Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a massively multiplayer game that lets you play as one of many classic Star Wars archetypes from the earlier time period BioWare introduced in its single-player Knights of the Old Republic game. One of the professions you can play is the Jedi knight, a character aligned with the light side of the Force and the peace-loving Republic. We have the details from BioWare's director of production Dallas Dickinson and senior game designer William Wallace.
GameSpot: We're pleased to be able to reveal the early details on the Jedi knight profession. This is obviously an iconic character class represented by some of the most famous characters in Star Wars fiction. Give us an overview of this profession.
Dallas Dickinson: The Jedi knight is based very much on [Samuel L. Jackson's] Mace Windu archetype [from the Phantom Menace motion picture]. He is a powerful, force-wielding warrior who will be called on to protect the galaxy from a great evil. Players should expect to be involved in a bit of intrigue but mostly to be focused on hunting down and combating the Sith and their representatives throughout the galaxy.
GS: We understand that Jedi knights find themselves in a precarious political position in the world of The Old Republic. The Jedi Order--facing a growing threat from the combined forces of the Sith--has retreated to the world of Tython, which hasn't made it popular among Republic senators. What kind of political and faction-related challenges will Jedi knight characters need to be aware of?
DD: Without giving away too much of the story, all the tensions you outlined will be at play. Many political players in the Republic's hierarchy have negative views of the Jedi and some of them are mistrustful because they feel the Jedi Order has abandoned them. Add this to direct [opposition from] the Sith Empire and you have a class (and a story) that is fraught with challenges.
GS: How will the political position of the Jedi Order affect the experience of a Jedi knight player? What sort of missions will these characters undertake? For instance, in addition to defending the Republic against the Sith, will knight characters have bodyguard or diplomatic missions, like the characters in the Episode 1 film?
DD: Without going into specifics, this is absolutely the kind of work that the Jedi knight is cut out for. There are powerful and important members of the Republic's political hierarchy, and the Jedi are often sent to protect these individuals--especially when those individuals are threatened by the Sith. That said, you can expect a wide variety of mission types as a Jedi knight.
GS: The Jedi knight class seems to closely resemble the guardian profession from the Knights of the Old Republic games, possessing such powers as Force push and saber throw. Is it fair to make the comparison between the professions? What kind of player will want to play as a Jedi knight? William Wallace: It's fair to make that comparison. Besides Force push and saber throw, the Jedi Knight gets some abilities similar to the guardian's "Force valor" that give various benefits to both Jedi knights and their entire party, as well as the ability to wield two lightsabers at once. The guardian profession was definitely a major influence on the concept and design of the Jedi knight.
At its core, the Jedi knight is about getting into battle as quickly as possible, dominating the fight and protecting allies. Players who enjoy fast melee combat will identify with this class--there's no passive auto-attack combat here. The Jedi knight has a smorgasbord of lightsaber abilities to choose from as the situation dictates and must continue to evaluate the battle to see whether he should strike hard at one or two targets or swing widely to keep a whole cluster of enemies at bay. Sometimes it's more advantageous to simply push them all back with the Force, take a second to breathe, and then leap back into the fray with both lightsabers drawn. Players who enjoy that kind of tactical decision making in combat will find a lot to like in the Jedi knight.
GS: Tell us about the role of the Jedi knight in battle. How do these characters support their comrades when the going gets tough?
WW: The Jedi knight can fill a couple of roles in combat. In one-on-one combat, the Jedi knight is practically unmatched in melee power. He excels in getting into the fight very quickly by charging into a group of enemies and then has a number of strong single and double lightsaber attacks to damage his enemies and keep them from damaging him. In group combat, the Jedi knight excels at staying at the forefront of the fight and has a number of ways to keep the battle focused on him, letting his allies concentrate on what they do best and also keeping any Sith lightsabers away from unarmored targets. Even if the Jedi knight isn't leading the group, the character is still a valuable asset to his comrades by virtue of his wide range of melee abilities and his ability to augment the party's strength with Force abilities and auras.
GS: And tell us about the role of the Jedi knight outside of battle. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, for instance, we witnessed the first showing of The Old Republic's group dialogue system. How will having a Jedi knight in your party be a different experience from playing without? Will knights have a Force persuade power, for instance? How differently will other characters think of and treat parties that include a Jedi knight or two?
DD: Many non-player characters react differently, depending on the class of player character talking with them. Some NPCs are impressed by Jedi, while some don't trust them. You will have some different experiences than if you were to play as a smuggler, for example, when talking to seedy underworld characters. And, as with previous BioWare games, there will also be some abilities that players can use to change their dialogue (and story) options.
GS: Thanks, gentlemen.