When Star Wars: The Old Republic launches next year, it will have only one publisher. At an event this evening, Electronic Arts announced it will be the sole distributor of the massively multiplayer role-playing game, due out in 2011 sometime after the first quarter of the year. The game is being developed by EA's role-playing game studio, BioWare, at its Austin, Texas, facility.
The MMORPG had been set to be copublished by both EA and LucasArts, the game arm of Lucasfilm, which created the Star Wars franchise. Lucasfilm will remain involved in the project as a "a key partner, collaborating on design and marketing, and as a licensor of the property." Speaking with GameSpot, BioWare cofounder Ray Muzyka said LucasArts would also remain involved in development of the game, as it is "part of the same organization as Lucasfilm."
The financial terms of today's deal were not disclosed, but the rationale was. According to EA, the deal was done "so that all publishing, marketing, and distribution responsibilities can be centralized for efficiency."
Today's deal comes just over three years after LucasArts and BioWare announced their alliance for an undisclosed game--the same month EA revealed it was buying BioWare. Less than a year later, EA CEO John Riccitiello let slip the game was set in the same proto-Star Wars universe as BioWare and LucasArts' Knights of the Old Republic games, set several thousand years before the Star Wars films. Later in 2008, BioWare and LucasArts revealed the game in earnest on the latter's campus in San Francisco.
For the latest on Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.