BioWare Responds to Eurogamer’s SWTOR Review, Depiction As ‘Competent But Not Innovative’
Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Director James Ohlen responded to Eurogamer’s review of the new MMORPG in an interview with the site, in which he says the review’s characterization of SWTOR as lacking innovation is “unfair.”
The review handed over an 8/10 to SWTOR and called it “immensely competent,” but Ohlen took issue with critic Oli Welsh’s claim that SWTOR doesn’t bring much new to the table. Ohlen likened SWTOR and its underlying structure to first-person shooters, real-time strategy and platforming games, saying that those games have maintained the same basic mechanics for the last 20 years, and that doesn’t cause them to lack innovation — so why should MMOs be expected to change everything?
I don’t know why the MMORPG genre is not considered to be a genre,” Ohlen shrugged. “It could be that World of Warcraft has dominated for so long that people just think of it as just a single game genre.
“But it is a genre, and we wanted to appeal to fans of that genre – we don’t want to turn them away by making something that’s radically different. And we wanted to take the lessons that have been developed in that genre over years and years and years and basically refine them, much like other companies do with other genres.
So, I don’t know, it’s just the way it is, but I don’t see us as not being innovative. We’re actually a lot more innovative within the MMO space than comparable games in other spaces like the first-person genre, the action genre – games like that.
Ohlen also said he thinks some people expected BioWare to reinvent the wheel in terms of MMO gameplay, but that was never the studio’s intention.
The expectations on what the game was going to be for a lot of people was kind of different to what we were building. We were building essentially a classic MMO with BioWare storytelling set in the Star Wars universe. And there were a lot of people out there who wanted us to reinvent the universe and come up with a game system that had never been done before. And that was something we weren’t doing, so it was going to be disappointing for those people.
We did succeed in creating a game that’s very fun and addictive, and I think that’s what’s going to make this successful.
You can read the rest of the lengthy interview over at Eurogamer. We’re still finalizing our extensive review of SWTOR, but in the meantime, let’s put it to you — how do you rank SWTOR? Do you agree with naysayers claiming it’s just a World of Warcraft clone? Or are many complainers just unable to see past a decade of WoW gaming?