So… yesterday Bioware officially announced their next MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. This is the Knights of the Old Republic MMO I mentioned back in July. Now this isn’t a news site, but since we’re all Lore Dor– Aficionados here, I saw there were a couple items in the press release worth mentioning.
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.
Bold words, openly stating that MMO developers traditionally don’t even bother with story, and it’ll be interesting to see if Bioware can put their money where their mouth is. Keep in mind that this is THE press release introducing the game to the world. This is not some, “Hey it’s been a month… let’s toss them another bite” announcement. This press release in and of itself is a big deal, and out of all things BioWare could have discussed, they decided to focus a large chunk on how much they’re going to focus on story.
Wise move. BioWare is dealing with an intellectual property that a few of us have probably heard of. (Let’s face it… anyone under the age of 50 in the Western World who hasn’t seen a Star Wars movie is just weird.) The majority of the people who play The Old Republic are going to, because they want to live in a Star Wars movie. They want to experience the story, gold bikinis and all.
The drawback of dealing with an iconic IP is just that, it’s an icon. We all know what Star Wars IS, and more critically, we know what it ISN’T. BioWare is side-stepping this whole dilemna by having Star Wars: The Old Republic take place roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2. (That’s 3700 years before Luke Skywalker.) The story will be tied in enough to feel familiar, but distant enough to still allow the developers to create their own lore without breaking canon.
So boys and girls, bust out those old copies of KOTOR 1 & 2 and brush up on your Old Republic lore. Oh, and if you want to get into the beta in a few years, I’d sign up for the SWTOR Newsletter NOW.