LucasArts and BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc., today announced the development of Star Wars®: The Old Republic™, a story-driven massively multiplayer online PC game set in the timeframe of the Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™ franchise. Star Wars: The Old Republic, being developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts, represents an innovative approach to interactive entertainment, featuring immersive storytelling, dynamic combat and intelligent companion characters (Star Wars: The Old Republic).
It is nearly impossible for me to contain my excitement about this game. I heard the rumors for ages, but I never dared to believe they could possibly come true.
I am not new to Star Wars MMOs. I have been an off and on player of Star Wars Galaxies for years. The love/hate development cycle Sony Online Entertainment has maintained for years has kept me falling in and out of love with the game. I often joked with my friends that a day would come when someone other than SOE would one day make a new game. That day has finally come.
I am not sure I would be as excited as I am if anyone other than Bioware were making the game. Knights of the Old Republic is one of the best games I have ever played, rivaling Final Fantasy VII for the top slot on the list. Add to that their success with Mass Effect, and my hopes are exceedingly high. Now, I will be the first to admit that Knights of the Old Republic II was not the best game and could have used much more time in development before release, but the potential was still there, and even though it was incomplete, it was still enjoyable.
What excites me the most about Bioware making an MMO is that they are masters of story and setting. Two things often missing from most MMOs. Even better is there goals for the game:
"Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars - combat, exploration and character progression," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe (Star Wars: The Old Republic)."
I have been skeptical about claims like this in the past, but since it is Bioware. They are the one company that have the long track record making brilliantly enthralling role playing games. A track record is of course no guarantee. Square Enix did not do the best job with Final Fantasy XI.
What they are hoping to accomplish is a game with few instances where the choices of the players dictate the events in the setting. Many have tried this in the past, and I have heard good things about Warhammer Online.
Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder and Vice President Development Operations, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts Inc. [added], "Star Wars: The Old Republic is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, a timeframe that is completely unexplored in the lore. BioWare has been able to add to the Star Wars history in developing the game’s story and has created an overarching narrative that players can enjoy, regardless of their play style. Our goal is to offer players an emotionally rewarding experience that combines the traditional elements of MMO gameplay with innovations in story and character development (Star Wars: The Old Republic)."
This is the dream, whether or not it can become a reality will have to wait to be seen. They have only a released a few hints at what they are working on.
1) The lightsabers in the screenshots will shrink – but not by much.
2) They really, really, really mean it when they say that there is story in this game and it is what sets Old Republic apart from every MMO out there.
3) You don’t pick good or evil right off the bat
4) There will be crafting, there will probably be guilds, there will definitely be PvP and there won’t be a whole lot of instancing
5) Star Wars: Galaxies is not getting shut down (Kotaku)
Yes, you will be able to travel to many of the planets featured in the Star Wars movies and in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. There will also be a number of new planets and star systems to explore (SWTOR FAQ).
There are many questions that need answering:
- What races will be available for play?
- How many factions will be represented in the game? Republic? Jedi? Sith? Hutt?
- What classes will be playable other than force sensitive?
- What planets will be included?
- Will there be space battles?
- How will squad based play work in game?
- How will they incorporate lightside/darkside meters into the game?
For more information see:
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Official Site
You may want to sign up for their community to try to get into the beta when it starts.