Hi everyone! We have answers from Hall for some of the questions asked in this thread. We're not always able to address all questions, but we appreciate your questions and posts! Thanks for participating, and stay tuned for more Meet the Developers blogs.
Q: Did the writers have any say in who would voice the characters?
Hall: We always offer casting suggestions for every character we create, but the final determination rests with our teammates at LucasArts. For especially high-profile roles - our character classes and companions - we receive audition recordings from multiple actors and choose our favorite from among them. The process has worked out great, as we got some tremendously talented voice actors for our biggest and best roles.
Q: How closely do writers get to work with the voice actors? Is there some degree of coaching, or sharing why you wrote something in the way that you did?
Hall: Before we send our scripts off for recording, BioWare's writers add detailed performance notes for the actors to see when they come to the recording booth. Each individual line has information to help the actor understand the context of the line and what's happening in the overall conversation where it's occurring. Our project was simply too big for writers to get any "studio time" with our voice actors, which is a shame. I would love to meet the actors who brought my heroes and villains to life, one of these days.
Q: In a recent interview, you mentioned you mentioned that the writing direction of the future would be akin to the Avengers, bringing the individual stories together into one epic story. Could you elaborate on what this means for the future?
Hall: I can't reveal anything about our future plans, but we're always experimenting with new styles of storytelling for SWTOR. Some stories work especially well as a great big group team-up where players compete for the spotlight during conversations (hence the Avengers analogy), but that doesn't mean players have to be grouped in order to enjoy them. All of our content that isn't specifically written to be a class story is designed to work equally well whether you're in a group or flying solo.
Q: I'm interested in knowing a little more detail on how you went about working for Bioware as a writer, Mr Hood. What kind of qualifications did you need, and what type of things should an interested person put in their portfolio?
Hall: I had been a professional screenwriter for over a dozen years before applying to BioWare. I had also been an avid gamer my entire life and was especially fond of BioWare's RPGs. On top of that, I was also a massive Star Wars nerd. Of course, being a gamer and Star Wars nerd wouldn't have mattered at all without the time I put into learning the craft of writing. A good portfolio for a prospective game author will demonstrate confidence and talent as a writer, and also show a thorough understanding of the principles of good gameplay and quest design. Writing for games is the most challenging and rewarding creative work I've ever done, but it's definitely not a career path to embark on lightly.
Q: What is in the glass Hall? (referring to the blog photo)
Hall: That, my friend, is a cup full of Sith tears. Sooooo delicious…
since you wrote the Jedi Knight Story class I'd like to offer some feedback about this class story.
I tried it during the beta and played a low level dark sided Jedi, so my experience with the class is limited.
First I wish the dialog had some impact because playing a dark sided I felt like surrounded by blind Jedi.
It felt especially disturbing in front of the council as it was like all of them failed the force sense classes and were on drugs and deaf.
Then playing a dark sided Jedi was more about greed, fame and being an as_ole than said being a you know... a dark sided Jedi or a Jedi falling to the dark side..
Finally I don't know why but the class story felt a bit too much bland / cliche.
I guess most of it comes with design direction and technical choices though.
Anyway not saying writing for games is easy.