Star Wars: The Old Republic, the upcoming MMOG set in the Knights of the Old Republic era of the Star Wars universe, is one of the most anticipated games in recent memory, leveraging both the Star Wars name and the reputation of developer BioWare for creating top-notch, epic RPGs. All but lost in the hullabaloo of the game’s recent unveiling, however, is Star Wars Galaxies, the original Star Wars-based MMOG created by Sony Online Entertainment and launched in 2003.
Despite a rocky start, the turmoil of the New Game Enhancements (NGE) and reportedly low subscription numbers, Star Wars Galaxies continues to operate, and Tom Nichols of LucasArts says that won’t be changing anytime soon. “We have many other features planned to support Star Wars Galaxies,” he told Eurogamer. “We see no reason why the two games can’t exist together.”
He added that LucasArts has learned many lessons from its experience with Galaxies, particularly with regards to what players want from a Star Wars game. “We’ve learned how important it is to listen to your community and act on that feedback,” he said. “We also realized what players expect from an online Star Wars game – they expect to be that iconic Star Wars hero as soon as possible. They don’t want to play for hundreds of hours just to become a Jedi.” As a result, unlike Star Wars Galaxies, players in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to begin the game as a full-fledged Jedi or Sith.
Nichols also said that Star Wars mastermind George Lucas is “very excited” about the new game. “He knows how important this project is for LucasArts and that it represents our re-entrance into the MMO space,” he said. “He’s very much involved with the project, obviously at a high level, but he’s very enthusiastic about it.”
Whether or not Lucas believes that Star Wars: The Old Republic will ever challenge MMOG behemoth World of Warcraft for dominance of the genre is impossible to say, however: Nichols revealed that George has never actually played it.