LucasArts and BioWare Unveil Star Wars Online Universe

Dennis Faas's picture

Millions of people log on to Blizzard's Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft every day. The game is a sensation around the world, and has arguably made Blizzard the king of PC gaming. However, WoW's popularity has demonstrated that there is room in the marketplace for rival franchises, and LucasArts recently revealed plans to bring people together online via the Star Wars universe.

With the media buzzing about at a recent San Francisco unveiling, LucasArts and BioWare (makers of the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series) announced Star Wars: The Old Republic, an ambitious project that promises to whisk gamers into the Star Wars universe like never before. Set a thousand years before the birth of Darth Vader, the game will place millions of gamers in a world that is both familiar and very new. Although droids run about and light sabres remain the weapon of choice, the onus is on players to create the big names, rather than relying on traditional heroes like Luke, Darth, and Yoda. (Source:

The setting is also a bit new: the Empire as we know it hasn't yet been built; instead, players are presented with the Galactic Republic and a very different Sith Empire. Although the Sith are typically associated as the "bad guys", very "good" players will be able to join their ranks in trying to steer their intentions to a different ideology. The variety of settings appears to be astounding; players will traverse Coruscant, Alderran, Utapau, and at least a half-dozen other very different worlds, each offering a unique gameplay experience.

Although the game was only recently announced, the unveiling was a surprise to few. The idea of a Star Wars-based MMORPG had been rumored since March of 2006, when BioWare opened a studio for a yet unnamed MMORPG project. Given BioWare's past in producing Knights of the Old Republic (to much critical acclaim), the news was not particularly startling.

With BioWare concentrating on other projects for now, the Old Republic may be many, many years away. Well, that may be an exaggeration -- gamers will probably just have to wait until 2010. More frustrating may be the apparent end to rumors of Knights of the Old Republic 3, BioWare's expected third edition of the popular single-player RPG franchise (for Microsoft's console) on which the new MMORPG is based. (Source:

Score one for the PC gamers.

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