Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookies Designer Diary #2

Producer Dallas Dickinson discusses how the development team chose the wookiee homeworld as the setting for the expansion, as well as mentions the storytelling opportunities it offers.

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As you can tell from the title, Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookies is related to the upcoming (and eagerly awaited) motion picture Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The upcoming expansion pack for the Star Wars Galaxies online role-playing game will let you explore and adventure on the world of Kashyyyk, homeworld of the wookiees (the tall, hairy race of creatures of which Chewbacca is a member). In addition to the new settings, Episode III Rage of the Wookies will also offer plenty of new adventures and quests for you and your fellow players to pursue. To explain what we can expect from the expansion, Sony Online Entertainment producer Dallas Dickinson chimes in with our latest designer diary for the game.

If you play on the Imperial side in Rage of the Wookiees, you can assist the Trandoshans as they attempt to crush a wookiee revolt.
If you play on the Imperial side in Rage of the Wookiees, you can assist the Trandoshans as they attempt to crush a wookiee revolt.

Meet the Wookiees

By Dallas Dickinson Producer, Sony Online Entertainment

A lot of thought and discussion goes on within any game development team about content, art, gameplay mechanics--any number of things--during the research-and-development cycle of a game. Teams working on online role-playing games do not have the luxury of debating and discussing only up until gold master (when a game reaches completion for stores). It's an ongoing, year-round process. There are discussions about the continual live updates of content and design tweaks, as well as discussions about future expansions and the general direction of the service.

With the upcoming movie Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, the Galaxies development team knew that it was in a unique situation to add some very cool new content for our subscribers that could potentially attract a whole new group of non-online role-playing Star Wars fans. A few of us were lucky enough to see some rough cuts from the movie to get an idea of all the cool stuff that happens in Revenge of the Sith. After much discussion about the planets playing roles in the movie, we decided that the terrain of Kashyyyk made the most natural fit as an addition to Star Wars Galaxies. Kashyyyk provides a diverse environment, along with a platform for telling the story of the struggle of the wookiees on their own planet.

After determining which planet we would add with the next expansion, we moved on to deciding what exactly would appear on that planet. Again, knowing that Kashyyyk is the wookiee home planet made some of the content choices obvious. We know that the wookiee is one of the most beloved species in the Star Wars universe and that players would surely want to discover more about them. With Rage of the Wookiees, however, we took many cues from our current player base. Directed adventures, like the Death Watch Bunker, and the story-driven events, like the Cries of Alderaan, have been some of the most well-received content updates we've done so far in Galaxies. To that end, we've built the planet Kashyyyk to be an adventure planet that offers directed content and intense story-driven mission arcs. Players will be asked to take on dozens of missions that follow multiple interwoven storylines. These storylines include uncovering the history of the Clone Wars, helping the wookiee natives in their struggle against the evil Trandoshan slavers, or (if you play on the Imperial side) helping the Trandoshans stomp out a wookiee revolt. By participating in these detailed stories, players will get to discover the history of Kashyyyk, as well as the roots of the Galactic Civil War.

Kashyyyk should provide plenty of storytelling fodder, as well as lots of room for adventuring.
Kashyyyk should provide plenty of storytelling fodder, as well as lots of room for adventuring.

Each zone in Episode III Rage of the Wookiees was created by an artist and a content designer working hand in hand. The two worked together to come up with the overall concept for the look and feel of the area. The designer then created the stories and quest outlines that would take place there. With that information, the artist created a basic map layout and began building the terrain. The back and forth between the artist and designer ensured that each zone on Kashyyyk felt extremely focused and beautiful, with the artists actually telling part of the story, visually, with atmosphere. This is a great representation of the future for Star Wars Galaxies: focused, story-filled adventure areas dripping with Star Wars atmosphere and fun.

Kashyyyk consists of 11 new zones. Four of the zones are public (three on the ground and one new space zone), while the other seven are instanced adventure areas. The instanced areas contain specific adventures and quests for groups to fight their ways through, while the public zones contain a mix of directed quests and general free-form hunting content. In addition to the questing on Kashyyyk itself, players will also start an epic journey there that will lead them to the far corners of the galaxy, as well as introduce them to the presence of the most fearsome and heroic characters in the Star Wars universe.

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