More Star Wars Galaxies Information Revealed, Fourth Race Unveiled

Star Wars Galaxies is already generating a great deal of interest at Sony's online front, Sony Station. To deal with their frenzied fans, Sony and LucasArts have set up a message board dedicated to the new title. Haden Blackman, LucasArts' Content Supervisor, was good enough to take the best from a number of fans' questions and answer them in this forum, revealing more information about what is already one of the most anticipated games of next year. Below are some of the questions people asked, as well as the answers given by Blackman.

Q: Will you be modeling character movement from real people, hooked-up with all those motion sensor gizmos?

A: We've discussed using motion capture data for our animations, but we haven't come to a final decision on this yet. Motion capture is really great for canned animations that have a fixed duration and are relatively self-contained ö like death animations, which aren't followed by anything else. But, it can be very difficult to blend a series of mocap animations, which would be necessary if we were stringing together a bunch of attack animations. The jury's still out on this one.

Q: Will we be able to customize our character looks when we first create them? Is it going to be like EQ where we can choose from 8 different models, or will it be more like UO where we can change the hair color, skin, or fur color?

A: The customization options will be much more varied than the options in EQ or UO. We canāt go into all the details, but youāll have a great deal of freedom when creating your characterās physical appearance.

Q: Will we be able to spy and sell the information we obtain?

A: We view information as another commodity, which can be bought, sold, stolen, etc. Weāre still working out all the details for all ćspy-relatedä systems, but we already have at least one system that allows players to report specific types of activity to factions.

Q: How exactly did you come to the decision when you said that "players will be able to become Jedi?

A: Iāve explained this in detail elsewhere, but the main reasons were:

-Jedi are undeniably Star Wars and the concept of Jedi is unique to the license (other science fiction movies have aliens, space travel, etc., but nothing has anything like Jedi and lightsabers). We couldnāt claim to be developing a definitive Star Wars MMORPG and leave Jedi out.

-We knew that people would want to play Jedi and, at the end of the day, weāre making a game. Wish-fulfillment is paramount to an MMORPG.

-The Jedi system, as we envision it, will lead to role-playing, which is also important to us.

There were dozens of other reasons, but those cover a good bit of the discussion. And I want to stress that we didnāt make this decision without knowing its implications - Iām obsessed with continuity, but I also recognize that there are many times when we need to bend (or even break with) the continuity in order to deliver a satisfying gaming experience.

A number of other issues were also discussed; one of the more interesting items revealed by Blackman is that the card game Sabacc will be a mini-game in Star Wars Galaxies, although the rules have yet to be finalized. For the full text of the Q&A session, head here.

Sony and LucasArts still have more up their sleeves than just this Q&A session, however; the fourth playable race to be included in the game has been divulged. The latest anthropoids to make the cut are the twi'lek. The twi'lek are a common species, and while similar to humans, differ in one notable respect: The two tentacles that drape down around their face. The twi'lek are native to the planet Ryloth, and range from pale white to dark green in coloration. Though a generally peaceful race, they tend to occupy a number of trades, be they crimelords, Jedi knights, pilots, or politicians. Finally, the species makes use of the secret 'head-tail language', a form of speech only twi'lek players will be able to decipher. Here are some drawings of several twi'lek:

With many more playable races still to come, Star Wars Galaxies should be able to drum up hype to a fever pitch over the next few months leading up to its launch. The game is currently scheduled to be released sometime next year.

by Andrew Long    
Source: [Sony Station]
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