According to BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo in London, England, their MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will be released in the U.S. on December 20 and in Europe on December 22. Said Dr. Muzyka:
“This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated their lives to build this extraordinary game. We appreciate the patience from the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game’s release.”
The pair also announced the payment plan for the MMORPG. Each copy of the game comes with a 30-day free subscription. Players can choose one of three payment plans: $15 per month, $42 for three months, or $78 for six months. If players have pre-ordered the game, whether before the announcement or before the release date, they are eligible for early access to the game. However, the date for the early access has not been revealed as of yet.
Analysis: It’s been said that Blizzard’s decision to push Diablo III to next year may have contributed to the decision to release The Old Republic this year. However, I feel that’s not really the case, even if Diablo III does have some online elements. The release of Starcraft II, from this writer’s observations, didn’t really take away from any other market other than its own: that of the original Starcraft, which had a huge following in and of itself. It would make at least some logical sense that The Old Republic, being a fully-fledged MMORPG, would have nothing to worry about from Blizzard’s online co-op dungeon crawler.
One does have to wonder, however, whether the pushing forward of The Old Republic is what ultimately caused Mass Effect 3‘s delay to early next year, though it’s also more than possible that the games are being developed by totally separate entities within BioWare.
It’s still to be seen whether The Old Republic can stand up against the juggernauts of World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs, but people are confident that the game, with its traditional subscription-based account system, will garner at least two million players, even with the economy falling on hard times.