BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic shipped in December and quickly recorded 1 million users. And today, it has been revealed the game's budget was massive, too.
A new feature story at the Los Angeles Times recounts development on The Old Republic and reveals some nuggets of information about the space-bound MMORPG. According to the Times, The Old Republic cost $200 million to develop, well above the $80 million forecast by Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter last May.
The Times reports the game was created over the span of six years by 800 developers on four continents. BioWare cofounder Greg Zeschuk told the paper, "Coordinating it all is like teaching elephants to do ballet."
As for BioWare's relationship with Star Wars creator and license holder George Lucas and his LucasArts staff, the Times reports that Lucas gave BioWare nearly "free rein" to do as it wished with the license. However, the newspaper reports LucasArts staff stepped in to "soften" some of the more "risqué" material, including scenes involving sex slaves.
As for recouping the game's massive development cost, EA said in February that The Old Republic would become profitable with only 500,000 subscribers. And according to Pachter, the game is well on its way to blowing that number out of the water. In an investor note issued today, Pachter said The Old Republic has sold at least 2 million units since its launch in late December. Additionally, he said he expects 75 to 90 percent of initial purchasers to stay onboard as paid subscribers following the bundled 30-day free game time.
For more on The Old Republic, check out GameSpot's review of the MMORPG.