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Old Republic: 'Mass Effect made us rewrite everything'

BioWare team totally rebuilt conversation system after seeing sci-fi RPG, it reveals

Star Wars: The Old Republic's stupidly ambitious conversation system - which is fully voiced throughout the MMO - is "totally inked from Mass Effect," BioWare lead designer and storywriter Daniel Erickson has said.

Speaking to CVG at E3, Erickson explained how the developer met with LucasArts to discuss 'rewriting everything' with a Mass Effect-style system, after seeing the sci-fi RPG in action.

"Originally the game was built far more like Dragon Age as far as Conversation System went," he said. "Our player characters were not going to be voiced because it's a massively insane expenditure and hugely complicated to do. You have to cast 16 of the best actors ever and then hold them for eternity."

This quickly changed after seeing the 360-exclusive sci-fi RPG, Erickon explains: "Mass Effect came out when we were very early into development. I remember walking up to James Ohlen - the lead designer on both Baldur's Gate Games, Knights Of the Old Republic and both Dragon Age games.

"We both saw Mass Effect and were like: 'Okay. There is no choice here.' So we rounded up both sides - us and LucasArts - and despite it being a huge undertaking, we showed them one with VO and one without and we attached a price tag to it.

"We thought they wouldn't go for it. We were like: 'This is a dumb thing to try to go for an MMO.' It came beck unanimously from both sides - we had to do it."

The lead designer certainly isn't shy in accrediting the change in direction to the other BioWare game: "Mass Effect changed the world because you became the hero," he said. "You actually became the most interesting thing on screen -you got all the best lines, and to be super cool.

"We had to go back and rewrite everything. The story telling system is totally inked from Mass Effect. "

In the same interview, the BioWare man told us he reckons there's "no point" to most MMOs.