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LucasArts' Darrell Rodriguez

The Star Wars IP-holder's president talks Old Republic, the MMO genre, and humour in games

The Star Wars universe has been portrayed in a variety of different games over the years - Jedi Knight, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, LEGO Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies to name a few.

But with visibility ramping up on BioWare's forthcoming Old Republic MMO - arguably the most ambitious Star Wars game project to-date - LucasArts president Darrell Rodriguez talks about the IP-holder's views on MMOs, business models, digital downlads and humour in games. One of the most-anticipated titles that's under development at the moment must be Star Wars: The Old Republic - what are your feelings on that game?
Darrell Rodriguez

We're very excited about it - the partnership with BioWare has been phenomenal in the past and the way it's coming around, especially relating to the core mechanics of a basic MMO... taking that and then adding the story element, and story and character development, that's something that's close to our hearts and is really the root of all that we do.

Partnering with someone like BioWare, who is amazing at that as well, to change the MMO genre... absolutely, that's exciting. Stories in games in an interesting subject - some feel that games should tell the player stories, others prefer that players make up their own stories. The Old Republic seems to be more about the latter, which is a bit of a change for LucasArts games, isn't it?
Darrell Rodriguez

Well I think you hit the nail on the head - Lucas has always been about strong stories and strong characters, and regardless of what the rest of the industry does, we will continue to do that in the future. It's very important to us.

There are different consumers that want different things, but story has been important to us for the last 30 years, and definitely will continue to be so in the future. And when you're making a decision about who to work with on something like that, obviously BioWare has a great track record - but were there any other contenders? There's already a Star Wars MMO out there, after all, so why now?
Darrell Rodriguez

Why not now? Some people might say that one reason might be World of Warcraft...
Darrell Rodriguez

Yeah, that's interesting, and kudos to World of Warcraft and the folks there, it is a phenomenal offering. But we've got a very strong IP, Galaxies is a great IP as well, and why not now, related to people's desire to see more Star Wars?

It continues - Clone Wars is an expansion of the universe there - and BioWare proved that they were good shepherds of the IP with KOTOR. So we decided to partner with them because of that, and also their passion for it. When you look at a timescale for the life of a product... Star Wars Galaxies has been going for about seven years now, and there are still updates begin added -
Darrell Rodriguez

And we're continuing on.

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