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Space Combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic

I have been avoiding this topic for a little while because it is one that is difficult for me. Space combat is an integral part of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I wrote about it back in the beginning of the year and then I wrote about it again only a few weeks ago. I was right that they were going to release space combat, but I was incredibly wrong about how they were going to do it. There’s a good chance that the reason for that was because I was hoping for it to come out a certain way.

However, space combat is in The Old Republic. I purchased a copy of PC Gamer and went through it, tearing it apart, finding all the little details. And then, BioWare released a short little clip that showed what space combat was like. So, I wanted to give a run down of what it’s going to be like. While I haven’t played it yet–obviously–we can get a better idea of what game play will be like.

Space Combat in The Old Republic

It should be noted from the absolute beginning that space combat, as mentioned in PC Gamer, will not be “a revival of the class X-Wing s TIE Fighter space-combat games.” Much to my own frustration, this is the case. Jake Neri, LucasArts Producer told PC Gamer that, “we didn’t set out to make a full ‘go anywhere’ space game. It’s important for us to be true to the core of this game, and we didn’t feel that was the right decision based on our experience with other games we’ve built around here.”

That means that space combat is going to be a tunnel shooter. For those that don’t know, a tunnel shooter means that you travel along a predetermined track. However, you can move your ship up and down the Y axis and left and right on the X axis and you might be able to move diagonal, but that might just be a movement of the X and Y. Neri explained the gameplay as “the most cinematic moments that we can create. We want players to get in and feel like they’re in the movies. It’s about highly cinematic controlled combat moments…very heroic, action packed, exciting, visceral and dangerous encounters that’ll make you pee your pants.” You decide.

That’s great and I’ll be honest…Watching that really was an exciting experience. It does leave a few questions in my mind, but I’ll save that for another post when more is confirmed. It’s just questions on PvP and other people being a part of it.

Looking at that clip, though, we can all agree that there is a lot going on. And that’s the point. BioWare wasn’t going to make a full on flight simulator, but they still wanted you to feel heroic. And they still wanted you to die if you failed. Kevin Barrett, the executive producer at BioWare Edmonton told PC Gamer that they wanted players to die. They want it to be really hard to beat the mission.

So, you fly through an asteroid field–but you’re not actually flying because the tunnel is doing it for you–and then you target different ships. You might have to destroy a series of fighters and at the same time, blow up a capital ship. So, you shoot your lasers–which sound very familiar to the movie sounds–and destroy fighters. Then, you use your missiles and destroy the capital ship. That’s what we know so far. Will more be revealed? One can hope.

Now, one last thing does stand out in this clip. There are six different ships shown. Now, I can comfortably gauge which one is which. We know the Jedi and Sith ship, but then there are four others. The sleek silver one that looks similar to the Naboo ship is probably the Imperial Agents. The one with the green boosters is probably the Bounty Hunter. The one that looks very similar to the Ebon Hawk is for the smuggler. Finally, the ship that has the two wings coming off the main body look to it is for the Trooper.

Are these confirmed? No. But, there’s a very good chance, just by thinking about who the characters are, that this will be the way it is structured. Space combat is an interesting thing. I hoped for it to be one way, but perhaps my frustrations won’t go unheard. Maybe it will be amazing? But, for now, I am a little let down. Any opinions?

Space Combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Cameron
    August 19, 2010
    Reply #1

    This looks like a great solution to the boredom I experienced during Star Wars Galaxies space combat. This looks fun as hell, the visuals look really stunning. While this wasn’t what I was expecting (at all), I am very pleased with what they have chosen to do.

    • Jacob
      August 19, 2010
      Reply #2

      You experienced boredom in Star Wars Galaxies space combat? I hear that’s the only aspect of the game that was good. But yeah, this looks like a very visually stunning experience. I just wish it were more than a tunnel shooter and allowed me to have my friends help.

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