With the release of Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic approaching with the speed of a hyper jump, we thought it well advised to take a look at what's on offer, and our coverage leading up to the release.
Over the course of the last couple of years there has been plenty of great trailers released for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The cinematic ones stand out particularly. Here is a couple you should not miss out on:
The second trailer is pure in-game footage, and is much more recent - it sets the stage perfectly for the adventure to come:
CLASSES & HANDS-ON
The first choice you're faced with in Star Wars: The Old Republic is which side of the conflict you wish to play on. Light side or Dark side. Jedi or Sith. Republic or Empire. Each faction has four distinct classes, each with their own unique story arch that plays out through the game, allowing you to experience various sides to the war that rages on in the galaxy.
Smuggler (later evolves in to either Gunslinger or Scoundrel)
Jedi Knight (Guardian/Sentinel)
Jedi Consular (Sage/Shadow)
Bounty Hunter (Powertech/Mercenary)
Imperial Agent (Operative/Sniper)
Sith Warrior (Juggernaut/Marauder)
Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer/Assassin)
PLANETS, RACES, AND SHIPS
Bioware have confirmed a wide range of planets with long standing places in the Star Wars universe including the Sith world of Korriban, Ord Mantell, Tython, Hutta, Coruscant, Balmorra, Alderaan, Tatooine, Dromund Kaas, Taris, Belsavis, Voss, Hoth, Nar Shaddaa, Corellia, Ilum, and Quesh. Some of these are origin worlds, such as Korriban where the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor start out their journeys, but all of them feature the typical sets of major and minor quests you'd expect in a Bioware title.
There will be several playable races to choose from, but humans and Zabrak are the only ones who can play any of the classes. The Sith Trueblood obviously belongs to a certain side, and among the included races fans will be glad to find Twi'lek and Chiss.
Each player will get a ship somewhere around level 10-15 that will serve as their base of operations for the remainder of the game. The ships are class specific with the exception of the Jedi classes both of whom have a ship called Defender and the Sith classes who use the Fury.
Over the course of development we've had plenty of opportunities to speak with the good folks at Bioware about Star Wars: The Old Republic. They are all worth watching as they give you an insight into the journey Bioware, Lucasarts and EA have taken with the game.
Our first interview on the subject dates back to Gamescom in 2009 where we caught up with Bioware's Rich Vogel on what it was like to finally see people outside of the office play the game. Little did he know it would be more than two additional years until the game would hit store shelves.
Next up we visited the Lucasarts offices during GDC and sat down with producer Jake Neri to discuss the prospects of the game and the universe.
Also at E3 2010 we sat down with Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk, to discuss all things Bioware, which naturally includes The Old Republic.
At E3 2011 the cat was finally out of the bag and with release approaching Petter Mårtensson interrogated lead writer Daniel Erickson for a full 15 minutes on all aspects of the game. If you're just watching one interview, this is the one to watch.
At Gamescom 2011 Gillen McAllister was joined by Greg Zeschuk as they discuss what people experienced at the show, Hut Ball, and space battles among other things.
And finally, the last interview before released happened in Stockholm with Bengt Lemne quizzing lead writer Hall Hood about some of the hands-on experiences he had had with the game and the process of writing for such an expansive game.
As an added bonus we have two interviews with both Bioware founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk where they discuss all things Bioware including The Old Republic. The first one is from E3 2011 and the second one, just a few months later at Gamescom.
BOOKS, COMICS AND MUSIC
Well, first of all you've got the two trilogies you may have heard of, but we're focusing our attention more on what's directly related to The Old Republic.
Dark Horse have published two internet comics revolving around the treaty of Coruscant.
Bioware have always been high on novels, and the first SWTOR novel came out last summer. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance was penned by Sean Williams that delves into some of the motives and relations between the factions found in game. Last March, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, written by Paul S. Kemp deals with Darth Malgus, the Sith responsible for "the sacking of Coruscant". Finally, just last month, Bioware lead writer Drew Karpyshyn (who also wrote the Darth Bane series of books) released Revan, a book that takes a look at what happened to one of the central characters after the first two Knights of the Old Republic titles.
The Collector's Edition of the game will include a CD with the soundtrack, but plenty of tracks were left out of the album and Bioware have decided to release these on their Facebook page and Youtube.
EDITIONS, PRE-ORDER BONUSES
As you'd expect there are a few different alternatives when picking up Star Wars: The Old Republic. First of all there are two digital version - the Deluxe version (£59.99) and the Standard version (£44.99). Both versions include 30 free days and pre-order bonuses in the shape of a coloured crystal (for your blaster or light sabre) and early access to the game. The Deluxe version also comes with five in-game bonuses - a flare gun, a training droid, a holographic dancer, a holographic camera, and a speeder.
On the physical front there is a standard version (£39.99-44.99) and a Collector's Edition. Both come with 30 days of free play, but the luxurious Collector's Edition comes with a lot of nice little perks. As far as physical bonuses go you get a Darth Malgus Statue, a FOB Security key, the Journal of Gnost Dural, a cloth Galaxy Map, and the soundtrack. You also get the same in-game content as the digital Deluxe plus a Mouse Droid and a special "Collector's Store". Sadly, the Collector's Edition, originally priced at £129.99, seems to have sold out, and is currently being sold on Ebay at premium prices.