Former SWTOR lead Daniel Erickson shares behind-the-scenes secrets

    
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As you fight off another wave of the Rakghoul Plague (will it ever be cured?) in Star Wars: The Old Republic this week, you may want to spend some of your downtime reading some eye-opening revelations from former BioWare Austin Lead Developer Daniel Erickson, who popped up on a Reddit thread and shared all kinds of interesting behind-the-scenes tidbit and trivia about the MMO.

“We started talking about the MMO when we were still making [Dragon Age Origins] and James’ vision was far more BioWare than MMO,” Erickson wrote. “Basically a huge, sprawling, ever expanding BioWare storyline with a multiplayer marketplace, social spaces and PVP. Like Netflix or HBO we were okay that people might unsubscribe for a bit then come back as new content appeared.

“As we were sold twice (first to an investment company then to EA) the pressure for this to be the mega hit meant the finger kept being pointed at WoW. The problem of course is when you say ‘Okay, first we copy the most successful MMO of all time, THEN we…’ you’ve pretty much set yourself up for misery.”

Here are a few more choice quotes to share in case you don’t want to comb through the entire post:

  • “We actually did try some action combat stuff (saber locking was awesome… until a third person jumped in to shank you) but there were just too many battles to fight at once so we backed off to something safer.”
  • “The game didn’t do as well as EA hoped because they wanted to unseat the king (WoW) with the same product instead of leaning into what BioWare was great at.”
  • “We never properly priced out the cost of the Darth Malgus statues so lost money on the collector’s editions.”
  • “A couple classes had shared duties due to time constraints, staff changes, etc. more of them, however are one person. Sith Warrior: Neil Pollner. Imperial Agent: Alex Freed. Sith Inquisitor: Rebecca Harwick. Trooper: Charles Boyd. Jedi Consular: Jo Berry.”
  • How many people worked on the game: “At the peak? 200+ with about that many more working offsite, freelance, etc.”
  • “I wrote and came up with Huttball which I still giggle about. Mainly the thought was, ‘What would Hutts find entertaining?’ Which made me think of all those ‘lesser’ beings running and jumping and using their silly legs. Which of course led the thoughts of the Running Man movie.”
  • “When I wrote the book on the making of the game I tried to get our original lead engineer, Bill Dalton, to talk about HeroEngine and the lawyers removed every other word he said so I had to ditch the section.”
Source: Twitter, Reddit via GalaxiesTheBook
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