60 Second Preview of…

Star Wars Galaxies at E3 2001

The Specs

Galaxies will feature eight playable races, a new 3D engine, zoneless worlds, vehicles for land and space travel, and support for player run associations. Galaxies will be skill-based instead of level based, and will be designed so that players don't have to play for hours and hours to keep up with friends. Players will see and interact with famous Star Wars characters and will be able to play for the the Rebels or Imperial forces in the Galactic Civil War, or can remain neutral. Housing will be supported, as will player run businesses, including factories. Players can become bounty hunters, merchant, smugglers, and Jedi. Six months after the game is released a space expansion is planned that will support space battles.

The Speculation

Mark's Comments: Galaxies was the most impressive game at E3, though we really were mostly seeing a glorious graphics engine at work. It's an immense game in just about every way you can imagine. In size, the one world Verant has finished is 35% bigger than all of EverQuest, and they plan on having many worlds in Galaxies. In ambition, Galaxies is being designed to be so open-ended players can have careers as hairdressers if they want, or possibly rise through the ranks to become the captain of a Star Destroyer. In execution, Galaxies' graphic engine already looks a couple of generations ahead of anything out there. The game looked almost as good as a movie during the demo we watched. Raph Koster, one of the Ultima Online designers who's now working for Verant on this game calls it a second generation massively multiplayer game. Translated, that means they're hoping to eliminate many of the design problems found in UO and EQ while at the same time trying to realize design goals they had to leave out of those games. The biggest obstacle they face is not tripping over their ambition.

Tom's Comments: Let me be the first to distance myself from all the praise being heaped on this tech demo. Becasue that's all that was showing at E3: a tech demo with the sound of developers in the background making promises. Among their promises were minimizing the problems other MMORPGs have with downtime during corpse retrieval and spawn camping; integrating space and planetside gameplay so they don't feel like separate and unrelated games; creating an economy that doesn't favor people who play 30 hours a week; and making a MMORPG with a wide enough appeal that it will work as a combat-free experience or an engine for role-playing or an economic sim or a chat program with a graphical interface. Support for use as a dessert topping and floor wax will be added six months after the space portion of the game is added. Sure, Galaxies looked great, as most tech demos are wont to do. With huge AT-AT and Krayt Dragon models, the developers were able to capture a sense of scale that's been missing from Star Wars games since Jedi Knight. But Verant has a long way to go before they've got an actual game.

Publisher:

Sony Online

Developer:

Verant Interactive

Genre:

Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game

Release Date:

2002

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May 22, 2001