Blizzard Exec “Wouldn’t Bet Against” BioWare

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Blizzard COO Paul Sams has some encouraging words for BioWare and its Star Wars-themed MMOG, saying he “wouldn’t bet against” their chances of turning it into a successful MMOG.

Sams has developed something of a habit of periodically reminding everyone how difficult it is to create and run an MMOG, and he remained true to form in a recent interview with Eurogamer. Discussing BioWare’s plans for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Sams said, “Running this type of game, building this type of game, maintaining this type of game is exceptionally difficult. And so while we know [BioWare] has some excellent developers and some excellent leaders, time will tell as to how they can react, and how they can prepare themselves to do all the other things… There are a lot more back-office things to running a game like this than you can ever imagine.”

Despite that, Sams thinks there’s a very good chance that BioWare will be able to translate its well-known single-player RPG magic to the massively-multiplayer online realm. “They have as good a chance as anybody. I wouldn’t bet against them, that’s for sure,” he said. “They are an excellent company and they’re utilizing a well-known franchise as the backbone for that game. I think the combination of those two things bodes well for them, just because not everybody can say [that].”

Knights of the Old Republic, a single-player RPG released in 2003, was a major hit that helped breathe new life into the Star Wars franchise’s videogame fortunes, and in the October announcement of the KOTOR-era MMOG, BioWare’s Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka promised more of the same. “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,” Zeschuk said.

And as Sams pointed out, BioWare has one advantage going into this that most other developers don’t, including Blizzard during the early days of World of Warcraft: The deep pockets of one of the industry’s most well-heeled publishers. “[BioWare] have the benefit of being with EA as relates to money,” he said, “And EA has a pocketbook that is fat.”

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