Last night, doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk of BioWare attended a Star Wars: The Old Republic launch party at the Union Square Best Buy. At the event, the staff answered questions from the audience, gave out t-shirts, raffled off copies of the game, and signed Star Wars: The Old Republic NYC Launch Event lithographs for fans picking up their copies of the game. As always, Darth Hater was there to take in the festivities and bring a slice of the fun to our readers at home. Dr. Ray Muzyka was gracious enough to conduct a short interview with us as fans picked up their long awaited copies of Star Wars: The Old Republic
Quote from Ray Muzyka"Today represents an amazing milestone for BioWare, EA and Star Wars fans everywhere and we are confident it has been worth the wait," said Dr.Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder, BioWare and General Manager, EA's BioWare Label. "The support and resources going into Star Wars: The Old Republic are not ending today. The innovations we're bringing to the category are just the start of a journey and ongoing investment in our players that will grow, evolve and transform based on player feedback over the weeks, months and years ahead."
Photos from the event are available in the media gallery below. Hit the jump for our interview in full.
Note: Make sure to check out the launch festivities on the floor of the NASDAQ.
This is Baelor from Darth Hater and we are here at the New York City Launch Event for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Dr. Ray Muzyka was kind enough to grace us with an interview so we are going pick his brain for a bit.How has the launch event been going so far?
Ray Muzyka: It has been fantastic. We got to meet a whole bunch of fans. We got to do autographs, signing the first sale, really had a great time seeing the passion and enthusiasm of all of our great fans here in New York and Worldwide as they’re getting started to play pretty soon. They have been playing Early Access, the launch has begun.
Excellent. Congratulations on this amazing day, I know it has been a long time coming. How does it feel to take a concept originally fleshed out using Neverwinter Nights mod into a full-fledged MMO?
We prototype in a variety of ways at BioWare. We try and use every tool we can to make a great experience. The lead designer on The Old Republic actually came from being a co-lead designer on Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic as well and Baldur’s Gate before that so we wanted to mock up how the experience would feel and that was years and years ago. Then we actually got the engine running and put it into the engine base that we developed now into what you see with The Old Republic, obviously optimized refined and polished. It is actually surreal to see that journey begin anew because really the journey for us is just beginning. This is going to be an adventure that is going to go on for years and years where we invest and support our fans with a great solid service and release more content. When you think about what the team has achieved in the last few years and the ambition that has come to life in the game, I am so proud of them and I am so happy for our fans that we are able to deliver something that is incredibly compelling.
Can you tell us about the initial pitch idea that really sold you both, you and Greg on making The Old Republic?
It was really a conversation back in the day soon after Knights of the Old Republic, a few years later I guess. We were talking obviously we had great partners with Lucasfilm and LucasArts since the beginning and we were talking mutually about ‘Wouldn’t it be great to make an MMO?’ ‘Wouldn’t it be great to make an MMO set in the same timeline as Knights of the Old Republic?’ That was definitely our preference was to try to situate it in the same time period. It just kind of grew, we started talking and next thing we knew we were working together and we’ve been working together for many years now going back to the original Old Republic and now The Old Republic we’ll be working together LucasArts/Lucasfilm for many years to come. It has been a great partnership.
It has taken over five years, staff has come and gone, people have married, had children, can you take us through the whirlwind that was the making of SWTOR?
You know It’s a blur, the time has gone so fast sometimes I stop and think it was just yesterday when we were doing this or that and that was years ago. That is true of a lot of our games. This game is something else though, the ambition and the scope of it is probably bigger than all of the prior BioWare games combined. The team on it is large and they all are really really passionate and efficient, working together very well. They are working together from Edmonton, Virginia, the main team obviously from Austin, we have Ireland for our Customer Service team as well, we have people from Electronic Arts and BioWare’s label all contributing and working on this. It is definitely a huge team effort from folks from the east coast of Virginia to north in Edmonton to folks in Austin, Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world. It’s just amazing to see it all come together.
Since you have been playing the game for a while, have you seen all eight stories? Front to back.
You mean all of the character class stories?
No, I have not seen them all front to back. I have played four to really high levels and I have done all of the eight to origin worlds and beyond to the twenties. This game is huge, it’s immense and I have only scratched the surface. I have played it for a couple years. I have actually played this game more than any prior BioWare game to date so I am incredibly proud of what the team at BioWare Austin and the larger team at the label and the rest of EA has built here. I think it is going to be something that players are going to find really satisfying with tons of different experiences and content with PVE, PVP, story, exploration, space combat, all kinds of crazy goodness with some of it revealed and some of it still yet to come.
From what you have played of the game, what have you enjoyed the most? What is your preferred play style?
Myself, I am a fan of probably more the PVE but I enjoy PVP on occasion but I play on a PVP server because I love the delicious tension of knowing you might be attacked at any moment but I am not really there to do that, it’s just there to make it feel more real. I really love the heroics. I love flashpoints. I love the questing. I love the story arcs and the classes so that is probably what I enjoy the most. I enjoy crafting as well. I like healing. So there’s a whole diverse range of experiences and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Have you played any of the PVP Warzones at this point? Which one would be your favorite?
I have played all of them. I am not a huge PVPer personally but I enjoy them. I think Huttball is probably the most interesting and they are all really cool but that one is just different from anything else out there right now.
We all notice that you did not grow the launch beard, can you tell us why you didn’t follow Greg in that endeavor?
Greg has always had facial hair, beards and all of that. The short answer is my wife does not like facial hair, mustaches, beards and all of that so otherwise I might have considered it.
Anything else you would like to say to the Darth Hater and Star Wars: The Old Republic community at this point for the launch of the game?
Well from the development team, BioWare Austin, and the rest of the BioWare label, BioWare Ireland doing the CS, thank you so much for your support. We really appreciate it. We are going to continue to poor our hearts and souls into making this experience amazing for many many years to come. We are going to make it a seamless, accessible, secure, really powerful, emotionally powerful experience and really support it as a premium service. We thank you for your support.