Brett Douville was the lead programmer on Skyrim, worked on Fallout 3 and had a long career at Lucasarts. Star Wars: Republic Commando was the last game he worked on for that company, and in this video he sits down to play the game and talks about how it was designed and created.
And some of the notes he has are fascinating. The game was originally supposed to take place over a single day of battle at Geonosis, but apparently that idea was a bit hard to sell. They stole the idea of the bacta stations that gave you more health from Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and, while they set up the idea that the Storm Troopers were distinct characters with different skills, it was all "smoke and mirrors."
Another interesting note: Douville has yet to see Attack of the Clones.
Each character acted exactly the same and had the same actions as the others, including yourself. They planted the idea that they were distinct early in the game and supported it with scripted sequences and voice acting. You just kind of went along with the idea that they were doing different things.
The fun development tricks are neat to hear about, and it's rare to hear someone be this candid about a game with this large a budget. They couldn't change the skeletons of the characters in the game, so when you blew off the head of a droid they simply made the head tiny very quickly. It was still there, it didn't go anywhere, but to the player it looked like a satisfying headshot.
The only thing they adjusted on the difficulty levels was how much damage you can take, an idea they stole from the original Deus Ex. Douville said the team were big fans of Metroid Prime, which is one of the reasons the helmet UI was so blatant in the final game.
If you're interested in game development, and want to learn about how often a few simple things can work together to create the illusion of a much more complex system, this is a great way to spend 90 minutes.
You can also buy the game for $10 on Steam to play along; the game remains a fun shooter in the Star Wars universe. Douville even claimed they weren't making a hardcore game. Instead they wanted to make a shooter for Star Wars audiences, not a Star Wars game for shooter audiences. Which seems a subtle distinction, but ended up making all the difference in the world.