E3 2008: EA CEO confirms KOTOR MMO

John Riccitiello tells <i>Conde Nast Portfolio</i> that BioWare's mystery massively multiplayer project is a third installment in the Star Wars series.

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Ever since it was announced in 2006, BioWare's massively multiplayer role-playing game has been shrouded in mystery. Though the Canadian developer opened a satellite studio in Austin, Texas, just to develop it, its cofounders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk maintained an iron wall of silence. However, Electronic Arts knew enough about the title to help convince the company to buy BioWare/Pandemic for $860 million last year.

Today, as E3 2008 wound down, the fog hanging around BioWare's MMORPG appears to have dissipated. Less than 72 hours after presiding over EA's own press event--where the project was nowhere to be found--CEO John Riccitiello almost casually revealed the MMORPG in question is a sequel of sorts to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

"We've got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development," Riccitiello told Conde Nast Portfolio magazine. "The first title, based on the Warhammer property, will launch soon. And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about in partnership with Lucas [Arts is] coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry." When contacted by GameSpot, BioWare reps declined to comment further.

BioWare's first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game was released in 2003 for the original Xbox and PC, and was named the year's top RPG by GameSpot. An Obsidian Entertainment-developed sequel was released in 2004 and 2005 on the same two respective platforms. Both critically acclaimed games are set several thousand years before the events of the Star Wars films, and cast players as adventurers who eventually become powerful Jedi Knights.

Currently, the Knights of the Old Republic MMORPG is set for release sometime in 2009. Once it launches, it is unclear what will happen to LucasArts' current massively multiplayer title, the Sony Online Entertainment-developed Star Wars Galaxies.

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