Over the weekend during GamesCom, SWTOR Life got a chance to interview Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Hickman talked at length about some of the plans and philosophies behind the game’s model switch to free-to-play. From the sounds of it, the teams at BioWare and EA still have a lot of decision making to process and hash out before the launch of the new model. We did find out some interesting details and possibilities during the interview, however, including the following:
- At the last EA conference it was said that November was supposedly the F2P launch month goal. Hickman now is saying that the company is looking at a “fall” release, and not specifically a November one.
- Hickman said the team is looking at possibly making some lower-level blue quality armor obtainable with Cartel Coins, but not endgame gear.
- The team plans to steer as far away from “pay-to-win” as possible.
- The new space missions in development have been in development for a long time, and will be for level 50 players who have completed every other space mission and have fully upgraded their ship. They’ll be “heroic” modes, of sorts, featuring greater challenges (but yes, still on rails, unfortunately).
- The team is currently trying to decide how to release Makeb, the new SWTOR planet in development, and how the F2P model will affect its release for both F2P players and continued subscribers.
As far as Makeb goes, here’s an excerpt from the interview’s transcript:
What (if anything) will subscribers have to pay for after F2P launches?
I wish I had a solid answer for you on that. We’re still in discussion about some of the larger content updates that we’re planning. Great example is the planet Makeb. We’ve talked about Makeb, we have a lot of plans around Makeb. I wish I could give you more details, but I can tell you that I think the playerbase is going to be really, really pleased. More story content. New and interesting things for the players to do. More systems and interesting functions in the game … I can’t go into a lot of detail, but around things like that … This is a pretty big piece (of content). It is probably all that I can say. It is definitely still for discussion whether we sell that to the subscriber or the subscriber gets that for free because it is a big beefy chunk of content.
This bit is especially interesting, because a while back, we were told that Makeb would be part of a normal content update, which would mean it would be included in our subscription. Thanks to the F2P switch, it seems the team is completely reevaluating how to release this new content. I guess we’ll have to see what the future holds.
Until then, be sure to check out SWTOR Life’s full video interview, including a transcript.