Blizzard believes the eagerly anticipated EA/LucasArts MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, could be the biggest shot in the arm for the genre since World of Warcraft.
The firm’s co-founder and executive vice president Frank Pearce told MCV that one of the keys to World of Warcraft’s success was “building a universe around an already established franchise that was near and dear to the hearts of gamers”. And he acknowleged that the same argument applies, and then some, to Star Wars.
He offered: “This is a game that has an opportunity to grow the MMO market if done right and therefore is very important to the industry as a whole, not just EA.”
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime added: “It’s certainly a strong franchise and BioWare’s a great developer. We’ve talked about this internally and from our perspective we hope they make an enjoyable game because they’re going to bring in a lot of new players to the MMO genre, and those players’ idea of whether or not they like this type of game is going to be determined by that experience.”
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a co-production between LucasArts and EA. The latter recently took over extra publishing duties on the game, which is expected to release in September at retail, supported by an ongoing subscription model.
World of Warcraft was launched in 2004. Since then it has managed to build an audience of over 12m paying subscribers.