Star Wars Mac Pack (Empire at War & Knights Of The Old Republic) Mac
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Star Wars Mac Pack (Empire at War & Knights Of The Old Republic) Product Details
Released on TBD
Get two Star Wars Classics in one with the Star Wars Mac Pack- including 'Empire at War' and 'Knights of the Old Republic'.
Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic
It is four thousand years before the Galactic Empire and hundreds of Jedi Knights have fallen in battle against the ruthless Sith. You are the last hope of the Jedi Order. Can you master the awesome power of the Force on your quest to save the Republic? Or will you fall to the lure of the dark side? Hero or villain, saviour or conqueror - you alone will determine the destiny of the entire galaxy!
Star Wars - Empire at War
It is a time of galactic civil war. Take up the reins of the Rebellion or assume control of the Empire. Command everything from individual troops to starships and even the mighty Death Star as you execute campaigns on the ground, in space and across the galaxy. You can even change Star Wars history! Every battle helps shape the fate of the galaxy.
Star Wars Mac Pack for Apple Mac Features:
- Immersive, action-packed Star Wars role-playing
- Customisable and evolving characters
- Choose from nine customisable characters
- Build your party of three adventurers, including humans, droids, Twi'leks, Wookiees and more.
- Journey spans seven different worlds
- Travel to Tatooine, Sith world of Korriban, Jedi Academy on Dantooine and Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk
- Language: English, French, German
At Gamescom 2011 we were lucky enough to get time alone with Ray Muzyka, co-founder and CEO of BioWare. With an impressive array of big-hitters to his name and the upcoming Mass Effect 3 demoing at Gamescom, there was a lot to get our teeth into.
[GAME] It's great to get the chance to talk to you! BioWare seems to be one of those companies that really gets people passionate.
[Ray Muzyka] Yeah, yeah, we have great fans. And there are a lot of core fans who buy everything we make.
So, in the industry at the moment all the RPG developers are saying they're building a deeper, richer gaming experience. As you're considered one of the leaders in the RPG field, what does that mean to you? How do you build a deep, rich experience?
Well, looking at individual games like Mass Effect 3, we got great reception for Mass Effect 2 but we also got feedback that people wanted a deeper experience in some of the aspects of RPG progression and character development. So when you see the build, you'll see that we've taken that apart and we've tried to integrate it into an RPG-action experience. It's very visceral and intense, but you can also do a lot of things that the fans have been asking for, like weapon modifications on the fly. We have a weapons bench and you can put your weapon down and make modifications to really personalise it and make it your own. And it works really well, it gives a sort of in-the-field kind of perspective.
We've also got some innovations around the way the characters progress. New abilities, and just a more refined system that we've learnt from doing Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. You can see that there are more interesting, more engaging ways to push your character in Mass Effect 3. The best thing you can do is check it out, then you can see for yourself.
At the same time it's also got an integrated action experience, so it's an RPG and an action game at the same time. There are better movement controls for Shephard and he has the Omni Blade that kind of extends out of the Omni Tool, and he can jump over obstacles now and vault things, and he can grab enemies now and pull them over, and there are some specialisations.
Everyone's talking about Atlas, the giant machine that you can snipe the pilot and get in.
Yeah you can get in it! We're not trialling that here yet, but yeah, you'll be able to drive it.
What are you most proud of in Mass Effect 3?
Well, I think it's more intense in the actual moment-to-moment experience but we haven't lost any depth at the same time, and I think we really nailed the aspects of that. We're in the third iteration now and we're really comfortable with the tools. The team has been able to get to some things that they really wanted to do in the first one and the second one that we now know how to do. You know, we have some things we haven announced yet.
I was going to be cheeky and ask you what they were, but you wouldn't tell me, would you?!
No, no! But they're really good. They're really big things. They're to do with the campaign. They're in line with the experience that we're showing here today, so they're not separate parts.
In the presentations on Mass Effect 3 that I've been to they've been talking about the emotional side of the game.
I think that's been key to all of our games, emotional engagement. Mass Effect exemplifies that as well. The intensity of the experience, the personalisation of your actions and how you're going to play your equipment and your character in the deep RPG system.
And then the story is unusually powerful. It's not the Reapers invading some planet in the galaxy somewhere - now they're invading your home, invading Earth, and they're taking other worlds too. You're still saving the galaxy, but really you're saving your home AND the galaxy, so it a lot more personal. The story arc is very compelling and emotionally engaging.
It's the end of a trilogy, so it brings the whole story to a satisfying conclusion but at the same time it's the beginning of a new galactic adventure, a new galactic war. So it's kind of launching both things.
Of all your portfolio of games, which was the most challenging in terms of dev work?
They're big games. We have small games, too. We have social games, but then at the other end of the spectrum we have big MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic, which has an amazing amount of rich content that people will be discovering for years and years to come. And then RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. None of them are easy to build, they're all challenging in different ways, I think.
So how about working with a big IP like Star Wars. Is it challenging? Do you have an awful lot of sign off on what you do?
Yeah, yeah, well it's a very tight partnership, very close cooperation and they've been great partners. We've worked with them now for like a decade since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I, and now the Old Republic for many years, and they've been great collaborative partners.
We set the game in a period thousands of years before the movies, so it's a really rich period where we get to explore and make new content, and they've been very supportive of that. We've learned a lot about the Star Wars licenses. I mean obviously they're experts on that. They understand the fans, they understand the audiences, and we benefit from that.
So which of your games is most challenging in terms of fan expectation? For example, I notice that RPG fans seem to be much more intense about gaming and all the different aspects of it.
They do seem to be. I mean, they like an intense, accessible experience, but they also want the depth, the richness, the story and the choice. And it's one thing to give a choice, but you also need to show the impact of that choice in a meaningful way, which means creating new content for different paths and non-linear storytelling. It means investing more time in development to enable that choice in a personally engaging way that means something to the player, and so they can see how their character reacts to their events, and the world changes based on their actions. That's part of what makes an RPG satisfying. You see the consequence to your actions.
So based on that there must be a lot of emphasis put on the writing and the storytelling.
Yeah, that's certainly one aspect of it. Cinematic animation is another aspect for the games that have that. World building, you have to change the world if something happens in one area. The downstream effects of changing one line of writing can be massive.
You must sit at events like this being interviewed a lot! Is there anything that you're dying for an interviewer to ask you that you've never been asked?
There probably is but I can't remember right now, it's been a long day! I think someone asked me a question today that I've never been asked which was, 'What were you like growing up?', and I was like, wow, no one ever asked me that before! I used to play a lot of videogames andmy parents let me play whatever I wanted because I got good grades at school. And for me, it was a real motivator, you know. I see it as an art form. I have a passion about the evolution of games. I love the fact that now there so many manifestations of them. It's like movies, there's such a spectrum of different types of games, like there are different movies and books. And those are art forms as well.
I remember way back to the beginning of gaming when kids used to programme their own little pixelly games on a Commodore 64 and the like.
Yeah, and people can program those sorts of games on their mobile devices now, so it's almost come full circle!
And is there any question you get asked all the time that you wish people wouldn't ask anymore?
Well, one question I get asked a lot is, 'What's your favourite BioWare game?' That's a question I can't really answer, and I don't have an answer actually, because I like all of our games. Otherwise, why would we be making them if we didn't like them?! I like them all for different reasons, but I don't like one more than the other.
I'm pretty passionate about all the things we're doing. We have great teams and they're excited about making games and the opportunities, whether it's a smaller social game or an MMO, or an RPG or the strategy games that come out of L.A. And theres some exciting stuff coming out of all of our teams.
Over all the studios is there something that's a big focus at the moment? We see that motion control is a focus for some companies at the moment.
Kinect. We're doing a Kinect version of Mass Effect 3. It's not a seperate version, but it's going to be really cool. It's voice control. We're using voice commands to control your squad so you can tell squad members to do different things, different actions like help me or heal me. Or you can read the voice lines, the dialogue.
I wouldn't say that's an overarching focus though. For our label it's really about our vision, which is emotionally engaging games, and all the games we build are achieving that vision in different ways, but they're all achieving that vision. It's our core value for all our studios, it's how we operate, it's how we build our games, it's how we make decisions.
We want to make quality games for our fans, andbe a really great workplace for employees, a place they can be proud of, and use their passion and entrepreneurship. For us, all these things are important, and that's what makes us a sustainable business.
Like I said at the beginning, you are one of those companies that people do get really passionate about. Why do you think that is?
I think it's a trust thing. You can try very, very hard to make games and for us, the quality is very important. And we aren't perfect, we make mistakes and we always take feedback very humbly and say, yeah we can jig that to make our games better. We're only as good as our next game, and we have a promise and an obligation to our fans. And I hope that's how fans see BioWare. I hope they trust our brand to not let them down, and if we ever do we always make sure that we try and improve on it in the next game. It's a promise, I guess, and we want to maintain that quality.
Thanks for giving us the time to talk to you.
Interviewed by Amanda Hepburn
"The Force will be with you, always..."
Obi-Wan's words at the end of the original Star Wars arcade game have certainly proven to be true - and then some. The release of Kinect Star Wars on Xbox 360 - and the accompanying Limited Edition R2-D2 console - proves that we're still enjoying Star Wars video games today.
The motion-based controls of Kinect Star Wars shows just how far the franchise has come since the 8-bit action of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision back in 1982.
Which got us thinking - over the past 30 years, Star Wars has appeared not only in a great number of games, but in all kinds of game. From side-scrolling adventures, to first-person shooters to flight simulators, there's almost no genre that has not visited that galaxy far, far away...
The First Person Shooter
Dark Forces (1995) took the first-person tactics of Doom and transported them to the Star Wars Universe, adding then-revolutionary features like multiple floors and "looking up and down". Along with its Jedi Knight sequels, gamers were hooked on the adventures of Kyle Katarn and his discovery of the Dark Trooper Project , and the series is notable as the first "Expanded Universe" adventures to be embraced by more mainstream fans.
First person shooting would return in the Star Wars Battlefront series almost a decade later, with the chance to play as StormTroopers, SnowTroopers, Rebel Soldiers or all kinds of troops and online skirmishing for the first time. We saw the last chapter of this series in 2009 - and are eagerly anticipating its return!
The Classic Arcade Game
While not the first Star Wars game, it was certainly one of the most memorable, and indeed laid the foundation of so much to come. Simulating the Death Star attack from the original movie, but with a bigger goal of avoiding enemies rather than shooting them in order to survive, the action played out with glorious wireframe graphics and - in a notable first for games in general - featured digitised voices and sounds from the original movie. It may seem simple by today's standards, but it set the bar for everything that was to come.
The Combat Flight Simulators
Arguably the first step in the 90s resurgence of Star Wars was the X-Wing series on PC. A WWII dogfight engine was given a 3D-graphic makeover and used to power the X-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters and more as the series moved through the events of the original trilogy. For many, these games really cemented just how good, and how versatile, Star Wars could be as a video game property.
Rogue Squadron picked up where X-Wing left off. The series favoured arcade-style scoring on individual missions over the larger campaign-style approach, and took a much faster-paced approach to match the new power and possibilities offered by the N64 and GameCube. Rogue Squadron II is fondly remembered for its cinematic graphics, helping to usher Star Wars into the 21st Century
In the 90s, PCs had the X-Wing and Jedi Knight series, but Sega and Nintendo's consoles also had their share of Star Wars action. Games like Star Wars on the NES and Master System, Super Star Wars on the SNES and Shadows of the Empire on the N64 were more literal, adventure-driven adaptations, giving the chance to play as Luke, Han, Leia and the gang in ways that had never really been done before, and wouldn't again until the fun and frolics of the LEGO games. For all the fun that the 'Expanded Universe' offered, it actually made a change to just play out the movies!
The Racing Games
For all of the Phantom Menace's faults, one thing many agreed was that the Pod Races were cool. Star Wars Episode 1: Racer for the N64 attempted to recreate that coolness, with interesting and inventive tracks that took you off Tatooine and into the wider Star Wars galaxy. But what made it particularly cool was the option to use two N64 controllers as the dual controls of your racer and really feel like little Anakin.
Star Wars also went down the kart racing route in Super Bombad Racing. It was aimed primarily for children to play, and while it was not the most well-received game that the franchise has offered, it had some fun gameplay and a fun visual style. If nothing else, proved that Star Wars could be adapted to pretty much any style of game.
The Real Time Strategies
The Star Wars universe seems an obvious canvas for strategy games, but the results have been mixed. Rebellion, Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds all gave it a try and had some interesting campaigns, but never really excited the way Star Wars should.
Empire at War intended to end all that. A new engine was built from the ground-up, the need to build and acquire resources was removed, and the battles became much more realistic. The game was set between the end of the prequels and the beginning of the original trilogy, was chock full of well-known planets, vehicles and characters, and featured both Rebel and Imperial campaigns, including a scenario where the Empire actually wins! It was the RTS fans had been waiting for, and, thanks to a vibrant mod community, was also the RTS fans could make their own.
The Beat 'Em Up
In what seemed another obvious step, Masters of Teras Kasi took Star Wars into the beat 'em up arena on the original PlayStation in 1997. It mixed established stars like Luke and Chewie with lesser-known EU characters like Jodo Kast, giving each an individual style like the fighters of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. But unlike those games, Masters of Teras Kasi had an inferior fighting engine, and the combination of obscure characters and the use of Lightsabers as little more than clubs did little to win over either casual or committed fans. Darth Vader and Yoda would go on to appear in SoulCalibur IV, but otherwise Masters of Teras Kasi was the first - and last - foray into the beat 'em up.
Much like Shadows of the Empire a decade before, The Force Unleashed was part of a massive multimedia campaign to create an exciting new chapter in the Star Wars saga. It introduced 'Starkiller', Darth Vader's secret apprentice, but also introduced Star Wars adventuring to the current generation of consoles - and was the first chance to use a Wii controller to wield a Lightsaber! While it didn't quite live up the 'next big thing' hype surrounding it, the plot, visuals and gameplay won over enough fans to warrant a sequel.
Set 4000 years before the events of the movies, Knights of the Old Republic hit PC, Mac and Xbox in 2003. Choosing to play as Jedi or Sith, the pre-movie period setting allowed for a large-scale and versatile universe without having to worry about the established characters and storylines. The intricate plot featured twists and turns with a major shock twist coming at the end of the first game, still talked about as one of the best in gaming history.
Things expanded with the release of MMO The Old Republic. Bioware promised a larger focus on story than usual for MMOs, a sensible step as the allegiances and politics of the Star Wars universe is more defined than the likes of Azeroth. The Jedi/Sith choice remained, with different classes available to both sides, and the opportunity for player vs player combat in the wider Star Wars universe was more than welcomed by players all over the world - nearly 2 million of them!
And the rest
There are plenty of Star Wars games we've not mentioned here - there simply isn't room to write about them all! But we hope this has been a fun trip around the Star Wars Universe, and one that shows just how versatile that universe is.
If we've missed your favourite, or you have any other Star Wars gaming memories you want to share, feel free to add your comments below. And May The Force Be With You.
We've been waiting for an announcement on the brand new Star Wars franchise teased by LucasArts recently, and the cat is finally out of the bag. Star Wars 1313 is the name of the third-person adventure game being cooked up by the studio.
The collaboration between a diverse array of Lucas's companies which include Lucasfilm Animation, Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light & Magic, Star Wars 1313 will result in a mature, 18-rated game. Taking on the role of a bounty hunter, LucasArts is promising "a dark and mature" gaming experience powered by the Unreal Engine.
A statement from the developer outlined the grand vision for this new adventure:
"Named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy," it read.
"Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world."
According to LucasArts president Paul Meegan, we can expect to find out much more about the game at next week's E3 gaming extravaganza in Los Angeles.
"We're excited to share one of the projects LucasArts has been hard at work developing," he said.
"Star Wars 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we've always known existed, but never had a chance to visit. We are committed to bringing the best gameplay experience and visual fidelity to life and I truly believe the work we are showcasing at E3 will speak for itself."
Role-playing fans are used to risking everything on the roll of the dice, but those gambles are usually reserved for the fictional fantasy tales unfolding on kitchen tables and in college dorm rooms. In 1995, doctors Greg Zeschuk, Ray Muzyka and Augustine Yip rolled the dice in real life when they turned their back on lucrative medical careers and decided to devote their time to making computer games instead. They called their company Bioware, and you only have to look at the games bearing that name today to see if their gambit paid off.
This Christmas week sees Bioware release its first online multiplayer RPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, while next year brings the third (and final?) instalment in their epic sci-fi saga, Mass Effect 3.
So how did the Canadian code factory reach the top of the RPG tree? Surprisingly, the first game from the newly formed studio wasn't a role-playing game at all, but a 3D action title about combat mechs. Shattered Steel was the title, and by taking advantage of the power of new PC video graphics cards it offered destruction and 3D scope that was beyond the capability of older hardware. Titles like Quake and Half Life were yet to redefine PC gaming, so Shattered Steel's technology earned the fledgling developer a lot of attention.
That attention wasn't enough to stop Dr Yip from returning to life in a white coat, but Zeschuk and Muzyka weren't about to let go of their dream. They wanted to make games inspired by the lengthy Dungeons & Dragons sessions that had seen them through medical school. And they already had the game in mind - Battleground: Infinity.
Don't be surprised if you've never heard of it. By the time the game arrived on shelves it had been taken on by Interplay. The publisher held the video game rights to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons brand, and so almost overnight Bioware went from developing games inspired by the role-playing classic to making an official Dungeons & Dragons game.
Baldur's Gate was the result, and it was an immediate smash. The RPG genre was in rude health in 1998, with The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Diablo all well established, but Bioware's relative inexperience was balanced with a deep understanding of what made role-playing fun.
Dungeons & Dragons remained the company's bread and butter for many years after, with expansion packs for Baldur's Gate leading into the sequel, Shadows of Amn, following in 2000. Neverwinter Nights continued the studio's D&D heritage in 2002, reviving the classic AOL online role-player for a more savvy internet audience.
While these titles were critically acclaimed and embraced by RPG fans worldwide, they were still very much niche games. Few outside of role-playing fandom were aware of the Bioware name. That changed in 2003, when the company launched its first console game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. At a time when Star Wars fans were torn by misgivings over the prequel movies, and punchdrunk from a slew of half-baked spin-off games, it was Bioware's narrative nous that saved the Jedi. Epic in scale, and with the freedom to explore the galaxy far, far away, it fulfilled the dreams of many Star Wars fans and earned Bioware a promotion to the ranks of legendary game developers.
Buoyed by this success, the company turned its attention to something new, the first original Bioware title since Shattered Steel, in fact. Jade Empire was the game, and it took the RPG framework and applied it to a tale of rival martial arts masters in feudal China. Kung fu combat added a surprising wrinkle to the familiar cloth, but critics noted that the story was a virtual retread of Knights of the Old Republic, with open-palm strikes replacing lightsabers.
Only a few years later, and with a new console generation to play with, Bioware silenced any doubters with the 2007 smash hit Mass Effect. A slick, thrilling space saga with the pace of an action game and the depth of an RPG, it heralded a new era for the developer. Super-publisher EA swooped in to buy the company, and so began a period of blockbuster genre-hopping that is still in full swing.
Blood-soaked fantasy epic Dragon Age found the company recasting the swords and monster tropes of the D&D years in its own style. Mass Effect 2 reached new heights of cinematic sizzle, showcasing an elastic storyline that allowed any of the characters to pop their clogs during the climactic suicide mission. And Bioware even found time to dabble in less obvious areas, creating a Mass Effect spin-off game for mobile phones and developing Sonic Chronicles for the DS, the first RPG to star Sega's blue spiky mascot.
Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka are still at the head of the company they found over fifteen years ago, and their passion for role-playing is still tempered by a desire to innovate and stretch the boundaries of what can be done with the genre. With its ties to the developer's first breakout smash hit, and its desire to shake up the world of MMORPG gameplay, Star Wars: The Old Republic is perhaps the quintessential Bioware experience. Enormous in scale, complex in intent yet an absolute joy to play.
Let the dice roll.
When Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars universe, following the purchase of George Lucas's LucasFilm, many fans were left wondering what it would mean for the future of videogames set within the epic franchise.
Well, it turns out that Disney has decided to license out the property to EA for multi-platform console development, while keeping social, online and mobile opportunities for itself. Frank Gibeau, EA Labels President, confirmed that Dead Space and Battlefield studios Visceral and DICE respectively would be creating games in the franchise - and so will the creators of the Knights of The Old Republic series, BioWare.
"Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," began Gibeau.
"The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay. Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine - guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters."
Well, if the publisher's looking for any suggestions, both Knights of The Old Republic 3 and Battlefront 3 have been clamoured for by fans in recent years, and would surely put the massive publisher back into gamers' good books, following the troubled release of SimCity.
Interview with Ray Muzyka at Gamescom… (31/08/2011)
At Gamescom 2011 we were lucky enough to get time alone with Ray Muzyka, co-founder and CEO of BioWare.…
Star Wars - The Galaxy Where Every Ki… (03/04/2012)
The motion-based controls of Kinect Star Wars shows just how far the franchise has come since the 8-bit action of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision back in 1982. Which got us…
We've been waiting for an announcement on the brand new Star Wars franchise teased by LucasArts recently, and the cat is finally out of the bag. Star Wars 1313 is the name of the third-person adventur…
Rolling The Dice: The History of Bioware (22/12/2011)
This Christmas week sees Bioware release its first online multiplayer RPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, while next year brings the third (and final?) instalment in their epic sci-fi saga, Mass Effect …
Star Wars Game License Acquired by EA. (07/05/2013)
Disney has decided to license out the property to EA for multi-platform console development, while keeping social, online and mobile opportunities for itself…
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