Come read the transcript of the Lucas Art's chat event with Julian Eggebrecht and Brett Tosti of Factor 5!
This interview took place during a chat event at Lucas Arts' website. It began tonight at 8pm central, and lasted for exactly one hour. The questions were asked by mere mortals in the chatrooms, so many contain spelling errors, and some answers contain information that we already knew. However, there are many good questions with equally good answers. For most of the event, it was unclear which member of the Rogue Leader team was answering the question, but their names are added in italics where they identified themselves. Enjoy, and thanks goes to Factor 5 and Lucas Arts for the "interview".
JoshWilder: I know you're going to get this question a lot, but is Rogue Squadron II still on launch date, November 18th for the GameCube. If not, do you have an estimated date in mind?
Rogue Leader Team: Absolutely, positively, Rogue Leader will be on the shelf the day the hardware is in stores.
Jason_Hahn_Solo: Brett- What exactly is the role of the Producer in a highly anticipated game such as Rogue Leader? Julien- Being the director, are you the one with the creative control over the game?
RLT: Julian: When it really comes down to it, I might make the final decision, but in general we have a very democratic system - everybody gets their input.
RLT: Brett: Probably the best analogy would be that of a movie producer. My responsibilities are more of the business end -- dealing with marketing, business schedules, etc... and of course I deal with the approval of the initial design document and I do have creative input, as do all members of the team.
Gargos: How many levels have been completed so far? Also, how many levels in total do you have plan to have in the final version?
RLT: Majority of the levels are finished, we're just at the tuning and tweaking stage. We have 11 basic missions and similar to Rogue Squadron we have a slew of bonus missions and vehicles.
El_Hefe_IGN: Jullian/Brett, how have you found working alongside Nintendo? Have you found them to be helpful and assist you in getting your product up and running?
RLT: For us the relationship is pretty much like a dream because we had very early access to the GameCube hardware. And all members of the hardware and OS software team at Nintendo supported us all the way.
briancooper: Will Rogue Squadron 2 be available for the PC someday? Or is it just going to be a GameCube exclusive?
Blaster1: Will Rogue Leader be coming to Xbox?
RLT: Rogue Leader is a GameCube exclusive title. We will not be porting Rogue Leader to any other platform.
Darth_Bean: How many simultaneous textures is RL using? Are you getting up to the full 8 supported in hardware?
RLT: We have several levels and objects in the game which use up the maximum possible 8 texture stages. ON average we are using 5 layers of textures.
EdwardSeelefant: Why are programmers across platforms content with 30fps while you seem to pull 60fps easily?
RLT: Maybe easily is the wrong word here. (pause) Maintaining 60 frames is a constant challenge for the team. GameCube makes it easier than previous consoles to actually achieve this goal, but as you can see with many other games, only very few really do it in the end.
Nairb10: I noticed in the Yavin hangar that there are like 5 different Y-Wings to choose from. Will each Y-Wing have different secondary weapon? (ie: torpedo/ioncannon/bombs)
RLT: I'm sorry to inform you, but all Y-Wing's in the hangar are identical :) YOu can choose any one, b ut they all have the same secondary weapons.
Dan_B: Rogue Leader previews have mentioned 5.1 surround sound. Can you explain how this is done? Be specific please. Thanks.
SteveNS: How is Rogue Leader able to pull off 5.1 in-game considering that the GmaeCube does not support Dolby Digital?
RLT: We have some great news about this, but we can't talk about it right now...but we will soon.
The_BoBFish: Rogue Leader's controls include 2 weapons buttons (blasters & secondary weapon), but how will vehicles like the B & Y-Wings (both with blasters, Ion Cannons AND other weapons) be dealt with?
RLT: The B-Wing has blasters, ion cannons, and torpedoes, so three weapons on one craft are possible. In addition, we have the different linked laser modes.
Olivicmi: In RS2 some levels have transitions between day and night, is there something that could happen at night that wont' happen at day? or visa-versa?
RLT: anything's possible ;)
Benefold: Will there be any special "Naboo" missions?
RLT: No, Rogue Leader is set totally in the Classic Star Wars universe.
Gekko: Will this game be setup the same way as the original? Play a mission, get a medal, play another mission, etc.? Or are we trying for something other than medals this time around?
RLT: In general you can still get medals in the levels, but you can now use them to unlock bonuses without being required to find the entire game.
JohnJohn2001: What was your favorite meal to eat while working on Rouge Leader?
RLT: Julian: Toss up between Indian and cold Pizza...and lot's of drings and caffeine.
pistonhonda: Why was the decision made to set the game in the classic Star Wars universe, rather than the newer Episode 1 setting? (not that im complaing :) )
RLT: Rogue Leader is a sequel to Rogue Squadron and it only existed in the Classic Star Wars universe. LucasArts is making many game dealing with the newer movies and we thought it was just about time to make a good old classic game.
Senryo: How much of a range in difficulty is there? Will there be plenty of challenge/replayability for hardcore gamers?
RLT: We are trying hard to, on the one hand, make it easier in the beginning than the original Rogue Squadron, but then have a nice difficulty curve in later levels and bonus missions. To achieve silver and gold medals, should and will be a real c challenge for the hardcore gamer.
Slivosky00: Is Rogue Leader going to have any levels on Tatooine? I think the textures could definitely look awesome for that planet.
RLT: Yes we have one level on Tatooine and I can assure that the textures do look awesome!
Benefold: What role do the "digital clicks" have?
RLT: The digital click on the left trigger is used for strong braking, and depending on yoru stick position, for either tight turning or more precise targeting. And the right digital click is used for boost on several craft and opening and closing wings on the X-Wing and B-Wing.
PistonHonda: Any chance of being able to play as the Empire?
RLT: The attraction to the Dark Side is strong...
Constipated_Cow: Do you plan to show off sume new levels of Rogue Leader at the Tokyo Game Show in Japan? What can we expect?
RLT: Not at the Tokyo Game Show, but we are showing a new version at the European Nintendo Show in early September.
Nintendoodle: Will you be able to use the in-cockpit view while using the tow-cable on AT-ATs?
RLT: Yes, we have an option to always remain in cockpit view under all circumstances.
Smithg5: It seems like the mechanics of ship blaster fire, like sound, frequency and visually, has changed since the first RS - is this just the result of watching too many stamp sized videos or was this indeed altered.
RLT: In terms of visuals, we are now simulating the way ILM did the lasers in the movies, so they are spot on. That makes them way more authentic than Rogue Squadron. In terms of sounds, we are using all the material from the movies and we are doing A/B comparisons with the movies while mixing the sound for the game constantly.
gdgf: Will Walkers leave footprints in the Hoth level?
RLT: If nothing goes wrong in the next 2 weeks...they will.
Cyconaut: Will there be voice acting by any of the original cast?
RLT: Rogue Leader will feature the voice of Dennis Lawson, the original Wedge Antilles. In addition, we are using original voice lines from the movies for e.g. Harrison Ford and others.
BlueBoy: IS Rogue Leader going to be a sequal to the storyline of Rogue Squadron, or is it basically an upgraded Rogue Squadron?
RLT: It isn't a sequal, the original Rogue Squadron was a series of mini missions. Rogue Leader is much more epic and coherent in it's storyline -- it parallels the storyline in Episodes IV - VI.
Constipated_Cow: What is the biggest challenge in making Rogue Leader?
RLT: The time constraints...
Newduck: To satisfy all the forum spec and number adorers, how many million polygons does Rogue Leader tend to push in a standard situation per second, and how much does it tend to vary? and has there been any performances increases since previous showings
RLT: If we would start counting the polygons now the game wouldn't get done, but we estimtae most scenes at between 12 and 15 million polygons per second. The version being show in Europe has quite a performance increase in the Hoth level compared to what was shown previously.
Senryo: How do you know when you've finished a game? (Are there always things you wished you could have added, given more time?)
RLT: Finishing a game is always abandoning a work in progress. Without any schedule a team would continue to develop a game indefinitely.
Constipated_Cow: Just for fun, what's your favorite Nintendo 1st party or 2nd party title for GameCube?
RLT: Brett: I won't know until I can get my hands on one of them. Luigi's Mansion certainly looks like a fun and exciting game.
RLT: Julian: I'm all over Pikmin.
Chris_NC: WHich is better in your opinion, the X-Wing or the A-Wing? I'm an X-Wing man myself.
RLT: Brett: I love the X-wing as well.
RLT: Julian: I choose neither, the B-Wing is pretty cool.
undefined: Is major work continuuing on the graphics engine or is it pretty much feature complete?
RLT: The entire game is feature complete, but we are still optimizing the graphics engine.
berthazapata: when will this game be available in europe?
RLT: It will also be there at the initial day of the GameCube launch in Europe.
Rogue1701: Any pleasent surprises that cropped up so far during development that have just made you folks say WOW! we didnt' expect it to be this good
RLT: Especially during the first 3 months we had surprises almost daily while the first few levels came together. We were very skepical initially, and Bespin was our benchmark, make or break level, but it came together beautifully.
Rogue15: Are there any new vehicles/enemies that we didn't see in the original rogue squadron?
RLT: Well, we have the B-Wing as an obvious addition.
Coleslaw2000: Is there still a chance that you will be able to incorporate dynamic shadowing for larger structures and small ships/buildings/troops.. or is that just asking too much?
RLT: It's on the 2 week to do list.
OldHatMan: What's next on tap for you guys? Another Star Wars game or something totally different?
RLT: Maybe both... Thanks everyone for your great questions. We hope everyone enjoys Rogue Leader as much as we've enjoyed developing it.