[A note from Steven Crews]: Hello, forum-goers from mmorpg.com. I decided to update this article to note that the situation you guys are arguing about has long since been resolved, and I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, here.
Staff writer Steven Crews spent some time chatting with Jake Neri, from LucasArts, discussing Star Wars Galaxies‘ history and where it is heading in the future.
The MMO Gamer: First of all, for those of our readers who may be unfamiliar, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in developing Star Wars Galaxies.
Jake Neri: My name is Jake Neri and I am a producer on Star Wars Galaxies for LucasArts. My role is to collaborate with the folks at SOE on making sure SWG is the best possible game it can be.
The MMO Gamer: SWG has been around for quite some time now, being released at the fore of the so-called “second generation” of MMOs. Has that time been kind to the game? Is it where you hoped it would be four years on?
Jake Neri: Time has been kind to SWG. We are going strong in our fourth year of live service, with a dedicated and passionate fan base and a talented dev team motivated to serve our players. In an ever-changing MMO marketplace, this has been no easy feat, but I think our success lies in how the development team has stay active and flexible in responding to community feedback.
The MMO Gamer: What does the future hold? Where do you see things another year down the road?
Jake Neri: The future for Star Wars: Galaxies is very bright. We plan to continue to add content and features to the game through our Chapter Adventures that are part of the players’ regular subscriptions to the game. Chapter 7 is slated for release this fall and players will get to try out all the new content on our test center very soon. Chapter 7 will bring a brand-new Collection System along with several other features, Chapter 8 will bring new space adventures this winter, and 2008 has plenty of content and enhancements as well.
The MMO Gamer: Are there plans at this point for any further expansion packs?
Jake Neri: At this point, we have no plans for a retail expansion. Rather, both LucasArts and SOE made the decision to focus our efforts on the Chapter Adventures, which will deliver high value content to our players while maintaining the flexibility to adjust to what our players ask us for as the game continues.
The MMO Gamer: What about a sequel? EverQuest 2 was announced around this time in EverQuest’s lifecycle.
Jake Neri: There are currently no sequels planned. We remain committed to SWG and feel that there are still plenty of stories to tell in the game.
The MMO Gamer: Every game has its ups and downs, but SWG, in particular, has been through some particularly tough times in its history. What would you say was the toughest of them all, and how did you go about recovering from it?
Jake Neri: When you look at any game in the history of MMOs, they have all had their ups and downs. I think that this is because there is no handbook on how to make these games. Our toughest challenge is adjusting to the changing needs of our players while still maintaining a living, breathing game with a live community filled with people that have all different needs and desires. Overall, we are proud of SWG, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.
The MMO Gamer: The New Game Enhancements were obviously a major milestone—although mostly for the wrong reasons. Mythic opened a “Trials of Atlantis Free” server in Dark Age of Camelot in response to their own player criticisms, have you ever considered opening an “NGE Free” server?
Jake Neri: There are no plans for a pre-NGE server, as SWG is in a great place right now. We have thousands of players returning to the game and having a great time with all the new features and content that we’ve added.
The MMO Gamer: How have the departures of such high-profile figures as Raph Koster, Rich Vogel, and Gordon Walton affected the project?
Jake Neri: Raph and Rich have been gone a long, long time now…long before I even arrived here at LucasArts. Those guys are great game developers and we all wish them luck on their future projects. They made tremendous contributions to SWG in their time, and our current development team led by Lorin Jameson, Thomas Blair, and Tony Tyson are really knocking it out of the park and delivering awesome content to our players.
The MMO Gamer: To older SWG players who may not have been following the recent development of the game, what would you say to convince them to come back and give SWG another try?
Jake Neri: Well, we continue to improve the game every day, and it’s all based on a deep Star Wars experience that allows you to fight, socialize, role-play, adventure, explore, etc. Whatever you want to do in-game, you can find it in SWG. Our community is strong and passionate and I would encourage folks to find their old friends online and come back to experience all the new content we’ve added in the past two years. All the professions have been enhanced, new challenges have been added, and new systems (like Beast Master) have been implemented. There are countless new, exciting things to find in-game, and more coming in the future.
The MMO Gamer: Was there anything we didn’t cover in this interview you’d like to tell our readers?
Jake Neri: Actually yes. We just released a digital download version of our compilation pack, Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures through www.Direct2Drive.com. For players eager to come back to SWG, or to try it out for the first time, this download makes it easier than ever. The download includes the base game, all the expansion packs, a ton of bonus content, and even an exclusive in-game item, all for $19.99.
We’d like to thank Jake for taking the time to chat to us. You can find out more about Star Wars Galaxies at their official site.