The most anticipated upcoming PC online RPG is undoubtedly Star Wars Galaxies, which received a lot of media attention at the last two E3 shows. But although Sony Online--which is developing the game for LucasArts--is making progress on the game as it moves through beta testing, it doesn't look like the game will make the 2002 release promised earlier this year.
The most recent message board update from the Sony Online team says that the second phase of beta testing is now beginning. In this beta phase, 200 new testers will be added right from the start, with more coming in the next couple of weeks. By the end of the second beta test, thousands of players should be in the world of Star Wars Galaxies, and will fill a server.
Beta tests for online games can last a number of months, and the start of second beta doesn't mean the game's release is just around the corner. In his update post, Sony Online's Kevin O'Hara mentioned that "beta 2 is not fun," mainly because of what's involved in the volunteer work of beta testing, but also due to bugs and server crashes. After this beta phase, a third phase of beta testing will serve as a final stress test of the game and will include many more players.
While LucasArts has declined to comment on the game's schedule, it's become clear that, much to fans' disappointment, Galaxies won't be out by the end of the year. EBGames.com lists an estimated release date of February 2003.
For more details on Star Wars Galaxies, check out our previous coverage of the game.