Star Wars: The Old Republic Exclusive Q&A - The Sarlacc Enforcer

GameSpot proudly, and exclusively, reveals the final new playable character class in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the highly anticipated massively multiplayer game from publisher LucasArts and Knights of the Old Republic developer BioWare. In addition to offering an exciting, story-driven experience that incorporates a branching multiplayer dialogue system, light side and dark side points, and more Jedi and Sith than you can shake a lightsaber at, the game will offer an entirely unique experience for each playable character class. And the most unique class in the game (or one of the most unique, anyway) will be the newly revealed Sarlacc enforcer--a profession based on the infamous Sarlacc pit monster that first appeared in the Return of the Jedi motion picture. However, rather than simply act as a static trap that gobbles up any hapless guards that happen to tumble into them, Sarlacc enforcers will actually play a crucial role in the seedy underbelly of The Old Republic's universe, working with Hutt gangsters and bounty hunters to affect the game's political landscape. Lead writer Daniel Erickson and lead systems designer Damion Schubert explain.

GameSpot: We're very excited to be able to take the wraps off the newest character class, the Sarlacc enforcer. Give us an overview of this new profession.

Daniel Erickson: In The Old Republic, we always start with the dream; the iconic role in Star Wars we're trying to let players live. One of those that kept coming up again and again was the "disgusting gaping maw" fantasy. So many of us grew up watching Star Wars and pretending we were the hole [down which] Vader threw the Emperor [or that we were] the endless pits of the Death Star or, of course, [that we were] the Sarlacc, the most amazing maw of all. Nobody gaped like him/it.

The mighty Sarlacc enforcer is more than just a pretty face.

Damion Schubert: Our class design has always been driven by a couple of simple mantras. First, we want to be sure that our game captures the feel and flavor of playing a role as a Star Wars character. The Sarlacc was a little-noticed combatant in the original movies, but we felt he/it had a very unique fighting style that acted as a solid counterbalance to the dizzying acrobatics of the Force users and the fast-paced gunplay of the smuggler or bounty hunter.

Second, we always want to be sure that we provide very unique play styles for each of the classes--that none of the classes play like the other. We felt there was a lot of design space in the realm of a class that sacrificed some mobility for an incredible amount of power. This may sound outlandish, but if you recall, the Sarlacc was one of the most deadly combatants in the original Star Wars trilogy. The idea for this class came from a text-based game I played some years ago, where you could choose to play as a black pudding.

GS: We understand that the Sarlacc enforcer typically plays the role of an underground mercenary who takes jobs from seedy employers, such as Hutt crime lords. Tell us about the experience of one of these characters--with whom will they be working most closely? What kind of missions will they take?

DE: As a Sarlacc enforcer, the biggest emotional drive is how your good employer tastes. There's no way, for instance, that you're going to work for a droid. If the deal goes bad and you have to devour everyone involved, you've gained nothing but indigestion. Gammorean contacts, however, always go to the front of the line and are encouraged to discuss terms while wearing any of a number of delicious basting sauces.

GS: We also understand that the enforcer class is a powerful combatant, with such damaging abilities as "super death ray," "ambush," and fearsome damage-over-time skills like "digest" and "regurgitate." Give us a sense of the profession's role in combat. How will this class contribute to a group in battle?

DS: Well, this is a stealth class, so the soloing experience of the Sarlacc enforcer is going to be a little slow. [This character] spends a lot of time slowly sneaking into position before unleashing potent close-ranged attacks, such as "devour." But once exposed, the enforcer heavily relies on companion characters to lure enemies close, so he/it can unleash his/its close-ranged attacks. However, the enforcer shines in a group, especially when paired with a Jedi consular that can knock enemies toward him. At this point, the Sarlacc enforcer can use his/its powerful suite of damage-over-time abilities, like "digest" and "regurgitate."

Player versus player [combat] is where this class really shines. As you may know, we're really trying to make physics a big part of our game experience--many of our class abilities rely on physics. A lot of games use physics, but we felt with the enforcer, we could really do something unique. As such, any enemies that use physics-based abilities near this class will find that their physics arc is adjusted. For example, if bounty hunters use the "rocket jump" ability, they may find themselves drawn within the reach of the enforcer, at which point, the enforcer can use powerful snare attacks to immobilize the bounty hunter. Then, the enforcer can start using more powerful attacks.

The enforcer will have a host of different abilities, including the power to permanently kill opponents in PVP.

Still, in our early play tests, the Sarlacc enforcer wasn't landing a lot of kills in PVP, so we added a slightly more controversial feature: Any enemies that you kill in PVP suffer permadeath. [Editor's Note: This means that if your character is killed, it is dead forever and may not respawn. Ever.] I know it sounds extreme, but it made things instantly more balanced and really captured the sense that your enemies are being digested over 1,000 years.

GS: Tell us about the kind of equipment that the enforcer class will use in the game. What kind of armor (light, medium, heavy) and weapons (blasters, vibroblades, explosives) will they use?

DS: The enforcer can use all of them but doesn't use them in quite the way that you might initially imagine. You see, the enforcer doesn't always wear them. Sometimes, he/it consumes them. When the enforcer destroys a piece of gear, the class gets action points, buffs, and healing based on the quality of the item ingested.

We think this will have a really nice effect on the economy. For example, one of the problems with designing crafting is that, in most games, the demand for crafted items dries up as the [player population] gets fully equipped, yet the supply of craftsmen tends to continue to rise as the game ages. Nothing keeps craftsmen in demand quite like requiring that a class gobble down a couple of epic-level items before going into a tough boss fight.

GS: We understand that due to the recent intergalactic turmoil between the Republic and the Sith that the Sarlacc as a whole--while previously limited to inhabiting remote, barren planets such as Tattooine--has taken an interest in the coming war by not only relocating to the Outer Rim, but also by taking more active roles in society, both as low-level dock workers and as higher-level treaty diplomats. Tell us about the changing roles of the Sarlacc in The Old Republic's society. How will this affect a player's experience?

Stop! Or my maw will shoot!

DS: The Sarlacc as a people are greatly divided over the Sarlacc diaspora and what it means to the dilution of Sarlacc culture. Players can decide to take a strong stance against their Sarlacc brethren that have chosen to blend in with Republic and Imperial societies (by taking such measures as marrying human spouses and so on). They can also decide that they, too, want to live as just another person and explore romances with many of their humanoid companion characters.

GS: Rumor also has it that some Sarlacc may be Force-sensitive, though the Jedi council doesn't seem immediately receptive to training because most Sarlacc are ancient creatures and considered too old to train. Without spoiling anything, can you give us some hints on how this might play out in the game? Is it possible that enforcers might, at a later date, be able to change their class if they're found to be strong in the ways of the Force?

DE: We're keeping the details under wraps right now, but let's just say that what the Jedi refuse, the Sith may accept on general principle.

GS: As we've seen so far, The Old Republic will continue to use and develop the light side/dark side morality system first introduced in Knights of the Old Republic. What sort of moral dilemmas will the enforcer profession face in the game? What will be the consequences for being a completely dark-side-weighted Sarlacc character versus a completely light-side-weighted Sarlacc character?

DE: To eat or not to eat is a continual question for the Sarlacc enforcer. Players who put points into the "appetite control" skill will have a much easier time having conversations while hungry--a failed AC stat will result in all dialogue choices eventually changing to "eat them." Meanwhile, those who take more "persuade" skills will be able to get their prey to come closer and lean in, so that enforcers can "better hear" what's being said.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about this profession?

It's been said that some Sarlacc are Force-sensitive. What could this mean for the game?

DE: It wasn't until we got to do the Sarlacc enforcer that I was able to complete my personal journey toward purely emotional interactive storytelling. Only the Sarlacc can be said to truly internalize the entire Star Wars galaxy. The emotional resonance and echo of the Sarlacc's stomach combined with the clear symbolic paternal symbols spelled out in the waving of its tentacles comes together to change dramatic paradigms in ways that even we at BioWare may never truly understand.

DS: To me, the most important thing was being sure we found the right voice actor to play the enforcer. I, for one, am glad that we got Christopher Walken.

GS: That's a good catch. Thanks, gentlemen.

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Discussion

265 comments
Strike079
Strike079

What tipped me off was the video of it destroying a planet

p4kman88
p4kman88

alriiiggghhttt....sarlacc...ftw

baron1282
baron1282

Wow, I almost thought it was real. I feel stupid now. :-p

man3ater
man3ater

Heck, what do you expect, anyone thinks that GS is beyond such foolishness as April 1 :/

ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

Omg I knew there was something wrong with this! xD I never realised this was a joke until I read these comments. I was sat reading like...who the hell wants to be a frikken sarlacc!?

goku33339
goku33339

*snort* they got me up to the part where they said that saarlacs can explore romances with their humanoid companions. i was like *WTF* then i realized it was april first. best joke ever haha,

shimo1989
shimo1989

Almost wish this were real. Then I realized, staying in one place for the duration of the whole game can't be that fun...

KuRf
KuRf

lol...u can put me on the list of punked lol....total believeable until i realise how do u move lol...

LykosD
LykosD

HAHAHAHAHA, I love GameSpot

D_cook100
D_cook100

i got this on my phone, so i didnt see any of the videos or pictures, nor did I remember what date it was..... I couldnt believe bioware would come out with such a stupid class. I laughed my ass off when i found out it was a joke.....

BlackTargetmark
BlackTargetmark

For a joke, Gamespot did put quite an effort there. Plenty of screenshots and those... fraudulent videos. Still, the article is quite amusing and engaging, indeed.

RandyRedCat
RandyRedCat

Very amusing, almost beleived it til I remembered it was the 1st. This does show however that the Sarlaac is actually going to be in the game *squee*...isn't there something in the lore that says they live for 1,000's of years? Could be the same one in VI that pops up in game. Would be great in a PvP arena as well, one team has to scavenge a ship half submerged into the Sarlaac and defend their mates inside whilst the other teams has to blow power couplings to slide the ship in further...just a thought :)

pksejr
pksejr

The funny thing is that half the people on the official forums think it is real!! lol haha idiots

Magick420
Magick420

LMFAO....I got about half way through this article and I thought to myself....This cant be serious....Is this for real? It cant be....WTF is this man! Then realized after scrolling down to see what other people comments were. Obvious April Fools joke.....good one Gamespot!

Jinroh_basic
Jinroh_basic

it's past Easter, ffs. can someone remove this stupid thing already?

ps727
ps727

has to be an april fool's

ICECOLD122
ICECOLD122

i know your all gonna say im slow and stupid and i cant believe you didnt see this but they arent serious right?

Jka333
Jka333

Christopher Walken would be such an awesome Sarlacc!!! That's awesome. Can't wait. I will definitely play as this rather than a jedi or something. ;)

vadagar1
vadagar1

ya hehe, at first I was like are they talking about a hunter kind of character that can tame stuff and **** then, I saw the concept pic and knew it was a joke. can u imagine playing a huge dune like worm eating people and craping all day in some sandy pit lol. when u level up u get a tongue length atribute, or acid spit skill, but walking into shops will be a "big" problem, and not to mention flying a star fighter, I can see it now, ur tenticales flaping all over the place outside the cockpit while u try and stir with ur tongue.

alittletoohappy
alittletoohappy

You guys are slow. I figured it was probably an April Fools joke at about the time I saw a sarlacc in the preview picture. Some of you completely fell for it?

Jaguar_Shade
Jaguar_Shade

@zoomer30 Bioware didn't make Star Wars Galaxies.

brain56
brain56

Hope BioWare and LucasArts execute this one successfully.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

KOTOR as a MMO is a good idea, having people who have already fouled up ONE Star Wars MMO try to make another one is not. Its gonna be SWG a long time ago.

kenerhai
kenerhai

I love Star Wars, and I loved KOTOR, but I have to admit, I'm sad to see it go MMO. Not, that it's a bad idea, it's great, and I'm sure it wll do well, it's just that I don't really do MMOs. I wish they could have made the third one a story focused single player (the best stories come in trilogies!). But, I guess if there's any MMO that would make me want to invest in, it would be KOTOR. But, hey, at least I got Force Unleashed 2 to look forward to!

Xx_Hopeless_xX
Xx_Hopeless_xX

That would have been an interesting thing to implement, i mean, seeing a sarlaac devouring your teammates and digesting them while you battle the other team, pretty intense :P..

GymFox
GymFox

omg.... best character ever! go permadeath lol

AceCometh
AceCometh

Official: This was one of BioWare's April Fools Day jokes.

Brettsky128
Brettsky128

Sweet! I'll play it just for the voice actor!

vahnn0
vahnn0

I could tell immediately it was a joke when I saw the gameplay movies. Well, no, I HOPED it was a joke.

Reiken37
Reiken37

Read the article, got really excited, went here to post on its epicness, read that it was an April Fools Joke, cried. Lol @ permenant death in PVP from the enforcer. Reminds me of the seriousness of character death in the South Park episode "Make love, not Warcraft". But I think that I would want to play as the sarlaac pit, even if it meant sitting in the same spot forever.

Eban8
Eban8

Lol that was hilarious, that really had me going for a second. Actually at first I thought it was fake when I saw the vid but when I saw that there was a whole interview I considered that it might be a class that manages traps and creatures.... Thankfully I was mistaken.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Good one, I fell for it for about 30 seconds, I was actually trying to think how this would work, lol.

Lach0121
Lach0121

lol good one, but you have to admit, if it were true, even remotely, Bioware would have succeeded in making a mmo with some original gameplay and unique twists lol lol too bad though lol.

pcgamer194
pcgamer194

i was suspicious from the beginning...lawlz.

rogerjak
rogerjak

Ahaha I fell for it omg XD

jagus12
jagus12

I almost fell for it XD

pmo5010
pmo5010

i always wanted to be a sarlacc...gamespot crushed my hopes... :( lol

johny300
johny300

The guy flying and screaming.lol

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

GameSpot this was a joke not the real deal....... Sheesh.

Abberon
Abberon

Pretty obvious..not so funny :(

Gsai64
Gsai64

Never saw it coming.

sL0ba
sL0ba

lol I fell for it

The_AI
The_AI

When I was reading this, I was like "What the- huh?" Then I saw the date.