SWTOR have now done they’re first Story Livestream for the year. The stream featured Charles Boyd and Alexander Freed talking primarily about the next chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire, Anarchy in Paradise. If you missed the Story Livestream, you can watch it here on YouTube.
Alexander Freed was the former lead writer at Bioware Austin who wrote the Imperial Agent story and more recently, who wrote chapter 10, Anarchy in Paradise.
What follows will be a mix of paraphrasing parts of the stream I found interesting and my own commentary, which is italicised.
The stream started with an introduction from Musco talking about upcoming events of note for SWTOR and summarising what to expect on the stream.
Villains Old and New
Charles started by introducing Alex then briefly summarising the KOTFE story so far. He noted that Valkorion is the (former Sith) Emperor in new form in an Empire he hid from the galaxy. They (the writers) wanted us to have some face time with the (former Sith) Emperor and see a side of him we had not seen before. Charles also commented that it’s always good to get the chance to see how the villain ticks or how they want you to think they tick.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Valkorion/Vitiate and I’m almost impatient to find out what the fuck is going on with him!
A key challenge for game writers is getting people to know the villain of the story. – Charles Boyd
Charles then talked about Vaylin, Arcann’s sister and Valkorion’s daughter whom he described as ‘cracked’ and ‘vicious’. She is more powerful in force the Arcann and second in power to Valkorion. Charles also commented that they had a lot of fun writing her.
The family dynamic was also a talking point. With Charles talking about how different Vaylin and Arcann are somewhat different despite being raised in the same environment. Charles loved the chance to work with a ‘family’ commenting that it is a cool topic/theme for the Star Wars franchise. Alex added that it’s interesting to see a more united/connected family compared to other Star Wars families eg. Luke and Vader being opposites.
Arcann and Vaylin are certainly different in some respects but they are united by a common cause.
Charles also talked about another hero villain dynamic they explored with KOTFE. Arcann/Vaylin see you as Valkorion, their father. Very interesting hero/villain dynamic. Charles hinted that this relationship in particular introduces some very interesting dynamics which will be explored in later chapters.
I felt going through KOTFE 1-9 that they kind of know you’re a dangerous individual but at the same, I do agree with Charles and Alex. They’re obsessed with getting back at their father for how he ‘treated’ them.
It’s always interesting to put hero’s/villains in situations where they work together. – Charles Boyd
Allies and Ordinary Joe’s
Charles then went on to talk about Allies who join the player against the Eternal Empire. Lana Beniko, a familiar face rescues you from Carbonite along with a new character, Koth Vortena. He spoke about how he really enjoys writing characters who are more ‘ordinary Joe’s’ and won’t do anything particularly special like be a General or a powerful Force-user. Seeing the non Force user/not powerful characters perspective is good. This is what Koth embodies.
Another ‘ordinary Joe’ type character Charles goes on to talk about is Theron Shan. He was originally created by Alex. Alex reminded of us of Theron’s background; how his upbringing as a Jedi, despite him not being force sensitive does mean he’s a quite conflicted individual. He doesn’t let that get in the way of him becoming something great though, something Charles pointed out. Alex added that he rebels against his Jedi teachings in some ways but in other ways incorporates Jedi teachings into his life as a ‘Galactic super spy’.
Charles and Alex then moved on to talk about the ‘wonderfully malicious and kind, yet polite’ SCORPIO. Charles asked Alex how he came up with SCORPIO. Alex describes her as a ‘centuries old artificial intelligence’ who starts out as a villain in Imperial Agent story. She’s not a droid or a computer who doesn’t understand ‘humanity’. Instead she is absolutely brilliant, curious, very interested in humanity. Charles added that one thing he likes about her is that she’s not out to destroy everything. Her goal is to advance and learn through everything. Alex added that she is comfortable interacting with lesser beings, as a means to advance herself.
Charles concluded by commenting that she’s not afraid of anything and that they have some very interesting things planned for her in the upcoming story.
While I find Koth quite an annoying character myself , I’m looking forward to seeing how he and all the other main allies evolve. Will become more united as time goes on or will more tensions rise up due to conflicting philosophies. Also hoping to see more of Theron and Satele’s relationship if she decides to end her ‘Yoda like’ pilgrimage. I’ve always liked SCORPIO and am looking forward to seeing more of her in future chapters.
Chapter 10: Anarchy in Paradise
Charles and Alex finally got to the part of the stream everyone was waiting for. Sharing some insight and hints about Chapter 10 mostly encompassing the main protagonist, known as Firebrand, whom they official reveal is Kaliyo from the Imperial Agent story.
Charles asked Alex: How did you come up with Kaliyo?
Alex: Kaliyo is an encourage criminal, violent con artist, most exciting friend you ever had until she is your worst nightmare, manipulation and user of people, fits in well with the Imperial Agent cons and lies and manipulation themes, incredibly independent and an anarchist.
Charles: Kaliyo remains true to who she is despite interaction with the Imperial Agent.
Alex: Unlike most companions, you can’t repair her. She may remain broken but she put herself back together in a way she’s comfortable with. Players have love hate relationship with Kaliyo which is fantastic!
Charles asked Alex : What’s Kaliyo been up to these last 5 years?
Alex: We see Kaliyo in a lower, darker point then the agent ever did. She lost what she had in Imperial Agent story and has changed her way of looking at the world. She’s also armed with techniques from hanging out with the Agent (Galaxy’s greatest spy). She will be dangerous for people around her. She’s vengeful, more dangerous then ever. Interesting comparison to player (Outlander) who has also lost everything.
Charles: What makes her a desirable ally whether you like her or not?
Alex: She’s been on Zakuul for sometime being an anarchist. So her skills could potentially be valuable to your alliance if you deem so.
I’m honestly looking forward to playing this Chapter. I’ve always liked Kaliyo and I think she will make a good addition to our Alliance. I hope her presence creates some conflict for the Alliance.
Questions from the players
Before the stream started, Musco sourced some questions for Charles and Alex to answer from the forums, Reddit, social media and Twitch chat. Reminder: this is mostly paraphrased from the stream.
Will we get to see state of Republic and Sith Empire in later chapters?
Charles: We’ll get to see some Republic stuff in Chapter 11. But it’s not central to overall story at this point. The alliance hasn’t come to the full attention of the Republic and Sith Empire just yet. The player won’t be interacting with them in a meaningful way yet but we have some big plans for the story and it will play a major part.
This is the one thing that has disappointed me for sometime with the overall SWTOR story is the limited confrontation with both factions once you hit the stories past Ilum. I do hope we get to see more of what has happened/is happening with the current Galactic situation in KOTFE. It’s a shame the game environment can’t change to reflect where your character is up to in the story. (One of the things I loved about WildStar).
Will Theron Shan have a greater role in story?
Charles: Yes he will.
Alex: Yes he will not always be around, he’s got his own thing going. But when he’s there he will be important.
Yay! Happy dance!
Will we see more Mandalorians?
Charles: Yes. There are plans for a future chapter where we find out what the Mandalorians have been up to. It’s a little ways out. Alex wrote the chapter.
Alex: It was great to get the chance to write about Mandalorians, an area I haven’t dealt much with.
I am very much looking forward to this chapter! I love Mandalorians and their culture. The more Mandalorians the better!
Will there be conflict between our previous love and a new one?
Charles: TLDR there will be consequences either way and they will know.
Looking forward to seeing how this works out. I romanced Doc on my Sentinel but since flirted with Theron Shan in Shadow of Revan and officially started the romance with him in KOTFE. It was quite awkward getting mail from both of them!
Will the classic conversations style used in Chapter 9 be used again in Chapter 10?
Charles: No. KOTFE story will continue to be cinematic but alliance growth will still use classic conversation styles. Eg. getting Blizz!
How long is it going to take to get our original companions back?
Charles: we want to get them right. We love these characters as much as the players do. So when we bring a character back, we want to make sure they are giving their due. We want them to be relevant and important to the story
Alex: We want it to feel dramatically appropriate for those who know them and those who don’t.
Charles: TLDR; it will take time. We want to make sure it’s worth it.
As much as I would love to see other companions come back eg. the romance-able ones and Lord Scourge, I am more then happy for them to take their time to bring them back in the right way.
The stream was concluded by joking about the possibility of romancing SCORPIO.
The story stream overall was incredibly fascinating! I absolutely loved that we got to listen to the writers talk about the characters that they created. They gave some great insight into SCORPIO and Kaliyo which has enriched both the Imperial Agent story and the upcoming KOTFE story for me. In fact watching the stream has motivated me to finally do the KOTFE story in a non-force user character (on my Agent of course); something I’ve had misgivings about since before the launch of KOTFE.
I honestly cann’t recall ever hearing writers from SWTOR talk about the characters that they wrote and created. It was quite a privilege, as a (aspiring) writer myself and very inspiring to hear what they had to say. I am very much looking forward to watching the next Story Stream!
As I missed watching the stream live, I decided to take Charles up on his offer to answer any questions we may have. This what I asked:
@Charles_Boyd Just watched the Story Livestream & I have questions: What is Satele Shan up to? When/will she join the Outlander’s alliance?
— [Xam Xam] Rachel (@Rach_Games) January 29, 2016
And this was his reply…
— Charles Boyd (@Charles_Boyd) January 29, 2016
What did you think of the story stream? Are you looking forward to Chapter 10: Anarchy in Paradise?