Star Wars: The Old Republic’s director James Ohlen says that saying THe Old Republic is not innovative is unfair, and that it only uses the tried and true method of the MMO genre.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Ohlen said that even shooter and strategy games use the same formulas that were used in their respective genres 20 years ago. “If you look at a Battlefield or a Call of Duty or a Gears of War or even a Half-Life – those games use the same tried and true interface and the same tried and true game mechanics of the first-person shooter genre that’s been around for 20 years,” he said.
He says that World of Warcraft has “dominated [the MMORPG genre] for so long that people just think of it as just a single game genre.” But he feels this is a wrong generelization.
“But it is a genre, and we wanted to appeal to fans of that genre – we don’t want to turn them away by making something that’s radically different,” he said. “And we wanted to take the lessons that have been developed in that genre over years and years and years and basically refine them, much like other companies do with other genres.
“So, I don’t know, it’s just the way it is, but I don’t see us as not being innovative. We’re actually a lot more innovative within the MMO space than comparable games in other spaces like the first-person genre, the action genre – games like that.”
He commented that the game has been doing well since its launch in December, in US a little more than in Europe. But that is mainly because the Star Wars brand is stronger in the former region.
“Star Wars [the brand] is a little bit stronger in North America than in Europe,” Ohlen said. “The expectations on what the game was going to be for a lot of people was kind of different to what we were building. We were building essentially a classic MMO with BioWare storytelling set in the Star Wars universe. And there were a lot of people out there who wanted us to reinvent the universe and come up with a game system that had never been done before.
“And that was something we weren’t doing, so it was going to be disappointing for those people.”
He feel BioWare has succeeded in “creating a game that’s very fun and addictive” which is “what’s going to make this successful.”