Oct 30, 2008

SWTOR's Art Director weighs in on the Old Republic's look - Massively

SWTOR's Art Director weighs in on the Old Republic's look - Massively

The announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic raised more questions than it answered, but we've slowly gotten a better sense of the game's shape over the last week. Ten Ton Hammer adds to this picture with their own coverage from the event, chatting with the game's Art Director Jeff Dobson about how the SWTOR look has shaped up. Dobson's talk, like much over the information out of last week, deals primarily with the high-level concepts BioWare is dealing with in this stage of development.

Dobson reaffirms the company's commitment to making the game work - and look good - on as many PCs as possible. Said the Director, "It's much more important that I can play my MMO on my bad ass desktop machine and my old clunky machine and my laptop. I think that's really important, because gamers should be able to play on any of their computers." Check out the full interview at Tent Ton Hammer for more on that, plus character customization hints and background on those oversized lightsabers.

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Everything we know about Star Wars: The Old Republic - Massivelys

Everything we know about Star Wars: The Old Republic - Massivelys

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The full Old Republic announcement event in video format - Massively

The full Old Republic announcement event in video format - Massively

"The Videogaming247 site has a fantastic piece of footage up for your viewing enjoyment today: the full Star Wars: The Old Republic announcement event. Check it out to watch BioWare's Ray and Greg introduce SWTOR to the audience of press people at the LucasArts campus. To be honest if you've been following our coverage here on Massively you've already seen most of this in our The Old Republic Unveiled series. "

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SOE responds to the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic - Massively

SOE responds to the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic - Massively

"Last week's announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic has a lot of players of a completely different game thinking out loud to themselves. Star Wars Galaxies, the much-troubled SOE title still very much in operation, has a tight-knit and passionate playerbase. They have lots of questions, and every right to understand what's coming down the pipe for them now that The Old Republic has been unveiled. We were curious ourselves, and got in touch with SOE CEO John Smedley to talk about what BioWare's announcement means for the Star Wars Galaxies title."

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Oct 27, 2008

Exclusive SWTOR Art Interview - Tweaking the Lightsabers | Ten Ton Hammer

Exclusive SWTOR Art Interview - Tweaking the Lightsabers | Ten Ton Hammer

Lightsabers look REALLY big in the screenshots...

We're actually still tweaking that. That said, we do want the weapons to feel just a little bit oversized. We're always trying to think about that "show off" factor. We definitely don't want to make them too small and miss out on that show-off factor.

For those that are concerned about the screenshots, I think the lightsabers look bigger in those pictures than they actually are. But without a doubt we want to have that "oversized" weapon feel in the game for the guns and the lightsabers both. By making the weapons a little bit oversized, it makes you feel cool to have that giant gun in your hands.

However, I do think the size needs a bit of tweaking from what you see in the screenshots.

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Original source : http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/47423...

Oct 25, 2008

IGN: Command Prompt Podcast, Episode 22

IGN: Command Prompt Podcast, Episode 22

US, October 22, 2008 - Yes, we're aware that we're a day late with the podcast this week. That's because the industry's worst kept secret was officially announced yesterday, and Steve had the scoop on it. A couple of weeks ago, he flew out to BioWare Austin to get the very first look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, and we kicked off three days of coverage on Tuesday. As you'd imagine, we talk a lot about Star Wars, and we answer a lot of reader questions about what we do and do not know.

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Gamespot video feature : Star Wars: The Old Republic Revealed

After years of secrecy, LucasArts opens the book on its ambitious second MMORPG; BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk explain why it's a bigger project than all their previous projects combined.

Oct 23, 2008

The Old Republic Unveiled: Overview, space combat, and Star Wars Galaxies - Massively

The Old Republic Unveiled: Overview, space combat, and Star Wars Galaxies - Massively

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GameSpy: LucasArts Press Conference

GameSpy: LucasArts Press Conference

LucasArts and BioWare summon the press to announce ... what ?
By GameSpy Staff | Oct. 21, 2008

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Post-announcement article

Massively - Oct 23rd 2008 :
The Old Republic Unveiled: Overview, space combat, and Star Wars Galaxies
Quote : "Massively and the Joystiq network had a man on the ground at Tuesday's unveiling of Star Wars: The Old Republic. We sorted the chaff from the wheat, and now we are prepared to offer up to you a series of post outlining everything there is to know about BioWare's newest game. To start with, we have a high level overview to kick us off. Join us below the cut to get some insider information on why BioWare is making the game, the four pillars of BioWare storytelling, what little they can tell us about space combat and vehicles, and .. perhaps most interesting ... an affirmation of LucasArts's commitment to Star Wars Galaxies. "

GameSpy - Oct 21st 2008 :
LucasArts Press Conference
Quote : "We're currently sitting in the large theater at LucasArts' Bay Area studios, where we've been promised the announcement of a game that's been rumored for a long time. Being developed by BioWare, we've long expected a new title in the Knights of the Old Republic universe, but exactly what form it will take... we're about to find out."

Tentonhammer.com -
Exclusive SWTOR Design Q&A - Lightsabers, The Force, and Space Combat
What kind of level cap do you have in mind?

James Ohlen: We are going to have a level based system, and we are going to have a level cap, When we know what that is we'll share it with you.

Gordon Walton: There are a lot of thing that we aren't going to be able to share with you simply because they're still in development. BioWare games go through a lot of iteration before we ever settle on something.

We'd rather give you real information than blow smoke up your....whatever. When we share something with the community, we've played through that part of the game enough that we're confident that it's going to be in the final game.

We're really, really committed to no overhyping the game.

Rich Vogel: It's BioWare and it's Star Wars. Overhyping the game could be very easily done. We want to make sure we meet the expectations of the game.

Oct 22, 2008

Star Wars - The Old Republic : official press release


OCTOBER 21, SAN FRANCISCO – LucasArts and BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), today announced the development of Star Wars®: The Old Republic™, a story-driven massively multiplayer online PC game set in the timeframe of the Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™ franchise. Star Wars: The Old Republic, being developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts, represents an innovative approach to interactive entertainment, featuring immersive storytelling, dynamic combat and intelligent companion characters.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, players will explore an age thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader when war between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy. Players can choose to play as Jedi, Sith, or a variety of other classic Star Wars roles, defining their personal story and determining their path down the light or dark side of the Force. Along the way, players will befriend courageous companions who will fight at their side or possibly betray them, based on the players’ actions. Players can also choose to team up with friends to battle enemies and overcome incredible challenges using dynamic Star Wars combat.

"Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the most critically acclaimed Star Wars game in LucasArts history and a preeminent example of our company’s interactive storytelling heritage," said Darrell Rodriguez, President of LucasArts. "For a long time, we’ve long wanted to return to the franchise in a grand way, and we felt that the best setting for it was an online world that would allow millions of people to participate in the experience together. We knew that the developer capable of working with us to deliver an engrossing story with a fully-realized online world was BioWare."

"Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars - combat, exploration and character progression," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe."

Added Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder and Vice President Development Operations, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts Inc., "Star Wars: The Old Republic is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, a timeframe that is completely unexplored in the lore. BioWare has been able to add to the Star Wars history in developing the game’s story and has created an overarching narrative that players can enjoy, regardless of their play style. Our goal is to offer players an emotionally rewarding experience that combines the traditional elements of MMO gameplay with innovations in story and character development."

Additional details on Star Wars: The Old Republic features, gameplay and release date will be announced at a later time. For more information about Star Wars: The Old Republic and to sign up for future product updates, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com.


About LucasArts
LucasArts, a Lucasfilm Ltd. company, is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide for video game console systems, computers and the Internet. Based in San Francisco, Calif., as well as on the Internet at www.lucasarts.com, LucasArts was created in 1982 by George Lucas to provide an interactive element to his vision of a state-of-the-art, multifaceted entertainment company.

About BioWare
BioWare develops computer, console, handheld and online video games focused on rich stories and memorable characters. Since 1995, BioWare has created some of the world's best-selling titles including the award-winning Baldur's Gate™ and Neverwinter Nights™ series, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™. Original BioWare-created IPs include Jade Empire™ and the 2007 Game of the Year, Mass Effect™. With studios in Edmonton, Canada, and Austin, Texas, BioWare is hard at work on the epic fantasy RPG, Dragon Age™: Origins. In 2008, BioWare was acquired by the world’s leading electronic entertainment publisher, Electronic Arts. For more information on BioWare, visit www.bioware.com.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS™, EA™, EA SPORTS Freestyle™ and POGO™. In fiscal 2008, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.67 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

BioWare, Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Jade Empire are trademarks or registered trademarks owned by EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. in the U.S. and/or other countries. EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Freestyle and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Source : http://www.swtor.com

Oct 20, 2008

Bioware launches swtor.bioware.com

The new Star Wars MMO should be officialy announced tomorrow by Bioware and LucasArts.

The name of the game should be Star Wars - The Old Republic, as suggested by the address of the website recently opened by Bioware, swtor.bioware.com (which is currently a blank page, but should not remain long).

Oct 7, 2008

"The wait is over" : LucasArts and Bioware to unveil mystery project October 21

From a GameSpy article : KotOR MMO Announcement Soon?
GameSpy received an upcoming media invitation today from LucasArts and BioWare which is more than likely going to be the official unveiling of the long-rumored Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic-based MMORPG. Back in July, EA's CEO John Riccitiello confirmed that both companies were working on an MMO title based on the successful Knights of the Old Republic franchise.

The invite flyer can be seen below, stating, "The Wait is OVER" on the front and "the official unveiling of the game that's been rumored about for years" on the back.

GameSpy will certainly be in attendance, so keep October 21 in the back of your minds and remember to come back to get the full scoop on this not-so-mysterious mega announcement.

Oct 3, 2008

Star Wars KOTOR MMO announced soon !

From a CVG article :
KOTOR MMO to be revealed soon
Friday 3-Oct-2008 4:41 PM
BioWare's online Star Wars game to be unveiled in a matter of weeks

BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic MMO game is set to be 'officially' unveiled later this month, CVG has learnt.

The long-awaited online Star Wars - perhaps the games industry's worst kept secret - is being developed by BioWare Austin, which has been tinkering away behind the scenes on the title for over two years.

Officially the company hasn't admitted to any sort of Star Wars link with its MMO, but EA boss John Riccitiello let slip earlier this year that the RPG developer was in fact working on the online KOTOR, claiming that it is "quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry."

But it looks like the game won't (officially at least) be a secret for long. LucasArts and BioWare look set to lift the lid on a KOTOR MMO within the next 30 days.

Backing up all this is the strongest confirmation yet (other than EA's boss saying it's in the works, of course) from UK newspaper, The Daily Star, of all places.

A column that appeared last Saturday reports that the rag is soon off to San Francisco to "file an exclusive report on the game", after stating that BioWare is working on "a MMO of Knights of the Old Republic".

Look for more in the coming weeks then.

Sep 24, 2008

Bioware talks about MMO design and how endgame should be dealt with

From a GameDeveloper article : "AGDC: BioWare's Schubert On Why The MMO Endgame Matters"
Damion Schubert, lead combat designer for BioWare Austin, argues that your endgame – what happens when MMO players have finished all the lower level quests and “made it” in the game universe – realizes the true potential of MMOs.

“People talk about massively multiplayer online games – whenever they gravitate to one of these games, they always gravitate to one of the big ideas,” says Schubert. “What would happen if you could burn down another guild? What would happen if you had a boss that needed 25 people to kill? What if you had a battle that was 100 ships versus 100 ships?”

“The most important thing about your endgame, about elder gameplay, is that it’s one of the few things in your games that’s actually massive. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about here.”

“Whenever you’re talking about things with your producers, (the endgame) looks like something to cut,” he says, “because maybe nobody will even get to that level. I think a lot of producers underestimate what happens at the endgame.”

It’s commonly said that in World of Warcraft, the game starts at level 70. That’s what Elder gameplay is all about. “It represents the third act of the series,” says Schubert. “You’re taking whatever you built inside the gameplay experience, and you’re applying it to something that’s interesting and challenging - you’re at the apex of your character’s development.”

Schubert says that most MMOs are pretty easy, most of the time. “It’s like popping bubblewrap. It’s low-investment activities.”

The endgame, he says, often represents the game's true challenge.

Sense Of History

History, legacy, and lore is important to players, Schubert says, but not necessarily the history of the game world. More specifically, he means the social history of the game. "When my raiding guild killed [a certain boss] in World of Warcraft, we were the first to do it, and a cutscene was going to be activated, and by the time we went to turn in the quest, there were 250-300 people just standing around waiting for us to turn in the quest. People feel like they want to be part of that history,” Schubert maintains.

Aside from the fact that the endgame represents the true massiveness of an MMO, “The other most important thing about elder gameplay is that it occupies the time, and keeps the investment, of your most devoted customers. If we start with the maxim that it costs 10 times as much to get a new player as it does to keep an existing player, which is a pretty standard marketing maxim,” then you should cater to those people, he says. They’re important people to the game, and they need something to do.

Territorial Control

One major endgame scenario is territorial control, which is popular because it’s cheaper, both for players and designers.

“One important thing in territorial games is respawn and attrition,” says Schubtert. “How long does it take for a player to get back to the fight?” Designers need to make it so that the balance can change properly such that through attrition someone can lose their respawn points or graveyards. You also don’t want to have players spending the majority of their time running back to the battle.

“You don’t have to have a political map,” he says, “but if you don’t, you’re stupid. The thing is a newbie can see these maps, and understand what’s happening.”

Looking at WWII online, you can see how territory changes hands from day to day on the game’s front page. “This sells your endgame. It makes people want to come to it, and acts as advertising.”

Six Rules Of Endgame

Schubert outlined his six overarching endgame rules as such:

1 - Player versus player endgames always excite the imagination more than player versus environment endgames.
2 - Players aren’t as hardcore as they think they are.
3 - 5% of your population can destroy the other 95%.
4 - Teamwork and numbers dominate.
5 - Fairness matters more than in PVE.
6 - Losing repeatedly sucks.

“If your endgame is PVP, you need to think about how PVP is introduced to characters at the low levels,” Schubert cautions. “If players decide along the way to the endgame that they don’t like your PVP, they will decide the endgame is not for them.” Argues that you should protect players more at the lower level, so they have a positive PVP experience.

“People don’t pay money to suck. People do not want to pay $15 a month to be the Washington Generals.” This is something he learned when making Shadowbane – “the winners now had lots of resources and the city could thrive, and the losers had nothing. So what happened is eventually the losers stopped logging on, and the winners eventually had nothing to fight.”

“We had one server where one guild was so in control, that they banned a player class so they’d have somebody to fight,” said Schubert. Players woke up in the morning and found that they were “wanted.”

The solution, he says, is to be able to hit a button, in the game (so to speak) to indicate that one group of players have won, and that they can begin again.

Raid Encounters – PVE

“My experience with raids is mostly through playing,” Schubert admits, “so this is all theoretical mumbo jumbo, but I look for patterns.”

Many claim that only a very small percentage of WoW players raid, but research found that “more than half of the level 70 characters have a piece of raid loot on their character. When they reach level 70, they don’t want to stop, and they at least give raiding a try.”

A raid encounter is “a Mario boss,” he says, “only with 25-40 people.” The puzzle is designed for that amount of people. With Mario, there are a number of things he can do, and you know what those are. “The problem with raid encounters is you don’t know what everyone can do.” You try to design raid encounters that require a mix, but you don’t know who’s going to show up. Players have certain tools, but not everyone has everything.

In a game like Everquest 2, a boss can manipulate players via the player’s magic pool, because everyone has it. Positioning is another common element. “The reason positioning is so heavily used,” he says, “is that it’s a tool everybody has. Everybody can determine a position.”

Casual players are an important consideration as well. “How many people can die in your fight before the whole thing falls apart is directly correlated to how casual-friendly that game is. Husbands, wives, girlfriends, are all bringing more casual people,” says Schubert.

WoW is approachable in this way, but if only one person has to die in order to fail a raid, it’s less likely you’ll bring those casuals, and it’ll be more hardcore oriented. This has difficult social implications.

Considerations When Designing Endgames

It should be content-heavy, while watching for overpowered classes. Repetition is a concern - how many times do people have to kill the same boss? “If you have a really really really long raid dungeon, players are going to kill the first boss a whole lot more than the last boss,” Schubert advises, “so you should consider how you reward them for that.”

The bench – if you need 25 to raid, you need to have 35 people in case your main tank is sick or you lose your healer. But this also means you have a lot of people sitting around doing nothing – “Most people aren’t going to sit on the bench forever,” Schubert says. “This creates real politics that is a headache for your guildmaster to manage.”

Considerations For Endgame Physicality

Technology – can your server handle 100 people versus 100 people?

How do you test it? “In Shadowbane, we redid our siege system a month and a half before it went live,” Schubert says. “We basically had one iteration of our game, played for a month and a half before we went live. Is that enough time to determine whether a game is balanced, fair, and stable? From experience, I can tell you no, no, and no.”

Fragility – if the endgame depends on a guild, and there are key players, the guild may be crippled when they lose that player.

Critical mass – what happens if your game doesn’t get enough people for it to take off? Or more likely, what happens if you lose people, and you don’t have enough for a raid or an endgame?

Interface – endgame interfaces tend to look much less like the interface of a lower level game. You can’t play endgame of World of Warcraft with the newbie interface.

Homework – “every time you add a consumable – a potion, or a stim-pack – you have to think about how you’re creating homework players will see as necessary before they get into that raid,” says Schubert. Players will be grinding to get things they think they need for the raid.

Guild management – managing a guild is difficult and fiddly, says Schubert. “For the love of god, will someone please design an MMO that gives these guys the tools they need?”

Matchmaking – “if you can get people who are likeminded together, your endgame is going to be stickier.”

Final Words

“Do massively multiplayer games need an endgame?” poses Schubert. “I argue yes. Massive is your selling proposition, and the endgame does that. That’s the stuff that captures the imagination.”

> source

Sep 21, 2008

IGN : "Top 10 Things We Want in a KOTOR MMO"

From a IGN article :
While it hasn't been officially announced yet, there's wide speculation that BioWare, the famed developer of many single-player role-playing games, is working on a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic universe. EA CEO John Riccitello confirmed as much at E3, but there had been no shortage of whispers and rumors prior to that.

If you're not familiar with the KOTOR universe, it's set thousands of years before the events seen in the Star Wars movies. This is basically the ancient history of Star Wars, but it still features Jedi Knights, Sith Lords, and lightsabers.

We're huge fans of the first two KOTOR games, which were single-player role-playing games. So we decided to put together a list of the 10 things that we'd like to see in a KOTOR MMO.

Their list :

1. A good story
2. Darth Revan
3. PvP gameplay
4. Not a jedi
5. Character differentiation
6. Real role-playing
7. Your Spore creature
8. Space combat
9. Social space travel
10. Player-Run Territories/Stations/Planets

> Read the full article here.

Aug 6, 2008

Investment analysis : "EA may climb to the top of the MMO game market"

From a Seeking Alpha article :
However, EA may climb to the top of the MMO game market with the acquisition of VG Holdings, the parent company of game developer BioWare and Pandemic Studios. Although no official press released has been made, BioWare is developing a MMO based in the Star Wars universe that is based on the Knights of the Old Republic video game series. A video game that has requires a monthly fee to play on top of a initial $50 investment plus any future expansion packs based on an intellectual property as popular as Star Wars will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue by itself.

Aug 5, 2008

LucasArts recruiting MMO tester(s)

From Computerandvideogame.com :
"LucasArts has advertised for a QA Online Tester working out of the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco, which just confuses the heck out of us.

John Riccitiello confirmed back in July that a KOTOR MMO was on the cards, but so far no official word from either LucasArts or BioWare has emerged.

But BioWare - presumably the lead developer on the project - is making the game in Austin, Texas.

The job application continues to confuse. It calls for the applicant to "to test MMO games for bugs" and "Test the assigned LucasArts games for defects." MMO Games? Plural?

Whatever is going on in the house of Lucas, it's got us beat."

Jul 31, 2008

How to deal with Jedi in the new Star Wars MMO ?

Since the almost official confirmation of Bioware's MMO projet being a Star Wars Old Republic MMO, debates have started in various places about how the developers should deal with the Jedi issue. The way Jedi were implemented in Star Wars Galaxies brought a lot of problems. What can Bioware do to prevent playable Jedi from ruining the game experience ?

Here are some articles about this :

Jul 27, 2008

Blend Games : KOTOR online confirmed

From a Blend Games article :

You may remember that Lucas Arts and BioWare launched a co-branded website in October and announced they were making an "interactive entertainment product" together. Well, it turns out it's not just any interactive entertainment product - it's a massive multiplayer online game based on the Knights of the Old Republic single player RPG's.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello confirmed the much-rumored KOTOR MMO in an interview with Portfolio.com at E3 yesterday. He also said the project would be "quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it." It's hard to argue with that point given how huge of a franchise Star Wars is. The built-in fan base gives it a good chance of grabbing a lot of customers who haven't even played an MMO before.

Plus there's already been a Star Wars MMO, Star Wars Galaxies, which BioWare and Lucas Arts can use as a sort of case study when they're determining how certain aspects of the Star Wars mythos will translate into gameplay. The biggest issue, something Galaxies struggled with, is determining who's going to be allowed to be Jedi and how powerful will they be compared to non-Force sensitive characters in this game. The KOTOR series was set during the Old Republic when the Jedi were all over the damn place. However, most of them get killed by the Sith between the first and second games in the series. Assuming they set the MMO after the second game, maybe they'll have the Jedi Order in a state of rebuilding. It's safe to say they'll let someone play a Jedi because lightsabers are just too damn cool to only be wielded by NPC's. Maybe they'll screw with everyone's heads by making Jedi the designated healing/buffing class like Paladins in World of Warcraft.

Even though I was a big fan of the first two KOTOR games, I'm still not sure what I think about the idea of a KOTOR MMO. A single player RPG is a completely different experience than an MMO. Part of the appeal of the single player KOTOR games was that I felt like I was starring in my own little Star Wars movie. The biggest strength was its central storyline, which is the very thing MMO's tend to push off into the background in favor of grinding. My tune will likely change once I get some actual details on the game and BioWare's done enough to earn the benefit of the doubt but right now I just keep imagining a Jedi Master sending his Padawan off into the woods to kill 10 boars and bring back their snouts.

> Source

EA confirms new Star Wars MMO

Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello :
"We've got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development," said Riccitiello. The first title, based on the Warhammer property, will launch soon. "And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about -- in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it."

Does Riccitiello mean the oft rumored Knights of the Old Republic Online? "Yes," he said.
> Source : EA to Play in Knights of the Old Republic

LucasFilm Files New Star Wars Trademarks

From a Kotaku article :
The house that Lucas built has filed for a handful of new trademarks, all Star Wars related, all potentially new names for the oft-rumored Knights of the Old Republic 3, the one that continues to pop up as a new BioWare developed MMO. LucasFilm recently filed trademark applications for Star Wars The Old Republic, The Old Republic, Star Wars Sagas and Star Wars Legends, all of are described as "video game software" and "entertainment services provided on-line by means of global and local area networks."

While that certainly sounds like a new Star Wars MMO and it all matches up nicely with what we've heard from former LucasArts employees, we'll call it rumor for now.

> Source

LucasFilms registers "Star Wars The Old Republic" mark

Jun 20, 2008

Bioware Austin MMO slated for 2010 or 2011

From a TVG article
EA has seemingly admitted involvement in BioWare's mystery MMO project (now strongly believed to be a KOTOR 3 MMO), which suggests that both LucasArts and EA will pool their efforts in publishing the highly anticipated MMO project from the Austin, Texas based developer.

At a recent stock conference with investors, EA's CEO John Riccitello was referring to a list of 15 new intellectual properties in the publisher's pipeline when he let this slip:

"It's giving us strong new entries in online. For example, we're funding the MMO in Austin, which is helping us a lot." He went on to state that the MMO is slated for fiscal 2010/11 (i.e. between April 1st 2010 and March 31st 2011).

We've done a lot of head scratching and can't think of any other MMO projects that he might be referring to in Austin, or any other EA studios in that part of Texas other than BioWare.

It's now becoming one of the worst kept secrets in gaming that BioWare's MMO project is based on the Knights of the Old Republic universe. When over 100 hundred LucasArts staff were made redundant earlier this month, whistle blowers leaked a number of unannounced projects under the LucasArts umbrella, one of which was a KOTOR 3 MMO under development at BioWare.

LucasArts, EA, and BioWare all working on a KOTOR MMO together - who'da thunk it?

Jun 10, 2008

Former LucasArts employee : KOTOR 3 will be a MMO

From a Kotaku article :
One former employee has told us not only how he was immediately sacked after six years of service, but how wide-ranging the layoffs appear to be, and the impact they'll supposedly have on many of Lucasart's upcoming projects. Some of them as-yet-unannounced. Projects like KOTOR 3, a Wii Star Wars title and the non-Lego Indiana Jones game.


Some of the titles they report Lucasarts apparently have in this stacked pipeline, whether as publisher or developer, include:

- KOTOR 3 (They say it's an MMO: most likely a joint project between Lucasarts and BioWare)
- Battlefront 3 (which we've already heard about)
- "The Official Indiana Jones" game (probably this one)
- "another LEGO game based on the Indy universe"
- "a lightsaber game for the wii (sorry, no lightsaber peripherals)"

Related : LucasArts Leak Shows KOTOR 3 As MMO News

Jun 7, 2008

Rumor over the rumor : KOTOR MMO cancelled ?

From a Kotaku article :
We've continued to receive e-mails throughout the day from folks who it seems are now formerly in the employ of Lucasarts, telling us this and that about the circumstances behind their departure from the company. But few are as revealing as one we were sent earlier this evening. One former employee has told us not only how he was immediately sacked after six years of service, but how wide-ranging the layoffs appear to be, and the impact they'll supposedly have on many of Lucasart's upcoming projects. Some of them as-yet-unannounced. Projects like KOTOR 3, a Wii Star Wars title and the non-Lego Indiana Jones game.

The source tells us that the sackings are spread across the company, and involve (as we were told earlier) everyone from testers to head producers. They also re-iterate earlier reports that the number of staff affected is around 100, and that the cull actually began on Wednesday, and continued through into Thursday.

Most interesting, however, is the information they provide on how the layoffs leave the company severely short-staffed as they approach a packed development schedule, one which it appears may be increasingly outsourced. Some of the titles they report Lucasarts apparently have in this stacked pipeline, whether as publisher or developer, include:

- KOTOR 3 (They say it's an MMO: most likely a joint project between Lucasarts and BioWare)
- Battlefront 3 (which we've already heard about)
- "The Official Indiana Jones" game (probably this one)
- "another LEGO game based on the Indy universe"
- "a lightsaber game for the wii (sorry, no lightsaber peripherals)"

Two internally-developed games apparently far enough along to be unaffected by the sackings are The Force Unleashed (which they say has already "passed approval with SCEA and is ready to ship") and Fracture, which they say is described by team members as "an absolute piece of garbage".

As the testimony of a freshly-sacked employee, take that appraisal of Fracture with a grain of salt. And as the testimony of a freshly-sacked employee, don't expect Lucasarts or BioWare to go commenting on things like KOTOR3 or a Wii lightsaber game anytime soon. But it's certainly further food for thought.


May 20, 2008

"The best of breed of MMO features, and some impactful innovations"

From a Gamasutra interview of Bioware CEO Ray Muzyka
Talking to Gamasutra as part of a new feature on life at BioWare following its acquisition by Electronic Arts, founder and CEO Ray Muzyka has said its highly classified MMO project will bring as much polish and quality as Blizzard's WoW, but will innovate on a number of fronts.

BioWare's Austin studio was founded in March of 2006, and since that time has been working on a 'mystery project' that many have speculated could be Star Wars related. While Muzyka still left the project undetailed, he did say of the title:

It's going to feel like a BioWare game. It's going to have the best of breed of MMO features, and some new innovations that when we reveal them, hopefully they'll be impactful for people.

Speaking on Blizzard's massively successful World of Warcraft, and of the lack of equitable competition that's followed, Muzyka added:

It's not a slight at all on Blizzard. I think they've done a great job. But the fact that people want to play that kind of game is an opportunity to really deliver that level of polish and quality, and innovate in a few key areas, while they continue to innovate in a few key areas, too.



May 17, 2008

Background (from the KOTOR Online Wiki)

Last update : 20th october 2008
Copied from the KotOR Oline Wiki
Although not officially announced yet, several reports lead us to believe that Star Wars: KotOR Online may be in development. If you've got anything new to report please join us and edit this page or hop over to the forums and post it there.


  • BioWare and LucasArts issued a press release announcing the two are collaborating on a "ground-breaking interactive entertainment product." The release promises more information is coming at a "later date," though everything point to the long-hinted-at Star Wars MMO [Source]
  • On March 5, 2007, Chris Priestly of Bioware debunked rumors that BioWare is working on a third installment of the KotOR single players series. Quote: How about I prove you wrong by saying that we are not working on KotOR 3 and have no plans to start? It may be a rumor or w hope or w wish or whatever, but we are not currently working on KotOR 3 and we have no plans to work on KotPR 3 at this (or any afaik) time. [Source]
  • The Star Wars Galaxies development team is located in Austin, as well, and BioWare confirmed almost a year ago an unspecified number of SOE employees migrated to BioWare when they moved into the area. The studio is headed by MMORPG industry veterans Gordon Walton and Richard Vogel. Gordon Waltin worked on Star Wars Galaxies. [Source]
  • A .pdf file from the EA acquisition listing all the past and future games from Bioware - notice the New MMO doesn’t have Owned IP checked - Meaning it is indeed a licensed IP [Source]
  • July 12, 2008, Kotaku reports that LucasFilm has recently filed trademark applications for Star Wars The Old Republic, The Old Republic, Star Wars Sagas and Star Wars Legends, all of which are described as "video game software" and "entertainment services provided on-line by means of global and local area networks."
  • July 17th, 2008, BioWare is slated to announce a new title at E3 2008. - [Source]
  • July 12, 2008, John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, confirms in an interview with that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is indeed getting a massively multiplayer online iteration: An article on [portfolio.com] quotes Riccitiello as saying, "... the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about -- in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it." When directly asked if this was confirmation of Knights of the Old Republic Online, the executive said simply, "yes".
  • July 3, 2008, Lucasfilm LTD submits a copyright application to the US patent office for: "Star Wars: The Old Republic". The "goods and or services" section outlines just what will be entailed in the project which clearly defines it as an MMO. [Copyright Application]
  • October 6, 2008, According to an invitation sent out to media outlets including Gamasutra, LucasArts' and BioWare's long-awaited, much-discussed joint development project will be revealed to the press October 21, 2008 [Source]


  • A source close to BioWare confirmed that the studio’s upcoming MMO will be centered around the Star Wars universe [Source]
  • Analysts claim it is a Star Wars MMO - [Source]
    • Responding to EA's acquisition of BioWare/Pandemic, analysts from Citi, Oppenheimer, Lazard, and Wedbush Morgan have all reacted positively, saying the move was well worth the $860 million price, and speculating Bioware's "mystery MMO" will be Star Wars themed, calling it a "strong positive" for EA.
    • Citi's Brent Thill noted that the "industry is buzzing over BioWare's mystery MMO," predicting, "based on past development work" that Bioware is quietly working on the Star Wars MMO. As said, Thill calls the potential of the title a "strong positive" for the publisher, and one that "bolsters [its] MMO exposure."
  • July, 21, 2007, A Star Wars Galaxies player takes an official survey about a MMO with the title "Star Wars: The Old Republic". He immediately posts all of the details on Ahazi.org. He reposts the information on July, 20, 2008 on [This Blog].


  • On August 8, 2006 BioWare announces the selection of Simutronic's HeroEngine for its upcoming MMO
  • On June 11, 2007 BioWare selects StreamBase's Stream Processing Engine for its next-generation MMO
  • On July 19, 2007 BioWare announces a licensing deal for Perpetual Entertainment's Online Technology Platform for use in BioWare's upcoming MMO
  • On December 12, 2007 Audio solution provider Audiokinetic has announced that Mass Effect developer BioWare's Austin development studio is using Audiokinetic's Wwise audio solution in the development of its upcoming MMO title.

We're going to have to wait and see...

From a TVG interview of Adam Kahn, the Senior PR Manager at LucasArts :
TVG: That LucasArts/BioWare project certainly sounds interesting. Can you tell us whether that's related to Star Wars at all?

AK : Can't.

TVG: And it's not related to the BioWare MMO project at all?

AK : You're going to have to wait and see on that one.

May 8, 2008

Bioware wants to innovate in MMOs (Eurogamer.net - April 2008)

From an Eurogamer.net article :
Speaking to Eurogamer, Bioware chief Ray Muzyka has said that the EA studio intends to bring innovation to massively multiplayer gaming with its first MMO.

"We want to be innovators in the space," he said. "We're trying to bring some fresh stuff to the mix. We still have great reverence for a lot the great games, but we're also trying to add some new things."

Details of the game, currently in development at Bioware's Austin studio, remain a closely-guarded secret. Initial rumours that it might be a Star Wars MMO for LucasArts have lost momentum in recent months.

However, Muzyka did provide some hints as to what form the game will take, suggesting that it will concentrate on the strengths his company is known for, with particular focus on enhancing the narrative and character development side of massively multiplayer RPGs.

"Like all Bioware games, we're focusing on story, customisation, exploration, combat... I think it would be really exciting to be able to play a game which has character depth and interaction and story in a way that works within social settings."

Muzyka noted that Bioware has wanted to move into MMOs for a very long time, but only recently felt the time was right. "We didn't go into it lightly," he said. "It's the kind of thing that took us years and years - we wanted to do one for ten or fifteen years. Before they were even called MMOs."
Source : Bioware wants to innovate in MMOs - Eurogamer - April 28th 2008

Feb 6, 2008

Surfer Girl : next Star Wars MMO not being developed by SOE

From a Surfer Girl article :
Next year's Star Wars MMO, not being developed by Sony Online Entertainment, will launch simultaneously for PC and consoles alongside the debut of the first Star Wars TV series in fall 2009 (or 2010 or whenever), of which the storylines of the game will tie into. Those Artistic Lucases already have a second online title planned that I've heard has nothing to do with Star Wars.

> Source : http://softrockhallelujah.blogspot.com/2008/02/hogtown.html