EA said the date might slip to 2012, while BioWare said that’s probably not true. Or is it?

While not quite reaching Duke Nukem Forever levels, it feels like The Old Republic has been in development for a long, long time in a galaxy far, far away. First announced in 2008 and likely in development before that, the high-profile MMO has slipped many release target dates. And while the rhetoric has placed a TOR launch by the end of 2011, publisher Electronic Arts said in an investor call recently that the company was prepared for it to be delayed until 2012. BioWare predictably gave lip service to fans by saying that it’s still shooting for the The Old Republic to come out this year, but the language used seems to suggest that they don’t have a clue when testing will be complete.

EA is mum even on when they plan to announce a TOR release date. “In terms of timing we haven’t given a street date yet,” EA’s chief financial officer said on the investor’s call. “We won’t do so for some time, possibly at our next upcoming earnings call towards the end of October.”

The CFO suggested that the company considered a delay. “We did hold out a slight possibility that it could slip to our March quarter. And the factors that would cause a slip is, for example, us not being completely satisfied with the scalability testing, and wanting to tune it for several extra weeks.”

BioWare’s response basically encouraged people to stop listening in on investor conference calls. “Investor calls and conferences are for investors. They are not meant for the general public,” BioWare’s community manager Stephen Reid wrote in a statement on the official Old Republic forums.

No firm promise of a delay or even that we will get a date soon was given, said Reid. “[The CFO] didn’t promise that you would get a release date announcement in September, he isn’t promising a release date before the next earnings call. It could happen, but it’s not a promise.”

Reid continued to say that the schedule is in flux at the moment and BioWare is still shooting for the Holiday 2011 window, but that hey, shit happens. “As with any large and complex game project, there’s always the possibility of slippage. Always. That is why we have always said we’re aiming for that window, because it’s possible that unforeseen issues may push the date,” he said, the emphasis his.

He also criticized anyone who took the CFO’s words of a possible delay as verifiable truth that TOR isn’t coming out until 2015. “Try not to assume the sky is falling every time an investor asks a question and our CFO does his job, which is to let them know about every possibility.”

Source: MCV and SWTOR forums

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