We take some time to talk Trooper storyline with Charles Boyd, Bioware’s Lead Writer for the Trooper in Star Wars: The Old Republic
Recently Republic Trooper got to take some time to speak with Bioware’s very own Charles Boyd. Charles is the lead writer at Bioware Austin for the Trooper class in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Among other things we got to talk Trooper story arc, inspirations, romance arcs, and even some origin information about a certain Trooper you may know from the TOR cinematics! You can read the full interview with Charles below. Enjoy!
Republic Trooper: Are there any particular sources that you drew inspiration from for the Trooper Storyline?
Charles Boyd: There are too many to name! Like the Star Wars films, the Trooper’s storyline developed from a variety of inspirations: war films, political thrillers, military science fiction, and a lot of “one man army” action movies. Hopefully fans of those kinds of stories will find a lot to like in the Trooper, and hopefully we’ll win over a few new fans as well!
RT: When compared with the other class storylines how high is the surprise factor throughout the Trooper story arc?
CB: Troopers constantly face unexpected situations and complications as they carry out their missions for the Republic, including some really big surprises that will change everything for the Player. That said, giant plot twists aren’t as much of a focus for the Trooper as they are for other classes like Imperial Agent, Sith Inquisitor, or Jedi Consular, who spend more time uncovering the many mysteries of the galaxy.
RT: Are you guys already writing further storyline for post-launch content?
CB: We are! MMOs are “living” games and it’s important to us to continue providing new and exciting story content for our players soon after the game launches.
RT: Was there anything you really wanted to do with the Trooper storyline that just didn’t fit or you weren’t able to accommodate?
CB: One of the advantages of a project this massive is that we got a lot of room to explore the stories and characters that players encounter, so I think we definitely hit all of the major points we set out for. Of course, any writer can give you a laundry list of elements they’d love to explore more broadly or characters they’d like to develop further, so I’m looking forward to doing that as we add more content after launch.
RT: One of the greatest inspirations for Troopers set forth by BioWare is the Trooper in the trailers, yet no one seems to know who he is. Can you shed some light on his identity?
CB: I can! His name is Jace Malcom, and he was the commander (though not the founder) of the original Havoc Squad, back before the Republic Army’s Special Forces teams were organized into their own distinct division. Havoc Squad’s success on Alderaan showed the galaxy what small, elite units could accomplish, so Malcom is definitely an inspiration to Troopers throughout the Republic. He has since been promoted into a higher command role, and often acts as a military consultant for the Republic’s allies as the cold war heats up.
RT: Are there any storyline differences based on a Trooper’s Advanced Class choice?
CB: In order to encourage players to choose the Advanced Class that they most enjoyed, we decided not to have any storyline impact based on that choice. We wouldn’t want people to feel obligated to choose a play style they don’t like in order to see a particular story segment.
RT: Can you tell us the background story on why the Trooper would be adventuring out and about with a mix of companions instead of as part of a large military unit?
CB: While the Trooper’s companions are certainly a “mix” of personalities, skills, and backgrounds, they are all members of Havoc Squad, just like the player, and part of the Republic Army’s organizational structure. That said, Special Forces teams like Havoc Squad are specifically designed to have more operational agility than standard military units, as they’re expected to go places that a larger unit can’t and operate at length with only minimal support. Of course, that’s not to say that Troopers won’t be working together with more traditional military units to achieve their objectives when circumstances call for it.
RT: What types of choices will Troopers be faced with throughout their story? i.e. Killing a group of innocents to complete the mission, or letting them live and letting the mission fail?
CB: I’d prefer not to give away specifics before launch, but as in your example, the Trooper is often forced to decide how far they’re willing to go to beat the enemy. Other choices deal with loyalty to the Republic versus loyalty to a friend or personal interests, how to interact with the enemy when you aren’t actively fighting, and whether to abuse a position of authority for personal gains.
RT: How integral to the story are any of the Trooper’s companions and can you offer any specifics?
CB: The Trooper’s companion characters are specialists in a variety of fields, and play critical roles in Havoc Squad’s missions. Being part of an elite team is a core part of the Trooper experience, and the companions are the main way we bring that across for the Player.
RT: How does the Trooper’s starship fit into their storyline? Is it even tied to the story at all?
CB: The Trooper’s starship is their barracks, their briefing room, and their ride in and out of combat, so it sees heavy use throughout the Trooper storyline.
RT: What can you tell us about the romance options the Trooper receives? How do these options affect the overall storyline?
CB: Avoiding specifics, Troopers definitely have romance options among their companions and elsewhere in the galaxy, which can lead to some very difficult decisions. As you might expect, war can be very hard on relationships.
RT: What were the greatest challenges to creating an epic story arc for the Trooper class?
CB: This goes back to one of your earlier questions – I think the biggest challenge was getting the right balance between giving players control and independence, versus making them feel like part of a regimented military organization with a strict chain of command and orders to carry out. Both aspects are critical to the player’s enjoyment, so we spent a lot of time making sure we hit the right place between them.
RT: Can you spill the beans about something in the Trooper story arc that the players may not expect?
CB: You’ll get no spoilers out of me!
RT: What can you tell us about the voice actors for the Trooper class?
CB: I feel truly honored to have two exceptional actors voicing the Trooper: Jennifer Hale and Brian Bloom. The opportunity to have such talented people performing my work has been the high point of my career, and I’m very confident that Trooper players will really enjoy both performances.
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Tags: Alderaan, Bioware, Brian Bloom, Charles Boyd, Companions, EA, Electronic Arts, Havoc Squad, Jace Malcom, Jennifer Hale, LucasArts, Republic Trooper, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SWTOR, TOR, Trooper