LucasArts/Lucasfilm taking licensing role in Star Wars MMORPG, leaving marketing and distribution to megapublisher.
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.
@Ekrindul: ---I don't think that's the reason KOTOR II was glitchy. Remember who the develop was after all. --- Yes, I know, it was Obsidian. But I bet that it was not Obsidian's idea to rush it. (Lucasarts was the publisher in that case).
@Philly1UPer I just don't like if someone says I know nothing about this game while I was working close to the developer team. My friend actually works on this game as arts designer. It's just a fact that this game is fully MMO-optional. The dev team made that clear often, even in interviews right here on GS.
@IrshDrkWlf I probably shouldn't have worded it like that. I love KOTOR 2 and I personally thought it was better that the first one. But if you've played the restored version on the PC you really can't help but feel angry at Lucas arts for not giving Obsidian more time.
EA publishing this game will be just fine. Expect tons of info released right around the release of wow cata, which is very smart. With the little amount of info that is out there, this game seems to be very different from wow in many ways. The crafting system thats will be used could be described by some as dumbed down from wow. To me, wows crafting system was horribly boring and took too much time. If you have't checked it out, look at tor's site. This game will be wow's true cataclysm haha, trust me
@sabas10 You may not have been "talking" to him, but we can pretty much still read what you say, regardless of who it is meant towards. If you can;t handle someone having a different opinion then you or not agreeing with what you say then....don't be on the Internet?
@zequex I weren't talking to you and you don't know what this is about, so I think you shouldn't comment unless you read the whole story first. Your comment was quite useless.
@sabas10 "You're stupid. Even my dead grangrandgrand dad knows more about this than you." Dude, what the heck are you talking about? o.O You're just shooting off nonsense and insults! I don't even know where to start!
@Stealthos EA has a negative reputation with some people because they have bought up franchises and then pressure the developer to make changes to appeal to a broader audience. Its a successful business tactic, and works well. However, the original audience can feel that "their" game is "dumbed down". Usually, this is true. Your argument about traditionally free online games is simply a red herring. I generally worry about any MMO being over simplified as it needs to appeal to a large audience to thrive. With EA completely in charge, this seems to be even more likely the case.
I can't understand why people think this is bad news. I would have thought one publisher is less complicated for the future of the game after release. EA have a good record of bringing out games to many regions. I'm unsure how EA still have such a bad reputation when it is one of the few publishers who are still bringing new IPs out and taking massive gambles (obviously as well as established names) as well as looking at options for making games cheaper. I play battleforge; a game the developers wanted to make free so EA agreed, whereas not many other publishers would do that. What about fifa online, Need for speed world, and Battlefield heroes? All free. I know there are micropayments in some cases, but that's still cheaper for most people. So I feel choosing EA means that the developers have more control on what they want to charge. Unlike, for example, activision blizzard - where games are charged at lot higher or sub fees are planned for games that wouldnt normally have them (like Starcraft 2 with its future plans to charge a sub to pay for a RTS!!). It's no surprise anyway that EA have some involvement - they own bioware!
@Icehearted wait so copying a company like Blizzard will end in failure? To be successful in the MMO industry you have to collect all the best idea's that were done before and refine them. Then add your own idea's and all the polish you can afford to give. You have 1 chance to go big time, if the initial launch is a success you could make billions.. if it falls flat you may stay alive as a property but will never go big time.
f0rg makes a sound point. There's never been any talk by Bioware about offline play, but they have talked up the single player content like it's not just a new KotOR, but many new KotORs. How much this means it will deviate from the formula WoW established remains to be seen, but as a once long time dedicated WoW player, I can affirm that copying them will only turn me away. I quit WoW for a reason, as have many others, and even more have avoided it all together. I can tell you right now that no matter what the theme, if they just make this a grind-centric game of numbers and percentages (basically like more than %50 of MMOs out there) they'll lose right out of the gate. My biggest bit of curiosity (other than how it plays) comes from how many SWG players will migrate from Sony's online disaster, and how far from Sony's game will this experience really be?
@f0rg It may not be completely original, but it won't make a difference to the many of us who don't play WoW and are only interested in this game because it's Star Wars and made by BioWare.
EA uses money on George Lucas. It's super effective! Seriously though, this doesn't change much from our perspective. And for those people who are saying you don't have to play online...you're completely wrong. Massively Multiplayer ONLINE Role Playing Game. Playing online doesn't mean you have to group with other players or even interact with them. Still...you will be online, and there will be a subscription fee. You're also going to have to get comfortable with the fact that a lot of the mechanics in this game are going to be similar to WoW. That doesn't make it WoW with lightsabers, but don't expect a completely original experience.
@sabas10 Wrong. Apparently you know nothing about this game. There is only one mode, and that is online. You cannot play this game offline. That's why it is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), not an MMOoOIYWRPG (massively multiplayer online or offline if you want role-playing game). If you're going to insult people about their reading abilities or knowledge of the game, at least get some of that knowledge yourself buddy.
i'm super hyped about this game but i really wish Bioware was independent, great company but they have to deal with EA (the slimy execs of the game world). i need a great MMO in my like thats no WoW and i will be giving this a shot. EA needs to understand that MMO's are always changing and require a lot of constant work.
For all people who can't read, or who know nothing about this game, it's an RPG/MMO. What does that mean?, you think. Online (MMO) is AN OPTION. You DONT HAVE TO play online with many other people. Otherwise it would be called 'Stars of Warscraft''. This still is like KOTOR, but with way more cool thingies added by the almighty Bioware, and with an option to play co-op and even battles with other players. If you want, you can even meet them trough the whole universe. But if you don't want to see them, just de-activate online mode, and there you have the new installment in the KOTOR franchise with no MMO options. Great game for everyone, whether they want to play online or not
@darthslim108 They already have Spore: Galacic Adventures xD LA and EA are partner's for a loooong time. They don't really shout in in public, but it's a fact. EA and LA also always were some kind of friends. LA is however not as greedy, it's giving smaller companies a chance to create something great. Some months ago, EA actually closed one of those studios who worked on Star Wars games (Pandemic Studios). While Ubisoft, Activision, (reborn) SEGA, Nintendo, SCE (A/E), Microsoft Games and EA are fighting with each other, especially the ones who are platform-neutral (so not Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft), other huge and important publishers such as LucasArts and VALVe continue making great projects such as Half-Life (Epsidode) 3, Portal 2, TOR and many others.
@TheBlastmaster, I get now what you didn't understand, I was talking about PC games and MMOs and how they are charging more and more for less and less, not console games though the same thing is starting to happen to consoles now, as well.
I didn't mind Kotor 2, I just hated the ending. watching a stupid rock float in space. I can careless if its an MMO, if i can find joy playing, then I'm fine with it, I'm no MMO whore i haven't spent $$$ to play an MMO, this will be my one and only. Not because of it being star wars but because I loved KOTOR 1 and 2 that much, and this will give me an excuse to explore it in a bigger way, and i cant wait.
I hope this game crash and burn really hard as EA Louse predicted... the industry needs a major flop so execs realize copying wow over and over and putting a franchise name on it doesn't mean business anymore.
@TheBlastmaster, You've just proved my point in your post, they will charge more for the sub to push the envelope of pricing. Just look at Medal of Honor on the pc. It cost $60 for the pc version, the single player is only 5 hours long and the mp has only eight maps. And EA plans on releasing a map pack that includes only two maps and a new game mode for $10. And yes, I put the blame for all of this at the feet of Activison. @ All of the people who will boycott the game, look this is a great game being made by Bioware, it will be different in that you will be able to play by yourself for most the time you play the game. or you can play with a lot of people. And there are so many stories and the like that it will take a long time to finish this game. Boycott it if you like but I will enjoy this game for a long time.
@supercdjones Actually, Kotor 2 was a good game despite it didn't get everything Obsidian wanted to put it in, the same could be said for the Sega CD versions of Lunar 1 & 2. The good thing with an mmo is a game can always receive updates as needed for anything, as it continues to grow.
I feel like boycotting too, since they didn't make KOTOR3. I refuse to waste time and money on MMOs. I was open to the possibility of trying this out, but I haven't been impressed by what I've seen so far. It looks like typical MMO crap, and I think it's a mistake to allow anyone to be a jedi instead of having it something you work for. And I bet that means jedi will be gimped so that other classes don't feel underpowered. I like how they claim that the game will be very story-driven and feel like a single-player game, but it doesn't change that the gameplay will probably suck and be typical tank, dps, healer gameplay. I know BIoware says it won't, but that's exactly what the demos that I watched show.
well hopefully the quality of games stays good. Seems like EA likes to push out junk lately. With good stuff here and there mixed in
There could at LEAST be a campaign version for consoles. Such BS for those whom made KOTOR a top selling console game..
Oh crap. Next thing you know, EA will be taking over LucasArts. Goodbye Battlefront 3, hello "The Sims: Galactic Adventures." :(
We asked them to make Knights 3. Not this MMO milking garbage and they didn't listen. Whether they care or not...I'm not buying. Period.
@Irshdrkwlf Yes Because we all remember how lucas Arts did such a great job giving Obsidian the time and effort they needed with KOTOR II
Hope the game turns out well. If this can't take a chunk of the market away from World of Warcraft then nothing can.
Makes sense to centralize production and distribution, I can imagine what we may have seen had communication broken down between EA and Lucas arts about where to distribute and how much...
Merchandising! Merchandising! ;) Old Republic the breakfast cereal... Old Republic the coloring book... Old Republic the flame thrower...
TO the people crying about "this game is an MMO, Q_Q" and "EA is the devil", well.....welcome to 3-4 years ago. We knew this was an MMO a long time ago, and EA is actually pretty good these days. You should worry about Activision, not EA
@ChrisChameleon. I don't quite understand your point about the pricing. Almost all games, especially MMOs, cost $60. And I'm sure the subscription fee won't exceed the standard $15. Yes, it may have cost them a lot to develop, but anything higher would be a setting a unpopular precedent for monthly fee. Making it cheaper and having millions of people able to afford to play is fat more profitable than charging double as much and having only 1/10th the subscribers.
@ keech, Yes we all realize this, that EA was involved with the MMO from the beginning. EA owns Bioware, and I've been a huge fan of theirs for a long time. Now all of you defending EA and voting down my earlier comment just wait and see what happens with them gaining full control of the financial side of this project. You'll all be whining about what they do then; I bet the cost to buy the game will be $60, plus who knows what they'll charge for the monthly subscription fee. Don't get me wrong, I'll be the first person to pre-order this game and I'll play it till kingdom come but they'll charge us a lot for this game because it's costing them $80 to $100 mil to make this. Will it be great? Yes, but it will cost a lot to buy it.
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