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It sure seems like it! - At least as far as we can tell.
Thanks to the find by Geeknation, it looks like EA and Visceral are teaming up for a new project - a new project which required a job posting. However, if you don't want to read through the entire posting, here are some of the juicy pieces.
EA/Visceral is looking to hire Senior Systems Designer to:
Bring your system game design skills and savvy and your love of star wars to Visceral Games, embracing and contributing to the project vision in areas of hero control/mechanics, AI behavior, combat/weapons, class design, skills & progression, enemy design, story and boss encounters.
I don't know about you but both those areas of expertise sure seem to all fit within the RPG classification. How could an open world Star Wars game work? Let's break it down.
Could we be in line for something along the lines of Destiny or Borderlands? Where each character behaves a bit different in comparison? A Human character would interact in ways that a Wookie or an Arcona couldn't, and building that into each character class would be a great direction to go for an Open RPG.
AI Behavior / Enemy Design / Boss Encounters:
This is pretty much a requirement in any game where you interact with or are witness to a collection of non-playable characters. Focusing on the AI behavior in terms of bystanders as well as the enemy's perception and awareness. Think Assassin's Creed or Watchdogs in terms of AI, it would be a great addition to a Star Wars RPG.
Could we find a game like Borderlands where we can scrounge weapons from our hapless victims, or perhaps more along the lines of Dragon Age where we craft and build our own weapons. Whatever route they take, if we have access to a variety of weapons and all those weapons are used differently or have impact on your character (like several weapons in Borderlands).
Class Design / Skills & Progression:
This is probably the most exciting aspect to think about, especially if they allow players to control different species within the Star Wars Universe, and each of those species has access to unique skills and a custom progression tree like we've seen in nearly every recent RPG.
- Could we play through the game as a young Dathomirian Zabrak who can wield a dual-blade lightsaber?
- Could we play through as a Wookie and learn how to pilot space crafts and fire a crossbow?
- Could we play through as a young boy with an innate understanding of The Force from Tatooine who chooses his own fate?
The possibilities could be endless, and that's incredibly exciting!
This is probably the most important aspect of the game, and it's ultimately a double-edged sword because of how deep the Star Wars Universe already is. If you write a main story that doesn't mesh with the Universe as is then you'll have upset fans, and if you go too far outside of the established universe you run the risk of creating an uninteresting gameplay. You've got to find a good mix of new content while relying on the already created world.
Whatever happens with this game, and hopefully we're right that it's shaping up to be an incredible RPG, we know that it's in the works. Once we find more details, we'll start to see how it is all fleshing out, but with a nearly endless universe of possibilities there is so much potential for an open world RPG based in the Star Wars Universe, and hopefully with the companies attached, we will see it come to next generation consoles as well as PC's.