Comparing Conversations

November 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 10 Comments
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Cool story bro.

I read the latest Arenanet blog post and while it is interesting, it isn’t anything they haven’t spoken about before. It did trigger a few thoughts however. I’ve been thinking about the Guild Wars 2 cinematics in comparison to Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Arenanet has gone with a sort of tableau, a moving painting, that shows off people talking to each other from a 3rd person perspective. Star Wars: The Old Republic has a much more modern cinematic approach, the camera moves around, there are close ups and distant shots.

But that is Bioware’s goal isn’t it? Recreate a sort of movie experience within a game. Telling a story is the most important aspect of their game, and I think plainly so.

I think the emphasis is different for Arenanet. They love stories of course, but they’ve also got a ton of other things going on. The art and beauty of Guild Wars 2 in my opinion is unparalleled, their gameplay is ahead of other game companies, and I think their focus is on the player.

The result shows up in the cinematics I think. In GW2 you get the player front and center, showing off their armour, their look. A painterly backdrop and a connection to your character.

Bioware is far more like watching a movie. Plenty of face time for the NPCs, a sense of space with the camera moving around, and a connection to the story.

At least that’s my take on it.



  1. That’s a great point about focusing on the player and their personal story.

    I also feel like the GW2 style is almost an homage to old school RPGs. Most of the old cut scenes were still pictures of the characters which would slide in and say something (text) and slide out etc. Even non RPG games like Mega man did that sort of thing.

    I personally love that flashback to my childhood.

    • I hadn’t thought of it that way but yeah. Just about every old school game I can think of was like that.

  2. This was something I thought of while watching the last TWIMMO from gamebreaker. As far as I can recall, ANet has never said they were going for a cinematic feeling in their storytelling, just that there would be an emphasis on story. You don’t need to tell a story cinematically to tell a good story. An example being how Bioshock told their game’s story almost completely through tape recordings and walkie-talkie conversations.

    • I don’t often watch twimmo so I can’t comment, on what they were talking about but yeah, theres more than one way to tell a good story.

  3. Personally, the most significant result from the obvious differences between the two styles is the “cost barrier.”
    The direction that ArenaNet chose to go in allows them to produce a large quantity of “story telling moments” without prohibitive finance or time costs. It also means (to me at least) that there will be much less of a “barrier” when it comes time to update the game or introduce new content to it.
    I’m interested in the stories written by game developers but I will always be much more interested in how much room they allow their players to make their own stories within a large and complex virtual world. So far at least, I’ve neither seen or heard anything from ArenaNet that tells me they are planning to narrowly restrict me to “rails.” That is the primary difference between GW2 and SWTOR “storytelling” in my eyes at this point.

    • Ah, forgot to mention that I thought Jim Boer’s blog post entry was informative, and very well written imo.

    • I didn’t really touch on the cost issues much, but swtor certainly has the money to spend on that stuff and I think it shows. The thing is i’m going to be playing swtor for the story and in gw2 it’s just a really great bonus to everything else.

  4. The GW2 NPC conversations look like illuminated manuscripts brought to life. Almost as if you’ve opened an ancient tome and for a few minutes are transported into the artwork as the figures come to life. It fits the game’s overall style, IMO. I just wish the background was more animated, with multi-layered depth, like some of the GW2 2D animated promotional videos were.
    SWTOR NPC conversations look pretty much like those in Dragon Age, with somewhat better character motion and better composition; but much more limited due to lower polygon counts. I find the overall graphics of the game to already be dated (seriously, I look at the game and think 2007 or 2008) and the character animations are plain amateurish in comparison to Final Fantasy XIV, which, even with all its problems, has vastly better animated and lifelike characters in cut-scenes using its actual game engine. My thoughts when looking at SWTOR is more like, with that kind of budget, why are they so poor! SWTOR characters look like robotic mannequins in comparison to those in FF XIV. Much of that probably comes down to just how very (very very) limited the SWTOR game engine is.

    • That’s not the impression I got when I was playing, admittedly they could be more advanced but I thought the style fit the star wars universe near perfectly aside from the slight touch of cartoonyness.

  5. […] Hunter’s Insight: Comparing Conversations. “I read the latest Arenanet blog post and while it is interesting, it isn’t anything they haven’t spoken about before. It did trigger a few thoughts however. I’ve been thinking about the Guild Wars 2 cinematics in comparison to Star Wars: The Old Republic.” […]

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