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Interview mit/with Charles Boyd, Lead Writer of The Old Republic: German Nuvola German flag · English Nuvola British Flag · Reddit


Wiki5
So, after seeing the new trailer (Become the Outlander) tonight, is Vitiate really Valkorion?
I can’t discuss who might be who or who isn’t who yet because the story hasn’t come out yet. That’s not really a Jedipedia-worthy answer, but the Vitiate storyline is not being abandoned. You will see more about Vitiate in the new storyline. That’s all I can say.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
Is the Eternal Throne somehow connected with Rakatan technology?
The technology of the Eternal Throne is a keypart of the story and it’s especially gonna be something moving forward to the future that’s gonna be a major part of it, so I don’t want to dig into it too much. But you’re not totally off-based as that exactly… that’s not a stealth confirmation. The technology of it is very specific and very important and that’s a keypart of the story.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
We just saw that amazing ‘Sacrifice’ Trailer – will we see more of them in the future, maybe a whole storyline just with these trailers?
We would love to do that – that would be awesome. You can imagine they are a little expensive. We love working with Blur, we love doing trailers with them, so if we get the opportunity we absolutely use it.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
How long did this trailer take you to make?
It’s tough to say because I think we actually kind of got them to do this one faster than they normally would. It’s many months, it’s not like years or anything but, you know, to do at their level of quality they would prefer to have as many months to spend on it and really find every little detail that they can. This one was four minutes so that makes it a little tougher like if it’s a two minute one. The first one – Deceived – I think that one was actually shorter, so that one took them maybe a little less time but they were also generating all the assets for the first time. I mean, that was the first time they were doing a Star Wars trailer – don’t call me on that, I may be wrong – but it was one of their first Star Wars and they had to make new art for everything, so that actually… You know, there are just a lot of factors that determine how long it takes to do that.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
Who composes the soundtrack?


I actually don’t know – I forgot if it’s someone from Blur, someone they contract to do it. I mean, they’re incredibly talented and the music, and everything in those trailers is spot-on - they’re just incredibly talented. Any time you get to do Star Wars music is great.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
In preparation for this interview I visited several communities and met a lot of angry PvP-players. But sadly there really seems to be sort of a stagnation regarding this topic: no new PvP content has been added for a long time and the imbalance of class abilities is also very infuriating. So can we take it that you’re doing something about it? And are the rumors about a Rishi arena true?
This is tricky. So, PvP isn’t my specialty – I’m mostly focused on the story, so I can only kind of answer generally, I don’t want to speak for other people who are expert on that. For now the focus on PvP is on getting class balance really well, you know, work harder to get those classes where people like them and feel like they’re balanced with each other appropriately. And there is definitely some changes – there’ve been changes. I think many in the past we’ve done recently and there certainly will be more with Knights of the Fallen Empire. I think, some of these might be on PTS soon or if they’re not there, I forget. That might have been a closed PTS. But yeah that’s definitely their focus right now – we’re always prototyping and experimenting with different kinds of warzones so they’re always in the works, but yeah there’s nothing really to announce right now and I know that’s not what you want to hear. You can blame me personally because this expansion is so focused on the story, but yeah they are constantly testing new things and trying different kinds – they wanna do something new and exciting that players will be excited about.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
I really liked your KOTFE website. Unfortunately many parts of your website e.g. the planets section are not up to date yet…
Oh no.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
Are you going to do something about this?
I mean, I hope so. We should. That’s a great thing to do. This is not my department, so I don’t wanna speak to say: “Yes, six months, it’s done”. But, yeah, I’ll absolutely bring it up.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
Are you planning on publishing new SWTOR novels or an up to date version of the Encyclopedia?
I actually worked on the encyclopedia. So that one would be a really cool project. It’s really not up to us, unfortunately. When it comes to licenses and tie-in products like that, it’s really up to Lucasfilm and Disney. That doesn’t mean, it won’t happen. We’ve seen a lot of really exciting support for Knights of the Fallen Empire stuff. If they see fans wanting that, there’s always a chance they do it. If there’s enough to work for, the way to get that would be to make some noise, you know, express that y’all would like to see that or have fans express that they wanna see that. If they think they make some money on that, then there’s a chance to expand Star Wars in that way. That’s a good way to go for it.
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
How does the still unclear canon status of SWTOR affect your work?
Not at all. Basically, I’m a huge Star Wars fan, we’re all huge Star Wars fans, so we’re just going to make it the best Star Wars thing we can and if the movies need to do something that override something we do, we will roll with it and if they don’t, then they won’t. Actually, you know our trailer went through every official Lucasfilm channel.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
I heard that even J.J. Abrams watched it.


I heard that, too, so yeah, they didn’t say no, so…. [laughs] Everything we do is reviewed by them and we work closer with them because we do want to represent Star Wars, the core Star Wars.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
So there won’t be a connection between The Force Awakens and SWTOR?


We don’t work on the movie or have any interaction with that, so I wouldn’t…
Charles Boyd
Wiki5
Probably not?


Yeah, I can’t think of anything that turns out in this direction.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
How many months or years in advance have you already planned the future of the game?


It really depends on what we’re doing. Right now, we have a fair bit planned out because we have this full season of content that we’re gonna do – the nine chapters coming in October and more to come after the holidays – we actually have it maybe further… we always have vague plans for quite the way out, but we have very detailed plans for well into next year for that content and then we’ll be starting very shortly on plans to follow that up, you know, so a lot of parts of next year.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
And how many months ago was the Sacrifice trailer made?


It was finished not long before it was released, that’s the style kind of things like this go. It would have been… – I forget when it started exactly, to be honest - since that’s Blur and not us. In general we try to plan as far ahead as we can – it always helps us if you know what’s coming, you can kinda see the ideas and lead developing towards that plot point. Maybe that question about the Eternal Throne earlier maybe won’t pay off immediately but maybe pay off far down in the future because we know some of the stuff we wanna move towards it. We’re always looking for opportunities like that and the best way to find something like that is to plan ahead as much as you can.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Speaking of 'Shadow of Revan' and 'Rise of the Emperor': many players complain that companions with connections to the story have been neglected. Lord Scourge, who once even worked for the Emperor, has been completely ignored and also Lieutenant Pierce, who was born on Ziost, doesn’t say anything when you arrive there…


Moving forward we don’t want that to happen again. That was not a decision where we said “We all want to do that”, it was really just a matter of budget and time. Lord Scourge, for instance, that would have been awesome, I would have loved to do that, but you would need the story to branch hugely to do that and then you get in kind of an unfair situation when one class gets way more content than another, but moving forward I think we have a lot… – I can’t say too much – but with the way some of the companion stuff is changing, we’ll have way more control over, you know, who’s present, who will be involved in any given situation and we can plan for that much better that we did in those cases and we’ll do hopefully a lot better.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Is Revan really dead know? Or is he coming back?


[chuckles] We saw his force ghost – he’s gotta be, right?
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
So, he’s really, really dead?


Yeah, he’s really, really a force ghost... until someone gives me a really great idea to bring him back. [laughs] Do you wanna bring him back? [of course, we say yes] So the goal of SoR was to give him a proper ending to really finish up – he’s still a force ghost, so he can still show up, but he’s definitely physically dead.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
And Thexan is dead, too?


I might regret this later, but I’m gonna say yes: he’s absolutely dead because to me the whole crux of that trailer is that his brother kills him and if he’s not really dead, then that moment of darkness, that decision, it loses a lot of its weight. And Arcann is definitely gonna be one of our major characters moving forward. I don’t wanna undermine that for him, so that moment is very important for his development...
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Will the death of his brother affect something in KOTFE?


That’s not a plot point we’re gonna drop. People will remember his involvement. Arcann is definitely a different person now after this happens.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
So when does this trailer take place? How many years after SoR is it?


Okay, I don’t wanna go for a specific amount – the trailer itself is not many years after it. I wanna say it’s within a year, but that’s the jetlag talking – I’m having a hard time with saying the exact number, the trailer takes place before KOTFE. It’s gonna set it up. If you saw the trailer we just showed where the player comes in and sees Arcann and that, Arcann is already with the cyborg mask out of ‘Sacrifice’.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
And that’s Chapter 1 – ‘Become the Outlander’?


I’m not gonna say that yet but yeah that’s in the stuff that’s coming out in October. So you can see these already – the cyborg and that – and the trailer is meant to be sort of a lead-in to that expansion episode.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
What role will Satele Shan and Darth Marr take? So we saw Darth Marr in the trailer…


They will be around, I can’t say more than that.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Satele Shan, too?


Yeah. I probably shouldn’t have said that, but sure. We wouldn’t wanna drop characters like that – obviously they’re very important to the galaxy and play major roles. They have played major roles, I’m not saying when they are there.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Will there be another patch before Knights of the Fallen Empire, like 3.4? And what number is KOTFE?


KOTFE is 4.0. That’s what that is. I’m sorry - I don’t actually remember if we’re doing another…there’s no more story patches before that – KOTFE will explain how you transition from Rise of the Emperor to everything you’ve seen so far. Chapter 1 is about moving into it – it will be explained how everything connects. So there won’t be another story update before that.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
Something funny for the end: most players agree with each other that Treek is an invaluable companion, but her voice is very annoying. Would it be possible to introduce a feature which would allow players to mute Treek without having to switch off the whole sound?


[laughs] That’s definitely come up with the ship droids/butlers 2V-R8 and C2-N2 before. I don’t think of anything to announce about that specifically but there are various changes with companions in general that we will be discussing when we come closer to release that might have an impact on them.
Charles Boyd


Wiki5
And you can’t mute her without turning off the whole sound?


Well, hypothetically that’s a feature we could do - I don’t know enough about the audio system. It’s something that’s come up before, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we took some time to do it, but I don’t think we have anything to announce in that direction right now – there might be changes,… no let’s not say that, there are improvements to the companion system coming and that might make you feel less like you have to travel with Treek, cause I know a lot of people who feel like Treek is absolutely the best companion gameplay wise so that’s all I can say on that but hopefully it won’t be an issue.
Charles Boyd

A big thanks to Mr. Charles Boyd for taking time for us and to Cyanide3 for helping me with the interview!

This interview was carried out by Ben Braden at Gamescom SWTOR Community Cantina on August 6th, 2015.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

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