Developer Update: Overview of the Planet Makeb
Hello everyone! I’m Charles Boyd, Lead Writer on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, here to shed a bit of light on how the BioWare Austin team initially conceived of the planet in the Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Known as Makeb, this world is an entirely new addition to the Star Wars™ galaxy, and we’re very excited for you to experience it in the Digital Expansion!
When our team sets out to add a new planet to The Old Republic, we always start by examining things from the player perspective. What sort of environment can we create that will feel new and unique? How can we give players a new or different view of the conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire and its effects on the galaxy? What kind of themes can we explore that we haven’t seen before?
Early on, we seized on the idea of a beautiful planet that’s being ravaged by ecological disasters. A place that would normally seem serene and welcoming, transformed into an environment that feels like it could fall out from under you at any second. With that goal in mind, we designed the entire planet to support the “disaster world” experience.
All of Makeb’s livable space is located on top of massive, towering stone mesas. This gives it a unique geography compared to our existing planets and provides for some breathtaking views, but it also begins to feel very precarious when a series of devastating “groundquakes” begin to strike. These beautiful stone mesas start to feel like death traps, constantly on the verge of collapsing into the seemingly-bottomless mists below. Entire cities are split in half, with massive fault lines torn directly across streets and through buildings.
But of course, having an entire world that seems bent on destroying the player isn’t nearly enough of a challenge…
When the writers discussed who the Players’ direct opposition should be on Makeb, the choice was unanimous: we all wanted to fight the Hutts. The increasing aggression of the Hutt Cartel was introduced in our Game Update (Operation: Karagga’s Palace Part II), and we wanted to bring that looming conflict to the forefront on Makeb and give players a chance to face-off with the Cartel once and for all.
The Hutts give us an opportunity to reinforce just how fragile the balance of power has become due to the ongoing war between the Republic and the Empire. The entire galaxy seems like it’s up for grabs at this point, and it was only a matter of time before a wealthy and powerful entity like the Hutts decided to make their own bid for control.
So, why has the Cartel decided to start their rise to power by seizing control of Makeb? That’d be giving too much away…
Ascendance and Resurgence
The situation on Makeb sees the Republic and the Empire exploring some new ground as well. For the first time in decades, the Republic is in a position of superiority. Their forces are finally pushing the Empire back. The writing team was eager to explore how this newly advantageous position might affect the Republic’s decision-making. Their leaders would obviously be eager to keep the momentum going and drive toward ultimate victory, so Makeb’s request for aid presents a quandary. While it’s obviously important to stop the Hutts before they can become more of a threat than they already are, it’s also important not to lose sight of the big picture. Can the people of Makeb make up for the risk that their rescue presents to the outcome of the entire war? How are the Republic’s values tested when they’re the ones in the lead?
Obviously, this leaves the Empire in the opposite position. There are very few living Imperials who are accustomed to failure, and exploring how this society might adjust in order to survive their embattled situation was something the writers really enjoyed. But while things certainly aren’t easy in Imperial space, they shouldn’t be counted out yet. The Imperials have learned exactly why the Hutts are making their play on Makeb, and if their forces can move with enough speed and guile, the Empire may be able to seize that same opportunity for themselves.
More to Come!
We’ll be pulling back the curtains on Makeb even more in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading! On behalf of everyone involved in developing this strange new world, we hope you all enjoy exploring it as much as we enjoyed creating it!
Star Wars: The Old Republic Lead Writer