview

By Guest Writer on December 15, 2010

Daniel Erickson Interview

Last month, we were fortunate enough to spend a solid six with BioWare's biggest game yet: The Old Republic. Even with that time under our belt, there is a lot unanswered, but it's clear a lot of potential lies within the game. BioWare sets very high expectations on The Old Republic, and thankfully at least one area is going to be very, very good: the story. With BioWare's story-telling pedigree, eight player classes, the light and the dark side, and spoken dialogue for the entire game, we can almost guarantee that The Old Republic will weave a very good yarn.


We sat down with Daniel Erickson, the Lead Writer for BioWare and the man in charge of the story behind The Old Republic. He had a lot to say about what players will discover once they're in the galaxy of The Old Republic, and he offered a little insight to what they will find.

Last time I had some time with this game, I was playing as one of the Sith characters and that had a very different experience. Everyone was icy and a jerk, and it offered a pretty unique experience.

Daniel Erickson:

When you play as the Sith Warrior, it's also a different experience, as you are sort of the chosen one everyone's golden boy, head quarter back.

Yeah, totally. But this time I played as the Jedi Consular, and it offered a completely different experience, everyone is very prim and proper, and you're killing flesh eaters. Describe the whole experience of how different things can be when you start off.

Daniel Erickson:

Well, all eight of the classes of course have their own different story lines. Anything between the two sides, there is zero repeated content, so if you had played your Sith Inquisitor all the way through the game, and then you started your Jedi Consular all the way through the end of the game, you wouldn't see a single piece, not one conversation the same in the game. Even when you are playing the [Jedi] Consular and the [Jedi] Knight on the same world, starting the same origin story, about 70 percent of your content is different. And the tone and the pace that it sets is hugely different. The origin stories are there to teach you what it means to and what it feels like to be your class.

I know that we were talking earlier today about how I was playing as a Consular, which is a very formalized character, even more than the Jedi Knight.

Daniel Erickson:

Yeah, it's sort of a scholar. It's sort of a thoughtful class.

Yeah! But I still made a conscious decision to still be an a**hole Consular. So even though I'm a good guy, and I'll stay on the good guy's side, and I won't ultimately be shooting lightening from my hands, I'm still a giant douchebag and I can still go into a different direction.

Daniel Erickson:

You can be dark side. The thing is, the Jedi, to a lot of people, are sort of seen as kinda stuck up and arrogant. Especially the Consular, they are seen as the know-it-all Jedi. You can absolutely take it in that direction and see where you are right and where people don't like you.

You had talked about how when you get to end game content, everything sort of comes together....

Daniel Erickson:

It doesn't come together so much as the light side/dark side decisions you have made don't limit what your end game abilities are. That's because we want to make that stuff impactful, we want to make it have a ton of story impact and we want to have it adjust your powers and abilities and those sort of things, but we can't give totally different items at the top level for a light side player versus a dark side player because then your raid balance and things like that are going to fall apart. We don't ever want a time when someone comes up to you and says "Oh, we don't want you in our raid because you went dark side Consular."

Have there been specific challenges for you as a writer to deal with 16 different plot lines, elements for each character type, and more. What is the challenge to writiting the entire narrative for an MMO like this?

Daniel Erickson:

Well, the biggest one obviously was I had to give up writing [laughs]. So I wrote a couple of planets for the Bounty Hunter originally, and we did think for a while that I was going to write a lot for the game, and once we realized the full size and scope--every class has their own writer--plus there is a whole additional team who does all the stuff that is not class writing, and then people share other duties amongst themselves. Literally my job is just to look at the entire picture. To know every line of every class, and to pull connections between them and to pull writers together and say "somebody is doing this interesting thing to develop this part of the world, this would probably fit really well in your plot." One of the things that is really fascinating is how often as a player is playing their second or third class, and you're going to start to understand more about the galaxy, more about the total picture, because you're like "Oh! Oh! You think you're being clever, but I know what's happening there! Cause I actually played as the Sith when that plot was happening!"

Do you think this will be a game that players will want to go through over and over again to get the full narrative experience instead of just maining on one or two characters?

Daniel Erickson:

I don't know about all eight [classes], but I do know that a lot of people are going to want to take at least one character through each side. It's because they are completely different. If you are a fan of RPGs, and one of the things people experience as they start to play this is you start near a sort of MMO space, and they you start to lose that pretty fast and you drop into your RPG space where you are not rushing through the content, and where you want to see what's happening, you want to see what's going to happen next, and you are interested. Once you are interested in the content, as opposed to rushing through the content towards some arbitrary goal or level number, then the content itself is appealing. Then of course you want to go and see all of the different content. Our dream, when doing this, and especially my dream as a writer, is that I always wanted the never ending BioWare game.

And now we have it?

Daniel Erickson:


Have there been any specific challenges to making a multiplayer game, as BioWare isn't known for their multiplayer games?

Daniel Erickson:

Well, obviously we've done some stuff before with Neverwinter Nights, and things like that, but they had always wanted to do an MMO. It was really waiting until there was enough resources to do a BioWare MMO, and technology had gotten to the point where we thought we could do this. There are a ton of challenges. Bringing other players to the mix makes it very hard. Not being able to use our tricks is another one. I can't put you in prison, I can't put you in a box, I can't force you into something, I can't teleport you around, because I don't know what you want to do today. Maybe you wanted to go play PvP with your friends. I can't say, well too bad cause story-wise I'm going to lock you into this cell until you get out. We actually have to empower the players even more, and we have to make them want to do everything, and want to be where they need to be to make the stories work. That makes it a lot harder as writers.

Anything else you'd like to say for our readership?

Daniel Erickson:

The big one, obviously, we've brought out the Jedi, and we really wanted to show what the quality was going along with the game. There is an amazing amount of polish, an amazing amount of stuff coming in. Honestly, I can say that there is not even a comparison to the origin worlds and what they look like and how they feel, which, of course, is why you have to build and RPG front to the game, which is nothing like the stuff you'll get to see later.