Galaxies grows; Jump to Lightspeed announced

LucasArts readies expansion pack to its year-old online world. Producer Haden Blackman reveals what went into the new title.


Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided

Star Wars Galaxies, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the far-flung sci-fi future of George Lucas' Star Wars universe, is about to get even larger. The game first launched in June of last year and continues to allow players to play as bounty hunters, mercenaries, and even mystical Jedi knights. Today, LucasArts has revealed its expansion pack for the game, Jump to Lightspeed.

The new gameplay will give players the option of traveling through space in starfighters to engage in actual dogfights using X-Wing and TIE fighters. LucasArts says the expansion pack will open up 10 additional space sectors to explore, as well as add 100 new missions, two new and customizable species, and 15 new vehicles for space exploration and warfare. The add-on is due to retailers later this fall.

Producer Haden Blackman shared some additional details on the title with GameSpot.

GameSpot: Tell us about Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed. Is space travel the expansion pack's main addition to Star Wars Galaxies?

Haden Blackman: Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed allows players to own and operate their own starships, [in addition to] taking those vehicles into space for travel or--more often--combat. While we're giving players the ability to transport themselves between planets, the main focus is on starfighter combat, and we're adding a great deal of new content to the game to allow for everything from small skirmishes to large-scale conflicts against capital ships.

GS: What Star Wars ships will we see flying through space, and which of these will be available to players?

HB: We're including over 15 player-operable starcraft, focusing mainly on starfighters. Players will be able to pilot the familiar X-Wing and TIE fighter, as just two examples. We'll also have some original "mercenary" ships for player use. It's likely that we'll have additional craft to serve as computer-controlled enemies, and [we] hope to have well-known capital ships from Star Wars lore in the game as focal points for epic battles.

GS: How will space combat work in practice? Will it mostly consist of smaller dogfighting missions, or can we expect to see larger-scale space missions--even huge squadron missions against a death star or similarly sized space station?

HB: The early experience for players will involve successfully completing a number of story-driven missions that range from seek-and-destroy missions to escort duty. These will likely be oriented toward dogfights. As players advance, they'll venture into more dangerous territory, receive more-difficult missions, and begin encountering larger conflicts. We are aiming to have missions and encounters that pit players against large capital ships that will likely require a coordinated effort between several groups to defeat.

GS: What other content additions will the expansion add to the game? New gameplay features, new dungeons, new character classes?

HB: In addition to adding 10 content-rich sectors to explore, 15 new ships, and a whole slew of missions and content, Jump to Lightspeed will also add four new professions to support the new space component.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the expansion or about Star Wars Galaxies in general?

HB: After working on Jump to Lightspeed in relative secrecy for many, many months, we're incredibly excited to be able to start talking about it! Expect additional information to roll out at a steady clip as we get closer to E3.

GS: Thanks, Haden.

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