Things have been getting a little heated in this thread and while I don't mind critiques of my work (that's what this forum is for!), everyone should try to remain civil while discussing such critiques.
Hey! I'm so glad that you responded to this thread - sorry about how it turned out. I didn't intend for it to get so flamey, but it doesn't look like it's improved much. :-/ Still, I really appreciate your willingness to share some of the thoughts behind the creative effort.
With that being said, I'm happy to give a little insight into our thinking when we developed the Trooper story, and the interactions with General Garza in particular. As with the rest of the game, evoking the spirit of the films was the top priority; and in the films, the protagonists almost always receive their military-style briefings from generals or equivalently high-ranking individuals. In A New Hope, General Dodonna briefs Red and Gold squadrons directly; in Return of the Jedi, the squadron commanders and ground teams are briefed by General Madine, Admiral Ackbar, and Mon Mothma. Leia gives Rogue Squadron their briefing in Empire Strikes Back; I can't recall what exact rank Leia carries at that point in the story, but she and General Rieekan seem to treat each other more or less as equals, so Leia certainly carries a lot of responsibility regardless. All of the Jedi Generals in the Clone Wars regularly lead and give orders to individual clone squads.
I never interpreted these scenes as indicating that there are no chains of command or support staff anywhere in the galaxy far, far away; we just don't see them because they're not dramatically relevant. Watching Mon Mothma's directives filter down to Admiral Ackbar and General Madine, then down to their subordinate officers, and so on wouldn't fit the films' storytelling style.
I agree with your point about the films' storytelling style - mostly! Those iconic briefings prepare the audience along with the protagonists for the climax of the story, and having all the Important People there makes a ton of sense. It adds weight to the proceedings that wouldn't be there if the storytelling was overfocused on the minutia of command structures and having Mon Mothma's people getting with Madine's people. That might be realistic, but it would definitely not be either interesting or dramatic (unless your audience consists of military enthusiasts and/or you make the staffers meaningful characters who carry the drama themselves).
However, Garza conducts some pretty mundane briefings throughout the course of the Trooper story, even when you consider that Havoc is one of her most valued assets. I personally feel like, from a storytelling standpoint, you make Garza a much more interesting character when you make her someone the squad knows about, takes orders from by proxy of a staff, and then occasionally gets to meet when the chips are all on the table and she's taking the reigns herself. I imagine the first meeting on Coruscant after arriving from Ord Mantell being more like this:
Garza: (all gruff and matter-of-fact, a little hurried, busy talking to her staff, on the way out of the office to a briefing with other generals, admirals, and sentaors) Leiutenant. I've heard impressive things about you from people whose opinions I care about. They said to give you Havoc, and I trust them. Don't let them down, because it's them I'll blame if you fail."
Lightside Femshep: (deferentially snapped to attention, exuding pride, speaking with a professional tone) Thank you, General. I won't fail you, sir."
Darkside Femshep: (pridefully) "I hope these aren't the same advisors who told you to trust Tavus. Either way, General, there's no soldier in the galaxy better than me to run Havoc. I'll be delivering that message to Tavus personally."
Garza: Carry on Leiutenant. (And off she goes to be powerful and important, while the Trooper branches off to take orders from one of Garza's command staff.)
Then later, maybe at the culmination of each chapter, Garza makes an appearance all Dodonna/Madine/Leia style. We get a taste of that variety of story-telling at the end of the Trooper story as-is, but I feel like the reason behind the notion that it was anti-climactic is because there was too much Garza all along. It's too much of a good thing.
When you interact with Garza so much, you take her for granted, and her rank and personality become familiar and routine. Then when she steps up to be powerful and commanding, it's just a yawn and press the "1" key for a lightside choice.
So, we adjust things in order to achieve those same dramatic goals. Havoc Squad is designated as a special, elite team with a huge amount of operational freedom, reporting directly to General Garza instead of running through the normal chain of command like the rest of the Republic military. This allows the Trooper to have a single "command" character to develop their thoughts and reactions to over the whole course of the plot; it allows the Trooper to have a personal ship and take it anywhere they want; it allows the Trooper to take on any side quest at any time, rather than calling to secure approval to operate outside of given mission objectives; and basically glosses over all of the many, many other realistic aspects of military life that don't fit with the get-to-the-drama pacing of Star Wars and the gameplay requirements of our design.
I'm certainly not here to tell you that you're wrong for finding these things unrealistic or unenjoyable. But everything we do is done for a reason.
If you'll indulge some apples : oranges, the Agent story has a boss who has a staff, and you spend the early goings interacting mainly with the staff. The Agent storyline is widely considered superior to the Trooper story. I'm not gona say that what I'm talking about is THE reason for the prevelance of that opinion, but it's a component I think. The Trooper story should be more straighforward than the Agent one, which should rely on plot twists and does effectively. But plot twists make storytelling a lot easier. A straightfoward story has to be much more epic in fact to affect people as much. By tweaking the relative value of Garza, I think that would be easier. Even at the end, the new boss's boss is someone I've already worked with in the small time.
Maybe it's just me and I'll just get flamed more and no one will agree with me. If so, that's fine. I'll just write a full blown fanfic showing you all how wrong wrong WRONG you are. Right after I'm done with my fanfic about how Obi-Wan is Luke/Leia's real father and how Obi-Wan and Padme tried to kill Anakin so they could be together, but failed, Padme died instead, and ... well, it goes something like this:
Vader: Obi-wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him.
Vader: No. He was your father.
Luke: No ... that's not true ... that's unpossible!
Vader: Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true.
Luke: NoooOOooOOooOoooooo.... nooo
Vader: Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as two awesome dudes!
Luke: You ... you mean you don't want to kill me?
Vader: Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You are the son I should have had. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can *end* this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy.
Luke: Yeah, okay. I like the sound of that ... you know, better than dying right here like a punk.
Vader: All too easy.
Wow ... I just ... I mean ... that's brilliant!
Sorry, this is what happens when I make forum posts at 2:40am.