P.S.: For transparency purposes, I want to state that this post was also cross-posted here:
While waiting for GW2, as some of you know, I have been looking around what is on the upcoming horizon. Though by far not having a complete overview, there is another game that caught my attention: Star Wars: The Old Republic developped by BioWare and LucasArts.
Which game looks better (and I don't just mean graphical appearance)?
It's hard to say.
To me, with massive monetary backing that is LucasArts, it seems that SW:TOR has the bigger budget. With bigger budgets you will have more money to create more massively immersible worlds, more money for voice actors (another documentary mentioned that there were literally hundreds of voice actors involved, more money for music (including a full orchestra and choir). Having brought BioWare onboard, the Star Wars frachise can be sure of having a very solid and gaming company with a long line of experience in the RPG genre - they have afterall to a great extent defined the RPG gaming genre. Combine that with LucasArts long-standing experience in theatrical story-telling, and I think that these two companies complement each other very well.
Anet with the backing of NCSoft in contrast seem much more like a traditional pairing: Anet as the developper and NCsoft as the publisher with a more limited budget.
And yet, based on what we have seen they are pulling out a small gem as well. Anet succeeded in creating a new lore world (despite the choppiness in the story telling of the first 3 chapater).
Maybe it is the artistic freedom that comes with exploring a completely new world that I somehow think at this point GW2 looks better than SW:TOR. Here, I am mainly referring to the in-game graphics we have seen so far from all the videos released.
SW:TOR may lead massiveness of voice acting and musical power, but I somehow have a feeling that GW2 is slightly more innovative in the game design concept itself (i.e.: business model (B2P), Event System and Event Chains, an attempt to diversify play by deemphasizing the holy trinity (SW:TOR actually relies on it), positional skill system in combat with some emergant properties, and modified death system).
Don't get me wrong, this post is not meant as a SW:TOR basher thread. Rather it reflects my giddy excitement for both games and my curiosity to see which game will be (more) successful. Based on what I am seeing (my hypothesis), I am starting to believe that these two games are both in their own ways bringing new wind into the stale market that is the mmorpg market. Better graphics are a given, but not the essence because as you all know there are plenty of prettier looking WoW wrappers out there.
What then am I basing this statement on?
Both games are trying to bring single-player elements into the mmorpg world. These include elements such as:
- A multitude of very personal story lines.
- Meaningful and irreversable choices that stay with your character and influence the future.
- A unique way to interact and build up relationships with NPCs.
- Major influence of voice acting as a vehicle to deliver the story.
- Massive content that come with the changed way of content delivery. (BioWare stated in one of their many really well done interviews/documentaries that SW:TOR will have more content than all of their previous games together).
I don't know. That is my opinion. But what do you guys AND gals think? Discuss!
P.S.: I absolutely loved all the documentaries that BioWare/LucasArts are doing as it helps to bring out the faces behind the game. In particular, there was a doc on the music of SW:TOR. SW:TOR will have 5 hours of original music scores + ALL of the music in KOTOR + ALL of the John Williams Star Wars music from all the other movies. I have NEVER seen a game before that will ship with THAT much music. That movie was really well done. I personally wish that Anet would also bring out more faces behind the game. We have seen some, but some more would always be appreciated. In particular, a video on the sound and music creation like what they have done with SW:TOR would be cool.