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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 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 you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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