LucasArts just released the first cinematic trailer for the KOTOR. Emphasis cinematic. I’ve been making something of an effort not to get sucked into any hype-tornado that might build up prior to the release, not wanting to set myself up for a brutal fantasy-gone-south bashing. I would have loved to work with SWG, with the original team! I didn’t know if I would have wanted to work on the KOTOR MMO (although I know I’d be proud as heck to work with their team, well – aside from a certain crazy German).
Cinematic trailer? Yeah, well the cinematic trailer for WAR was stunning. And making CGI-movies is kinda something LucasArts are good at.
But over these many years I’ve noticed something about Lucas: A certain correlation between the investment in the cut-scenes/trailers and the game itself. Lucas is a very creative place, and perhaps it takes a good product to fire up the artists and the bean counters to invest in a high-grade cutscene, and products that have been licensed but don’t give anyone a boner get given approval to make their own (usually sucky) pre-rendered little clips.
Or perhaps its the other way around – maybe because Lucas Arts went with cutscenes, the Force Unleashed team didn’t get as fired up as they needed to be to pull together and make a kick-ass game (instead of an OK ass-kicking game).
But look, that’s just my speculation and I sense some wishful thinking in it. I’m only even posting it because after watching the trailer, I noticed the Old Republic website link on the page. Watching the trailer had begged an obvious question: Why are they posting a cinematic instead of gameplay, eh? Have they already realized the game looks awful and decided people won’t get fired up by anything but trailers?
So I clicked the link, asking “So, what does it look like?”
It didn’t particularly answer it first, several images that looked like artists renderings. Then I found the screenshots link. It doesn’t look abjectly, eye-demolishingly kick-ass droolable – it’s not going to make you forget the beauty of Unleashed. But that’s good. I don’t want to see screenshots of an MMO that scream “it’s going to need the PC of the future with 8 GeForce 500s linked in SLI backing up your 64 core 9Ghz Pentium 15”; that I’m going to have to run in 800×600 at 5fps until 2015.
But the graphics don’t look retro. And more importantly, the writeups by Damion Schubert finally tipped me towards a cautious optimism. Good stuff on game design, not wishy-washy fantabulous fairy tales about seamless 90km vis distances and other high-tech stuff we know spells fail in MMOs.
So … I’m going to risk it and say … It’s sounding more and more like one to watch for :)
And if you want a little more evidence than just that presented so far… Check out “Combat Tactics” under the classes section of the Holonet… :)