Time gentlemen, please.

One of the interesting debates with respect to Star Wars: The Old Republic, or TOR as it’s supposed to be referred to, but then I have to add “blimey Mahwey Poppin’s” after it, and then I break out into the whole Chim Chimney routine, which gets a bit dull after a while, especially trying to get back down from the neighbour’s rooftop for the fourth time in a row. Anyway, one of the interesting morsels of information that Bioware has dangled tantalisingly above our heads and let us jump for with clamouring maws is the fact that TOR (blimey Mahwey etc.) is set approximately three thousand five hundred years before the original films.

I wonder if it’s not perhaps a little too far back?

I understand that they’ve done this to give themselves room to manoeuvre with respect to the Star Wars IP, but honestly, how much room do you really need? Think of the human race’s history, from today and reaching back three thousand five hundred or so years. Consider all the things that have been and gone in that time. If, for example, there are starship manufacturers from the original Star Wars films back in the time of TOR, it’s like having Mr Horus’s Olde Egyptian Pyramid Shoppe still building pyramids today; admittedly they’d look a bit different now, they’d be all futuristic and cube shaped. However, the Star Wars universe has always been a very futuristic setting, it’s a weird mix of technology, religion and tribal shamanism, and it may perhaps be a reflection of the enduring nature of a suitably advanced intergalactic society. We have no experience of this, as of yet, so perhaps such a thing is indeed possible.

It’s amazing, however, that in three thousand five hundred years no manufacturer has managed to come up with a voice synthesizer chip for an R series droid.

The Jedi and Sith I can sort of believe, however. Ok, I think that the ol’ lightsaber might have been adapted a little more in the three millennia that we’ve witnessed it, and that the Grand Master Jedi Tailor might have come up with something a little more inspiring than incontinence brown for the colour scheme of the greatest fighting order the galaxy has ever seen in the meantime, but perhaps it’s something that can be happily overlooked. One just has to look at our religions, some of which have been going for a thousand years or more, to see that they are one of those rare things that man has invented which can endure across vast spans of time.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Bioware approach this problem, to make the game feel both Star Warsy enough and at the same time alien enough that fans will not begin to wonder when exactly they’re going to get to meet Darth Vader or fly the Millennium Falcon. Although in the case of the latter, the clue is perhaps in the name.

6 thoughts on “Time gentlemen, please.

  1. Melmoth

    Apparently there will be a ‘Three and a Half Millennium Falcon’ in TOR.

    The lucky player who manages to find it will get to play a cameo as the pilot of the ship when it appears in Star Wars Episode 7: Jar Jar Binks Goes to Ewok Town, coming to a theatre as soon as Lucas next needs some more cash.

  2. spinks

    You know, I thought this was kind of dumb in KOTOR. They had the same droids, the same armour, the same lightsaber, similar looking ships. NOTHING changed in that universe except for which bunch were in power and how many jedis there were. Absolutely nothing.

    Can you imagine a universe with zero progress in 3000 years? Man. It was just a handwavey to say, ‘hey this is totally the star wars you know, we’ll just pretend its a different era’.

  3. Melmoth

    You know, I thought this was kind of dumb in KOTOR.

    Oh bum, good point; I knew I was missing something out. And in fact some of the launch blurb said:

    “Set 300 years after the events in Knights of the Old Republic (and featuring some familiar faces)”

    Can you imagine a universe with zero progress in 3000 years?

    I find it hard to imagine it for a single planet let alone a galaxy/universe, in fact I’m thinking it would actually make for an interesting novel: The Planet That Never Changed.

  4. Stabs

    Well Earth during the dinosaur age didn’t very change much.

    That does of course depend on your research scientists having their brains A) pea-sized and B) located in their arses. Not unfeasible tbh.

    Today’s antispam word is Spantle. When TOR comes out I will give a free droid to whoever comes up with the best definition of this word.

  5. Shadow-war

    As Syp said, I see the Star Wars universe as having stagnated for the most part in a technological sense. They’ve had collabarations from uncounted planets and systems all increasing the overall knowledge pool for technology. At some point, doesn’t advancement reach a practical stopping point. Sure, we could make that voice synthicizer for the droids, but the cost would increase astronomically, the production would be cut, and sales would drop. Some refinements can be done, but new technology is few and far between. A good example of limited techonology can be read in the Jedi Academy series where you find out about the origins of the Death Star, and another nastier weapon produced by the Empire.

  6. foolsage

    The Old Republic setting is fairly well laid out in print (especially comics/graphic novels) and has been for over a decade now, well before KotOR. One of the basic concepts is that some technology more or less peaked centuries before even the Old Republic timeline, and so lightsabers, droids, and hyperdrives haven’t appreciably evolved since then. It’s quite possible, even likely, that this was done solely to make readers comfortable with the “new” (old) setting, but it is at least internally consistent. Anyhow, the game’s deliberately making use of the pre-existing setting (as KotOR did), not creating the rules anew.

    Voice synth chips do in fact exist for almost any droid, incidentally. A lot of droids don’t have voice chips because the ability to talk isn’t necessary for their functions. Remember, Artoo is an astromech droid who’s ended up acquiring a lot of unplanned skills from a combination of wild adventures and failure to properly wipe his memory. As an astromech, he doesn’t really need to be able to talk. As a general companion/adventurer, sure, it’d be nice if he could talk. I always thought the little guy must have had a REALLY foul mouth, judging from the beeps and whistles. :D

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