Star Wars MMO Director Reveals His Regret About The Game

The ambitious Star Wars MMO's director says he wishes the game didn't follow WoW's formula so closely.


BioWare veteran James Ohlen had been with the RPG studio since the beginning before leaving last month after 22 years. He's now given an exit interview of sorts to Game Informer that covers a lot of ground and is absolutely well worth a read. Go read it here.

One particularly interesting segment in the interview is about Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare's ambitious and expensive Star Wars MMO. Ohlen served as the game's director, and he shared one of his regrets about the project. He said he wished the game had more of its own sensibilities instead of following the genre-defining and enduringly popular World of Warcraft's path and formula so closely.

"With Star Wars: The Old Republic I wish that I pushed a little bit more toward making it kind of Knights of The Republic online rather than 'Star Wars World of Warcraft,'" he said. "A lot of the feedback that we got when Star Wars: The Old Republic got when it came out was, 'Hey, we wanted Knights of the Old Republic Online,' something that was more similar to that than a game that was more traditional in the World of Warcraft sense."

Ohlen directed Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) with Casey Hudson, so it's exciting to think about what he could have done with a KOTOR Online-type game. Whatever the case, Ohlen said understands that feedback, but remains proud of The Old Republic.

It's understandable that BioWare would want to follow World of Warcraft's formula, given that Blizzard's game has remained popular for more than a decade. By comparison, The Old Republic launched with a subscription-based model before adding a free-to-play option just 11 months after release.

Also in the interview, Ohlen said that while he would love to work on another Star Wars game someday, he's proud of KOTOR and The Old Republic.

In his post-BioWare life, Ohlen will collaborate with another former BioWare creative director, Jesse Sky, on the book Odyssey of the Dragonlords. In announcing his departure from BioWare, Ohlen said, "I need to take a break from the industry and work on something a little smaller and more personal."

BioWare's next big game is Anthem, which launches in February 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. All of GameSpot's previous written and video coverage can be found here.

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