At a joint press event today, Bioware and Lucas Arts FINALLY announced the long rumored Star Wars MMO, officially title Star Wars: The Old Republic. Lucas Arts’ Darrell Rodriguez began by jokingly calling the announcment “one of the worst kept secrets in the industry.” After some kidding around about a Howard the Duck or THX-1138 game, Dr. Ray Muzyka of Bioware went on to reveal that the title will be a story driven MMO set in a “dynamic period full of Jedi and Sith.” The Old Republic will encourage exploration, customization, and combat. While Muzyka confirmed that the game is in a playable state, it was not shown off live today. Much like the original KOTOR games, this MMO will have companion characters, who will feature their own stories and quests. In true Mass Effect style, players will be able to romance or betray their companions, which should make for some interesting Fox News coverage. Additionally, some gameplay features were confirmed today, namely that each class has its own story arc and that raids and PvP combat will be present in the game. Specific races or species were not confirmed, but we can likely expect all the usual humanoid beings to show up in playable form.
The story is set 3500 years before the films, and 300 years after Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. Players will be able to play as faction members of the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire, and players will “have to make hard choices” in how they handle thier powers. Sith can aim to become a Sith Lord or to “be good from within.” Alternatively, Republic members can play the good route or embrace the Dark Side. Art Director Jeff Dobson emphasized that the game’s art assets are designed to run on a broad range of PCs; this seems to back up the statements of 1UP.com’s livebloggers, who decribed the pre-alpha gameplay trailer as a choppy mix of Age of Conan and World of Warcraft.
When asked whether this game would be coming to consoles, Bioware replied with a tantalizing statement: “we’re only talking about PC… today.”