LucasArts, EA, and BioWare announce Star Wars: The Old Republic
10.21.08 - 6:50 PM

RPG fans might remember when BioWare opened their Austin studio to begin work on an unnamed MMORPG. Later, it became known that the MMORPG was a collaboration between BioWare and LucasArts, fueling speculation that it would be a Star Wars MMORPG. Today, LucasArts revealed the title, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In an interview with GameSpot, Lead Designer James Ohlen, head writer Daniel Erickson, LucasArts executive producer Tom Nichols, and BioWare co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Greg Muzyka laid out the basic facets of the title.

Nichols mentioned that fans clamored for a sequel to the two Knights of the Old Republic titles and stated, "There are a lot of reasons why we decided not to do KotOR 3, and why we decided to do this as an MMO instead. The unique aspect of storytelling, which is really differentiated for this game, is something the KotOR franchise did very well, and we felt that just doing a single-player experience with a new KotOR really misses the opportunity to take this out to a much wider audience."

James Ohlen, who has been lead designer on a large portion of BioWare's titles, telling GameSpot about the sheer size of The Old Republic said, "This is a HUGE game. Just to give you an idea of how huge this game is, we were taking a look at it, and it has more story content than every single other BioWare game that's come before put together. That would mean Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights II, Knights of the Old Republic, Knights of the Old Republic II, Jade Empire, Mass Effect - and all the expansions."

The Old Republic takes place 300 years after the events of the first two Knights of the Old Republic titles, with the Sith Empire having returned and conquered a large swath of star systems. A tentative peace was founded, and players find themselves in a galaxy with a thawing cold war starting to erupt again into full-scale conflict. "Players get to come in and take the roles of heroes - or villains - at this pivotal moment where we're starting to go back into a big galactic war," Erickson told GameSpot.

Players will be able to join either faction, but joining either the Empire or the Republic doesn't make a character a member of the Light Side or the Dark Side of the force. "There's a lot more people than Sith and Jedi in the Empire and the Republic, so one of the things that became important to us is that we separate the idea of faction and good and evil," states Erickson. "Light Side and Dark Side is not the same as faction. In the original KotOR, you could be Dark Side, even though you worked for the Republic. Here, just because you're in the Empire, doesn't mean you have be Dark Side. You can play as the good guy in the bad place trying to do good things or the bad guy in the good place trying to do bad things."

For the full rundown of BioWare's next title, check out the full interview and article at GameSpot, which is also accompanied by video. No release date for The Old Republic has been set.

John McCarroll