"We also want to make sure that the conflict is between dark and light," claims Ohlen, "so we can confirm we'll have Sith and Jedi in the game. But we also want to ensure other popular heroes from the movies are represented, and you can probably guess at what those might be."
So expect archetypes Luke (nice Jedi) and Vader (naughty Jedi turned Sith), along with Han Solo (rogue explorer), Boba Fett (bounty hunter), and Darth Maul (total Sith) to name a few obvious fellows.
I leave out Chewie, because it's likely the character creator will allow you to choose a species within a class, doubtlessly leading to terrifying Wookiee Jedi and Twi'lek bounty hunters not seen outside Star Wars' Expanded Universe.
This isn't the first time Lucas' epic has entered the MMO arena. 2003's Star Wars Galaxies was a wonderful social experiment in which folk were given the choice of being Rodian dancers, occasional Force-enlightened supermen, or seven-foot-tall bears. BioWare claim to have learned a lot of lessons from Sony's failed outing.
"We're not in Sony's restricted space," assures Erickson, "Star Wars Galaxies ran up against the problem of setting itself in a time period that didn't have Jedi. We do not have that issue whatsoever, as people saw from KOTOR. Our time period has tons of Jedi and tons of Sith, so we escaped that problem entirely."
An interconnected collection of planets and all the space in between acts as the backdrop to all this adventuring. Familiar locations from KOTOR will appear alongside planets drawn from the wealth of Star Wars fiction already out there. For instance, Sith players will begin their game on the Sith homeworld, Korriban, their opening quests carefully guiding them through the required training before they may leave the planet.
The planet Tython, from the rich Expanded Universe, is the birthplace of the Force - it's here where the Sith and Jedi originated, split and went their separate ways. With the Jedi's temple having been smashed to bits in KOTOR, the order have returned to occupy
the planet. The total number of planets isn't being spoken about, and neither is the sort of scale we can expect once you arrive on the surface, but exploration will be a key component in The Old Republic.
Space will exist in some fashion too (rather than being a mere swooshy loading screen between locations), but again BioWare aren't keen to lift the lid on exactly how it will be implemented. One thing is certain, and that is that there'll be times when you'll be flying in space. If that's not enough information for you, well I honestly don't know what to say.
You'll be visiting all of Star Wars' most iconic worlds, in care-free Han Solo-esque romps across the galaxy.
"It's not just KOTOR stuff either," insists James Ohlen, creative director. "It's stuff from the movies and the Expanded Universe. If you love Star Wars, we want you recognise that this is the Star Wars you love. We're not forcing KOTOR on new players, but all the unanswered questions are there to discover if you want."
Look out for part two on these pages shortly.