SW:TOR senior producer discusses Shadow of Revan and Revan's final chapter

Shacknews spoke to Star Wars: The Old Republic senior producer Bruce MacLean about the new Shadow of Revan expansion, which is being billed as the end of Revan's story. We also ask about the game's Discipline system, past missteps with server merges, the game's future, and more.


For Star Wars: The Old Republic subscribers, today marks a momentous occasion for fans of the game's lore. Shadow of Revan arrives today and brings along with it, arguably The Old Republic's most recognizable character. Revan returns from his last appearance, as well as from his starring role in the original Knights of the Old Republic. And if BioWare is to be believed, this expansion will mark an end to his tale, one way or another.

To learn more about Revan's story, what's coming up for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and to answer some concerns from our Chatty community, Shacknews recently spoke to SW:TOR senior producer Bruce MacLean.

"The story of Revan still hasn't been concluded and it's obviously, to this era, the most important story of The Old Republic," MacLean told Shacknews. "The foundational games of this era were Knights of the Old Republic and in those games, you were Revan. Revan was in our flashpoint in our game earlier on and some players defeated him and he vanished, where he's presumed dead. But his storyline is incomplete. What is the ultimate fate of Revan? So we set out from the beginning of this expansion to answer that question."

Those new to the Old Republic lore may be wondering who Revan is, but he's someone that needs no introduction to fans of the original KOTOR. He was the central character of KOTOR, one of the few characters to play the role of the heroic Jedi Master and the feared Sith Lord. Revan has since returned to this expansion with one goal: order. To him, the path to order runs through the destruction of both the Republic and the Empire, with all Jedi and Sith dead at his feet. And with a devoted legion of followers, he may just have what it takes to conquer the entire galaxy.

There's more to Shadow of Revan than lore, however. The team recognizes that a sector of former KOTOR players, as well as former SW:TOR players, will be logging into the game for the first time in years. Rather than turn them off with the cumbersome talent system, the team is aiming to make their lives a little easier with the new Discipline system.

"The Discipline system, which is coming out with Shadow of Revan, makes return easy," MacLean added. "A lot of MMO expansions go through this pain and we went through this same thing with Rise of the Hutt Cartel. You log in to play this new expansion and your talents are reset, your hotkeys are a mess, and you spend an hour trying to figure out what you can do. Disciplines remove this barrier. You log in and there's a clear screen telling you your roles. By picking these roles, your core damage rotational abilities are given to you. You can't mess it up and you have more utility choices than you ever had before."

Shadow of Revan is set to kick off a huge 2015 campaign for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's not only set to launch a full year's worth of new story content, but it is also going to pave the way for some potential new gameplay additions. Shacknews asked MacLean about poster ashkie's suggestion of true open space exploration, which MacLean coyly brushed off, only stating, "You're dangerously close."

Another debate that's being floated around BioWare Austin is what to do with the 12x XP bonus that was recently offered as a Shadow of Revan pre-order incentive. Chatty's skinlab133 pointed out the brilliance of such an incentive and wondered about its future. MacLean answered that discussions for what to do with this idea in the future are ongoing.

With player retention a primary goal of the new expansion, Shacknews asked about the previous server merge that caused former players like Chatty's loppsided to lose his name and never return. If players should return, would they have to fear anything like this happening again?

MacLean was seemingly taken aback by the question, one that touched on a troublesome period for the game. "It was a very challenging time," MacLean explained. "There were simply too many servers. It was simply numbers and, as a result, it killed the feeling that there are other players in this world. It hurts an MMO and it hurts the multiplayer systems, which are the lifeblood, in a lot of ways. That was the best we could do at the time, but we weren't happy with it. At the time, we said we needed to figure out a way to avoid having to do this again. I can commit to us never doing that again. We are working on better ways to solve those problems."

Star Wars: The Old Republic has come a long way since it launched three years ago and, in fact, BioWare Austin is set to imminently announce plans for the game's third anniversary later this month. MacLean is promising a 'happy announcement' set to come closer to the anniversary's date, which will cover the full game, whether players have the new expansion or not.

As for those that do have the expansion, they should expect Revan's story to end with a sense of closure. With much of BioWare Austin comprised of original KOTOR developers, the team saw a vested interest in seeing a definitive conclusion to one of their all-time favorite characters. MacLean and the rest of the team are hoping the fans will feel just as satisfied with Revan's final story.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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