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Bioware and LucasArts team up to release a new Star Wars MMO

LucasArts and BioWare officially announced the development of a new massively multiplayer online pc game called Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game will be story-driven and set during the timeframe of past hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Star Wars: The Old Republic, is being developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts.

Star Wars: The Old Republic, is set thousands of years before Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, when war between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire raged. Players can choose to play as Jedi, Sith, or a variety of other classic Star Wars roles. Similar to other MMOs, players will be able to define their personal story and decide whether to follow the light or dark side of the Force. Players will be able to choose to team up with friends to battle enemies and overcome huge challenges as a group.

LucasArts president Darrell Rodriguez’s discussed how their goal was to return to the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise stating, “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the most critically acclaimed Star Wars game in LucasArts history and a preeminent example of our company’s interactive storytelling heritage, For a long time, we’ve long wanted to return to the franchise in a grand way, and we felt that the best setting for it was an online world that would allow millions of people to participate in the experience together. We knew that the developer capable of working with us to deliver an engrossing story with a fully-realized online world was BioWare."

The game will explore a time frame 300 years after the events of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  This area of Star Wars chronology has been relatively unexplored when compared to the Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker era.

According to Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare, storytelling will help to differentiate this MMO from the rest.  He states, "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts”

Similar to Muzyka, Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder and Vice President Development Operations of BioWare discussed how this MMO will emphasize innovative story and character development, saying, “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."

Additional details for Star Wars: The Old Republic such as features, gameplay and release date will be announced at a later time.

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RE: The Old Republic
By The0ne on 10/23/2008 10:32:04 AM , Rating: 2
While I do share your opinion about BioWare making good games, it's a sad fact that their games don't account for much sales due to whatever. The end result as I've stated in my first post is the lackluster performance of their games to "addict" many players. I like NW. The engine from the first one was really nice and the characters were well done when you zoomed in on them. The story was compelling and had you progressing.

being very serious Blizzard is a group of second rate hacks by comparison- they are not in the same league as Bioware.

Square tried to do some of the things Bioware is indicating they are going for- but first off Bioware throttles Square senseless when it comes to quality of story telling,

Those comments about Blizzard being second rate and SE not having talents to produced a good story is moronic. You're lucky not to get bash by fans of both companies. They are top notch companies that DOES produce quality games whether you like them or not. You are definitely in the minority for these two cases.

I'm not even sure you know the history of these companies to making making such statements about Blizzard, and SE. Blizzard as a second rate hacks by comparison? What the hell do you mean. Do you mean they are bad programmers? Do you mean they just suck in general? Or do you mean they are hackers but second rate ones compare to 1st rate hackers from Bioware? "Seriously" wtf do you mean. Is this just your opinion bashing Blizzard and SE or are you going to accept that fact that they've sold millions upon countless millions of games because poeple like them and people like me see the quality in them even though I don't end up playing them. Do you even know the history of what the company Blizzard and it's old employees went through at all? You name one piece of Blizzard software that didn't do well in sales. Even Lost Vikings did well, and if not mistaken, better than NW. Second rate, please. Leave this discussion to those that actually know what they are talking about whether that's from a business perspective, animation, gameplay, or what have you.

As for SE, Aerith fans will surely devour you for having said that if they even bother to stop laughing from your comments. You don't get worldwide pleas and cries because a company suck at story-telling.

second off Square made the utterly moronic choice of requiring multiple players to make any sort of progress in the game- and then made it so you couldn't chose your server to join your friends so you could play together(seriously, the most inept design decissions I think I have ever seen in a MMO). They may have fixed some of this by now, but turn off half a million people in the MMO space before you have half a million happy customers and you are never going to make it to the big time.

By requiring multiple players I think you mean to say have a party to progress. Yes the game does require teamwork and parties/alliances to work. It requires it very early on as solo-ing are still not options for many of the jobs. And you think this makes FFXI bad because? Name a MMO that did not require a party to get certain things done. Name 1, just 1.

As for the random server, I'll have to agree it didn't work out like they wanted it to. Sure it took loads off of certain servers but as you said you couldn't play with your friends. The flip side to not having this is having all the Japanese players on a server, all the EU on another, all the Spanish on one, all the US (scary) on another and China on all of them (of course, for RTM). The others might not do this but the Japanese players will surely high tail out of the English populated servers. I don't blame them actually but I don't like the idea behind it.

Bashing the FF gameplay, again, is meaningless. That's like saying you didn't like any of the retro FFXI games or the upcoming FFXIII (seem like it from pics hehe) where battles are fought in a similar fashion. So if you and others are saying this is a waste of time, stop playing those type of games! Apparently the millions of other players don't give a crap what you are saying because they are enjoying them immensely. But if what you mean to say is that you rather not party until endgame then stick with WoW or other similar type of games.

FFXI was not designed for players to be able to solo efficiently. The game mechanics are too different to even allow this. Why complain about a game that you know was not even designed like others? The best MP regen you can have per skill is 4. You're not going to get hundreds upon hundreds like WoW or other MMOs. And instead of stacking hundreds to thousands of stat points, it only requires small numbers to make a difference. Why in the world would you have that much bonuses in the first place? Eventually it'll unbalance the jobs due to it's wide variance that players are able to obtain.

RE: The Old Republic
By BenSkywalker on 10/23/2008 11:04:09 AM , Rating: 1
Blizzard is a group of second rate hacks in comparison to Bioware- without a doubt. I am extremely well versed in everything that Blizzard has done over the years, if you wish to discuss it at length I would be more then happy to partake in that. What Blizzard has never remotely approached is the ability to build a game that's level of quality can match Bioware's typical title on all fronts- not even remotely close. Blizz makes some amusing, albeit it very simple, titles that appeal to masses looking for a basic gaming experience with pretty much no thought required. This goes up to and includes WoW(two toons in the T6 club- I speak from rather extensive experience). As far as the history of the company- it shouldn't ever matter when taking their bodies of work into consideration on merit. Take all the games Blizz has sold combined and put it up against Mario. The plumber dwarfs them, does that mean his games are by default better? Not even remotely close- so the sales end of the equation just doesn't make sense.

Square/Enix and story? Are you serious? Aerith, let's get into a convuluted mess about a bunch of clones and then have the key to saving the world being the breeding Chocobos so you can get into the cave to learn the spell so one of the clones can drop another one.... yeah, fine piece of storytelling there. I have been playing Square games since they first came to the states, even imported the versions that never came over here long before the PSX days and all the nublet fans FFVII brought in. I'm an even bigger fan of Enix, DQ was the best title of the last generation IMO on any system period(and I owned them all). That doesn't mean I confuse storyline with gameplay. Bioware excels as they blend them all together in amazing fashion- nothing like Square's let's have a cutscene about a horribly orchestrated travesty of a story that looks so pretty we will get people emotionally involved.

You haven't seen me bash on FF's core gameplay mechanics. If they translated them over without fault there wouldn't be an issue. The problem is you can't reasonably do anything as many classes without support from others starting at a very low level. I don't know how many times my black mage made it back to a town himself because I didn't have a phoenix down on me and my rezzers were dead. In FFXI you can not do that. About 40% of MMO players pretty much always play by themselves, the overwhelming majority split time between playing by themselves and playing with others. Because Square set the game up requiring you to play with strangers they alienated a great deal of people right off. I didn't join a guild in WoW until I hit level 60(60 was the cap at the time), I wanted to know what I was doing and get a solid grasp for the game under my belt before I started partaking in any serious group structure. FFXI does not allow this in a realistic fashion. Debating the core mechanics versus WoW in the end fails as they removed the majority of people from ever even tryinig the game in a serious fashion.

Saying that Square could not make the game in a fashion to support a single class being able to handle things, even if it is with some trouble, would simply have me holding up a copy of FFI. Soloing with a black mage was hell, but it was FAR more reasonable then it is in FFXI. Nothing says they need to be like WoW, but having an approach that allows people to solo basic trash outside of dungeons is worlds different then making demi gods.

RE: The Old Republic
By The0ne on 10/23/2008 12:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
So therefore I stand justified by what you've said in your first paragraph. Thanks. As far as second rate, I still think you're still confused. Do you mean from a business perspective, a game perspective? WTF do you mean. Here, I'll try to explain wtf is going on. Blizzard games, while simple, had always appeal to the mass. This is a good busines decision. Does that mean they skimp on the techs that goes into the game itself? Not entirely. Without some of the Blizzard games we wouldn't be playing games such as FFXI, WoW, Conan, LOTR and so forth. We wouldn't even be discussing this issue at all. WoW borrows heavily from D2 and when Diablo was released were there games comparable to the gameplay and graphics? I don't think so. Now Bioware has had it's share of good games as well. I enjoyed MDK, the first one, and thought it was pretty good. I then play NW and love it. The engine was very good for it's time and I had wish other companies could have use it, which a few did without much success either.

The history of the company does matter. How can you even think to discuss this in detail and at length with me by making these idiotic comments. In short, Vivendi screwed Blizzard to some extent, some of the original programmers left and made their own company. What do you think this will do to a company when talented programmers leave the company? Poorer quality games. But in Blizzard's case they still had enough programmers, enough support and enough sense to milk players. You seem to think they've skimp on the animation, graphics, gameplay, storyline and so forth and you're right to some extent, but to blantly called the companies which have enrich millions of players with great gameplay, animations, CGs, or what have you is stupid.

So you're making fun of SE's storytelling that's different than D&D style gaming. Hmm, interesting. How do you think the characters in NW come about? How do you think any game character came about? Pathethic argument. You would think you were actually making these comments in the sense that you really believe the characters from Bioware are somehow "real."

Bioware excels as they blend them all together in amazing fashion- nothing like Square's let's have a cutscene about a horribly orchestrated travesty of a story that looks so pretty we will get people emotionally

This is the point of storytelling! It's to get you involved. You rather have a nice package that doesn't get you involved? People don't get all worked up and even cry because the story sucked or the gameplay sucked. Whatever gave you that idea. The simple fact here is that the gameplay and story-telling of SE has drawn millions and millions of fans while worthy company like BioWare has not. Do you see me bashing Bioware? BioWare has talented programmers and their games are good...but they aren't selling for one reason or another. If one of their games had a "OMG, that guy killed her" type of sceneario that would jumpstart millions of players it would be a different discussion. But sadly, their game hasn't done this and thus I don't think the new Star War MMO is going to pan out. LucasArts is the same. You're discussing history that is already well known not to have been successful. Give it up. There's no bashing of companies on my side. There's just the past record of the companies to speak for themselves.

I'm not using the gameplay mechanics of any of the mentioned MMO other than to say people have different taste and there are different MMOs to suit their needs. Is this not clear enough or what? If you don't like the FF type of gameply and set of rules DON'T play it. It works fine for those that like the system and it works really well when people know how to play the job and learn the game mechanics. You come on here and bash these companies because in your view they suck. They don't suck or else you wouldn't be saying 'I'm an even bigger fan of Enix, DQ was the best title of the last generation IMO on any system period(and I owned them all)." You honestly think for one minute that you can hate these companies that much and yet imported and owned all those games? What's making you come back to them all? Please.

And yes you do bash on the gameplay mechanics. Check your comments, especially that last paragraph. If you haven't understood already, FFXI is a game that REQUIRES partying. WTF are you complaining about knowing this. If you want to solo to 60, this isn't the game for you. Go somewhere else and take your "SE sucks" with you. In fact, do us all a favor and sell your copies of FF, DQs and any other worthless sci-fi creations to those that truely love them.

What a waste of time discussing and pointing your stupid, pointless flaws.

RE: The Old Republic
By BenSkywalker on 10/24/2008 8:09:41 AM , Rating: 2
What do I mean by second rate hacks?

Blizzard's gameplay is clearly inferior, their storytelling is clearly inferior, their game mechancis are clearling inferior, their level design is shockingly inferior. Blizzard is a company that got themselves stuck in a certain era and can't break free. They may have been great at one point, but that time has passed. Their contributions outside of mass market appeal in the MMO space has been marginal at best. Were games comparable to Diablo when it was released? Absolutely, they just didn't have the mass market appeal that Diablo did in the PC space. Hack&Slash gameplay mechanics with some RPG spicing isn't anything remotely new, and Blizzard has never even tried to pretend their graphics are close to the high end for their time era- but I in no way knock them for that. The original MDK was done by Dave Perry's crew at Interplay btw, not Bioware.

You bring up the NWN engine and I think that is a great example of how Bioware evolves with the technology. NWN's method of telling the story was, even for the timeframe, significantly less then optimal, but it was an easier to manage system then the more elaborate ways other companies were using. You fire up a current Bioware title and while you can see how it evolved, it was a MASSIVE level of evolution which is something Blizz has failed to do in absolute terms. You directly interact and steer the story in a Bioware game in a way that suits your character, all voice acted with large selections and hundreds of different branches possible. Compare this with Blizz's mentality of 'we'll let someone else handle the story and throw it on a fan site' or Square's(much better then Blizz's IMO) fantastic displays of CGI Bioware's story is actually an evolving part of the game. You take any Blizz or Square title and tell people where you are at by where you are in the story, doesn't work like that with more recent Bioware titles.

As far as gameplay mechanics go- Blizz is fast approaching the poorest in MMO history. Every class is being equalized at everything, and most classes at this point are spam one button over and over and you auto win with WOTLK. Blizz has gone downhill an enormous amount in the last several years relative to their peers. The fact that they used to release titles that were of comparable quality to the top offerings in their genre means little today. Rareware and Silicon Knights used to also produce some absolutely stellar games, but time continued on and they didn't evolve with it. Blizz is doing the same thing.

As far as storytelling vs Square- you are an active participant in the story, you change the story. It is interactive entertainment. Also, there can be no doubt that Square's storytelling is horrid at best- their presentation OTOH is the best in the business. Some people like that style of entertainment, which I can honestly understand, but holding up FFVII as en example of their top storyline just goes to show what it is that entices people- Sephiroth looks soooo bad ass(which admittedly, he does ;) ).

You talk about SE's storytelling getting them millions of fans and Bioware's doesn't? Square and Enix each had several millions of fans prior to FFVII- and Enix in particular has never been very story driven(and DQ still outsells FF in Japan by a healthy margin)- they got fans from gameplay. This has slacked in recent years, as has their sales. Bioware, as you obviously haven't noticed- IS selling millions of titles now. Again, an evolutionary thing. As they improved the crafting of their medium, their sales saw dramatic increases.

<q>If one of their games had a "OMG, that guy killed her" type of sceneario that would jumpstart millions of players it would be a different discussion.</q>

I don't want to ruin it, but play KoTOR. It has a storyline point that you will likely remember much better then someone getting killed in a game(because that never happens ;) ). You can try and say this is Lucasarts, but until you play through the first KoTOR you really will not be able to understand why people are going to have absolute faith that Bioware is going to be allowed to do whatever they want to the game.

My apologies for not making my last post clear on one point- I don't bash on the non XI FF games ;) I still think of FFVI as one of my personal favorite games of all time(VII was a HUGE step down in gameplay quality, but still better then most RPGs).

I have thousands of games for almost every system ever made- am a huge fan of Enix(DQ still the best overall sustained RPG series by a LONG shot IMO) and am extremely well versed in all of these games and ther mechanics. Difference is, I'm not a particular fanboy of any company. As soon as they mess up a game, I have no problem calling them out at all. If they start falling behind eveyrone else, they are absolutely fair game. I don't make excuses for anyone.

You do truly have a pompous air in your posting style I will say- telling me to sell my stuff? You played one Bioware game once and are acting like an expert- one of us in this discussion has extensive times with both sides- and it isn't you.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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