Electronic Arts announced today in its press release the name of the next Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion: The Knights of the Fallen Empire!
Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ – The largest story-driven expansion to date, Knights of the Fallen Empire, marks a renewed focus on cinematic storytelling in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The expansion will deliver on the hallmarks of what makes a great BioWare™ game: new worlds to explore, new companions to recruit, and a dynamic story that players will be able to shape based on the choices they make.
They’ve said there will be more news coming during their press conference on Monday, making it officially the first time I’ve ever wanted to watch EA’s E3 conference because honestly if they can deliver on what this small pitch is promising? Oh I will be one major happy camper. I mean, consider this: new worlds – plural – to explore. I mean, that one can go either way really because technically The Shadow of Revan had worlds plural. It had Rishi and Yavin-4. Even though together they were about the size of Korriban and Tython put together (heck, even the layout of Yavin-4 resembles Korriban a bit, with the raid being where the Sith Academy is, followed by tombs to the East and then wilderness on the far east. Wait… you don’t think that was intentional with the heavy Sith influence on both… do you?) but hey, I will take two planets of a single biome each over one. The new companions to recruit also sounds promising. Again, companions plural. What does that mean? Well, it could mean a couple of things. The first is of course we can recruit multiple companions in the expansion to our crew. The second is something like each class gets one new companion each leading to multiples, or finally that there will be multiple possibilities for what companion will join your crew. Like ‘choose one person from these two to live! The survivor joins your crew’. Honestly, the more exciting news is the possibility of Bioware Austin turning their gaze back to the companions. The devs have posted multiple times that they’ve been hoping to get a chance to do things like expand on the companion stories, and this may be the opportunity to do so. Finally, and really let’s be honest – the big one – is “a dynamic story that players will be able to shape based on the choices they make.” Now the key here isn’t the choices part. We’ve had choices all along. It’s just that most of our choices are the illusion of choice, or create a minor detour before hopping back on course (fight this mob, go to this one room and flip and switch, etc.) The key thing in this phrase that actually excites me is the word ‘Dynamic’. Dynamic is one of those things that screams ‘Fluid!’ ‘Multiple paths!’ ‘Different outcomes!’ and why the heck not. After all, SWTOR has been very much been “single player” in terms of it’s storylines. Not every bounty hunter is the canonical winner of the Great Hunt simultaneously, nor is every Consular the Barsenthor of the Jedi Order. Your character is – in terms of the narrative at least – the only one. So why do we all have to follow the same trail? Dynamic stories is something I have wanted since the game launched. Well, that and scaling planets so you could do them out of order (Imagine accomplish all your act one objectives in the order YOU choose!) which honestly has sort of been implemented with the Rakghoul and Bounty Contract events. Honestly, this is exciting to me. I am really looking forward to see what they have to say on Monday, and what news is to come about Knights of the Fallen Empire, which by the way is kind of a cool homage name to KOTOR. I likey.
UPDATE: See my recap and take on the E3 Presentation and other assorted news coming out about Knights of the Fallen Empire here!