Knights Of The Online Republic: KOTOR MMO Is Go

By Alec Meer on July 17th, 2008 at 8:32 pm.

Classes will include Jedi, Jedi, Jedi and Gungan

It’s a big day for Bioware. First, Dragon Age scrubs up very nice indeed, and now EA have only bleedin’ gone and revealed they’re planning Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: The MMO. Yes, with Bioware at the till. [Pauses for internet-wide cheer]. “As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in rapture and were suddenly fanboys…”

It’s been rumoured for ages, but E3 saw EA’s John Riccitiello drop a conclusive bombshell. Quote’n'that under the jump.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’d better be able to play as a Jawa.

“We’ve got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development,” said Riccitiello. The first title, based on the Warhammer property, will launch soon. “And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about — in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it.”

Does Riccitiello mean the oft rumored Knights of the Old Republic Online? “Yes,” he said.

(From Portfolio via VG247).

“Yes” can be such a magical word.

In a way, the Bioware involvement is in many ways the least important element of this. It’s a certain seal of quality, sure – and crucially it’s the first time they’ve done Massively Multi – but what’s really big here is that it’s a Star Wars MMO. From EA. In a post-WoW climate (which puts it on an entirely different footing to poor Galaxies right from the off). In other words, perhaps the most serious rival World of Warcraft could possibly have.

We’ll be needing to hear your name suggestions now, please.

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207 Comments »

  1. Schadenfreude says:

    Nice. Wonder how they’re going to deal with everyone and their mother wanting to play as Jedi though? And least in the Old Republic setting it makes sense to have hundreds of Jedi scurrying about but they still shouldn’t outnumber everyone.

  2. Azhrarn says:

    IF Bioware manage to do this properly, without EA forcing them to rush it out the door, then we could have a winner on our hands.

  3. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Lummy.

    I refuse to get excited until the details start flowing. If the Mass Effect identikit side quests are to be used as a model for the quests in this, then it can sod right off.

  4. cyrenic says:

    I guess it would be too much to ask for X-Wing/TIE Fighter type space combat as well as the main RPGish stuff?

    Great to see Bioware focusing more on the PC again.

  5. scopie says:

    “Star Wars: Stinky Knights with Cheetos Fingers”

  6. heartless_ says:

    @Schadenfreude

    Great thing about Jedi in this period is that they are all very much different and are more than just magical flashy swords. And if they decide that players can play as Sith… yes indeedy feel the needy to dance naked at work right now.

  7. zanbowser says:

    I find myself agreeing with most of the posts so far… especially the “X-Wing/TIE Fighter” angle. It would be great to see a real “twitch MMO” that’s not just a tarted-up Battlefield clone or a reboot of Planetside (though, that I would certainly play, as well). As much as I liked the first two, I’m actually (and I never thought I’d say this) bored of the Star Wars IP. How about a Firefly-universe MMO?

    Who am I kidding – I’ll probably be in it anyway once more info comes out, despite my yawning ambivalence.

  8. Gnarl says:

    I always wanted to play as a Jawa in Galaxies. Not as a main race, more as a simplified version of play where you just wandered around stunning innocent droids. And shouting ‘Woutinni!’ of course.

    So in the hope Bioware also wanted to do this, I dub thee

    ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Jawa’

  9. Pavel says:

    Great, another MMO. If they rather made proper KOTOR 3…

  10. James G says:

    I enjoyed KOTORI muchly, although have been putting off KOTOR II until the Sith Lords Restoration Project is finished. There has been an unsurge of activity on that front recently, my money is on a release within the next four weeks.

  11. K says:

    They could integrate some sort of master and apprentice system so a low and high level player get some benefit from partnering up. And the X-Wing/Tie Fighter idea is excellent.
    So much potential.

    I’m still not going to play it, of course.

  12. Abe says:

    I’m still expecting Blizzard to announce a Starcraft MMO. They have to be at least thinking about their follow-up to WoW, and Starcraft is the most obvious contender – and probably the next best thing to a Star Wars license.

    Does anybody else think we could see a big sci-fi MMO scuffle between EA-Bioware and Actizard?

  13. dartt says:

    The Force is strong in this one.

  14. Nick Halme says:

    Star Wars: Star Wars Online: The Star Wars Continue

    How’s that, do you think people would get the brand message from the name?

  15. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    KOTOR. What you get when you make Star Wars less dumb. Considering that the KOTOR period is a lot more interesting than the movie period, as far as roleplaying and Jedi-rolling possibilities go, and is a lot more Star Wars-y in spirit than anything Yuuzhan Vong and beyond, I have high hopes for this.

    Might be the only MMO I would actually play beyond a free trial period.

    Is it strange that I hold the KOTOR series in as high regard as I do Empire?

  16. mpk says:

    I just came on my knee

  17. Paul S says:

    /KEEERRRRR-SPLOOODE!!!

    Yowzers. Very, very excited by this. KOTOR is my favouritest game ever, Bioware are my favouritest dev house, and I’ve been dying for a good SW mmo. I’m all tingly.

    And it’ll work fine with the Jedi. It’s a KOTOR mmo – make everyone Jedi. No balance issues, and in the timeframe it would make perfect sense.

  18. michael says:

    This news brings joy to my life. I now have a reason to live.

  19. CitizenErazed says:

    Just, for the love of god, pick one way to make people Jedi and stick to that. What really got to people in SWG was the fact that they kept changing the Jedi system – you could spend weeks grinding the system in place one month, only for it to change just as you got there.

  20. JonFitt says:

    Urgh. Absolutely Terrible News. Now we’ll never get a good KoToR 3.

    If it plays like a single player RPG then I might be interested, but the thought of wandering around Tatooine grinding Sand People so I can collect 20 Gaderffiis fills me with disgust.

    Maybe, just maybe if I can get my own Ebon Hawk and roam around the galaxy X-Wing/Tie-fighter style (not just a fast travel animation) then the hideous repetitive boredom that is MMOs might be worth it.
    Possibly.

  21. Paul S says:

    @ Jonfit: At this point, I think we can be optimistic. If anyone can do this right, it’s Bioware. They resurrected the CRPG, practically invented the current template, and the worst game they’ve made is still a wonderful game by most developers’ standards. I swell with optimistic joy.

  22. Ragnar says:

    Although I tend to agree with JonFitt about KoToR 3, I think that if I’ll ever play a MMORPG, it will be this.

  23. The_B says:

    Star Wars: A Lot Of Knights of The Old Republic. And The New One. And The User Created Ones. And Some Republics That Were Started But Never Quite Got Off The Ground.

    Needs some work on the title.

  24. Alex says:

    If it plays like a single player RPG then I might be interested, but the thought of wandering around Tatooine grinding Sand People so I can collect 20 Gaderffiis fills me with disgust.

    This is my fear too. I’m just afraid that the epic story element will be the first thing to go out the window, eventhough we’re talking about BioWare here.

    Basically, I’m not interested in all this online palaver, really.

    If anyone can do this right, it’s Bioware. They resurrected the CRPG, practically invented the current template, and the worst game they’ve made is still a wonderful game by most developers’ standards.

    I’m not so sure.. they may have invented the template for the cRPG, but an MMO of itself is quite a different template altogether.

  25. Paul S says:

    We know nothing at all about this game yet. A bit early for cynicism, surely? Let’s see what Bioware have to say for themselves, and then we can all get started with the “WoW with lightsabers” comments. For now, though – open minds?

  26. mandrill says:

    Oh please, let them not fuck this up. Tell EA to keep their noses out and just sit back and count the money.
    The possibilities are as follows:
    Your character’s ‘side’, or whatever you want to call it, is determined by how you behave in game. As in both the KOTOR games. Which means that to be properly Sith you have to be cruel and nasty to everyone even those on your side.
    Space combat would be wonderful (but unfortunately will not involve TIE fighters or X-Wings, 3000 yrs before they were even invented don’tcha know).
    This has the potential to be a proper mmoRPG and not a hack’em up grind fest which seems to have appropriated the name.
    Mass Effect style combat would be good, twitchier than WoW and more fun. Bioware should be wary of treading the Tabula Rasa path though and actually let the player’s aim mean something.

    This may be the game that pulls me away from EVE (though I sincerely doubt it, tbh)

  27. Pederson says:

    I am deeply intrigued, but I’m not sure if the EA guy actually confirmed that it was KotOR Online, or just that the LucasArts/Bioware collaboration was the project that was rumored to be KotOR Online. I am withholding my enthusiasm until there’s some official confirmation.

  28. Saflo says:

    We know nothing at all about this game yet. A bit early for cynicism, surely?

    Hello, and welcome to the Internet.

  29. Alex says:

    We know nothing at all about this game yet. A bit early for cynicism, surely? Let’s see what Bioware have to say for themselves, and then we can all get started with the “WoW with lightsabers” comments. For now, though – open minds?

    Hey, that’s what can be expected when a company starts cranking the hype-machine.. they choose to drop slight hints without any real info, long long ahead of time, you’ll get speculation like this. Years of being crushed in the same hype-machine have made some of us a tad cynical, I’m afraid.

  30. Pederson says:

    Also, I want a T-series astromech. Next best thing to a Swiss Army lightsaber.

  31. Noc says:

    I’m hoping for some Space bits, too. Not necessarily X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter style dogfighting . . . but even something vaguely EVE-y would be nice. One of the things I loved about EVE was that it really nailed the sort of “Itinerant Space Pilot” feel that I got from the Star Wars movies. I think being able to own, fly, and blow things up in a spaceship would add a LOT of interest to this, and serve a couple of other purposes:

    One, it would balance out the Jedi thing. If Jedi training was sort of mutually exclusive to owning and operating a space ship. Yes, I know, all the Jedi in the books and movies were also ace pilots . . . but still, this would help with balance. You want a lightsaber and borderline godlike Force powers? Well, that’s good. But you’ll need someone to fly you around.

    Also on the Jedi side, they’d still be able to offer things to a ship pilot. Sensing stuff, and whatnot. So it would encourage party-based gameplay, and building relationships between pilots and capable crewmen.

    Also, I think it would be important to be able to lose your ship and have to buy a new one. EVE style too, really. This makes it worth something, and also puts you in a position of having to balance risking your ship against taking on missions. Or helping the aforementioned Jedi chaps with theirs. I think THAT’s a dynamic that’s been missing from all the Star Wars games I’ve played: they let you be a Luke Skywalker type, or even a Wedge Antilles type, but there’s never been a game that lets you properly play as a Han Solo.

    And I will start being very excited about this game if I get to fly a spaceship that has a crew. I want people walking into a goddamn cantina and looking to hire a pilot who won’t ask questions. I want to tell a player that he’s going to get us all killed, as he urges me to run a gauntlet of angry military ships that he needs to get by to complete his mission. I want to sit in an escape pod and float through space, and watch my ship get shot up by lasers, then drop down into the middle of nowhere on a planet I’ve never visited before, knowing the aforementioned military types are coming after me and trying to make my way either to civilization or to some ruins to lay low in. Which will undoubtedly carry their own dangers.

    That’s the fun bits of Star Wars. I want to see them in a goddamn game.

  32. Sal says:

    I cried a bit…cheered…LOL’d….then cried a bit more. I think i need a hug

  33. Colinmarc says:

    ahhhhhhhhhhhh I’m so excited

  34. JonFitt says:

    @Paul S
    I guess I should have a little faith. I just hope this is lead from “We have a great idea about how to bring the KoToR experience to an MMO” and not “Hey, I likes money. MMO is money.”

    @Ragnar
    It is the most likely one I’d play if any.

    @Alex
    That’s always been my problem. MMOs have these quest givers giving the same “epic event story” to a huge line of heroes. Too many Kings and not enough Peasants.
    Sorry, but I really don’t want anyone else bar a few people to be a Jedi. My ideal Star Wars MMO would have you all as Republic Soldiers, or Sith Soldiers and I’d sweep into the room, dispatch half of you, and the other half would gush with adoration at my amazing lightsaber skills. Then I’d destroy the Death Star thingumy and save the Galaxy.
    Since I doubt anyone else would want to be my supporting cast, and AI can replace all of that anyway, what’s the point of making it an MMO?
    How about just a co-op adventure?

    SWG tried to limit the number of Jedi by making it an obtuse thing to get with the idea that people would become one by luck and by being something non-Jedi. That didn’t work.

    Maybe they could procedurally generate a thousand worlds with a couple of Corusant-likes where people meet, so I could say screw you all and head of on my own adventures with a few friends and never have to deal with 20 “D4rth W4ng”s and “Duke Skywonker”s?

  35. Nimic says:

    Terrible news.

    How will I have time to have a Real Life (TM)?!

  36. Stick says:

    What’s this “make everyone a Jedi” nonsense? The cool people use sneak-attack blasters. Or have rocket launchers on their wrists. Or properly fear-inspiring rusty red chassis.

    Do you want a game where 90% of the non-AI runs around dual-wielding shiny red swords? :)

  37. Leelad says:

    R.I.P SWG :(

    :D

  38. Nick says:

    The games industry’s worst kept secret finally revealed! :)

  39. H says:

    Hmm. Well the era is known as the Old Republic, but isn’t the world “old” deemed bad marketing? So maybe “Star Wars: The Republic”?

  40. FredrikFtw says:

    YES

  41. Rook says:

    Sounds too right wing.

  42. Wedge says:

    I wouldn’t say “Bioware” is making this. It’s their new MMO studio making it, which is located in Texas, and if I recall is mainly composed of local SOE devs. So don’t have much hope for this.

  43. Noc says:

    Oh, man, the more I think about this the more ideas I have.

    -First, a serious faction reputation system. In other MMOs, you have to kill an impressive number of people to properly alienate a faction. Murdering one or two of them in cold blood on the off chance that they might have had something valuable on them doesn’t usually leave too much of an impression. But killing NPCs and doing quests could, perhaps, have significant consequences for your reputation with a faction. Not only does this help the “Actions have consequences” thing, but it leads to other interesting ideas:

    - Factional PvP system: Bounty Hunting. PvP is usually framed in terms of war, but what about this: if a player’s racked up a negative reputation with a faction, other players can turn him in for a bounty. But you can’t tell specifically by looking at the character. There won’t be flashing lights or anything. There WILL be posted bounties, but they’ll only be for people who have REALLY pissed off a faction. Oh, and you’ll also piss of the factions the player was in GOOD with if you kill him. It encourages players to keep mum about their more illicit actions, and, if necessary, keep mum about their intentions. It also ties players closer to factions they’re allied with, because it encourages them to point out this alliance to highlight the risk someone would be taking by killing them. It’s a game mechanic that encourages, oddly enough, roleplaying. It provokes interesting dynamics between players. It splits people up into sides, and blindfolds them, then mixes them back together.

    - Factional PvE: Factions you’ve pissed off will try and hunt you down. Any NPC of a faction you’ve angered recently has a percent chance of recognizing you if they get to close. Still, faction NPCs tend to stick to their own territory, so it’s worthwhile for someone who’s just completed a sabotage mission to try and book passage offworld as quickly as possible. This, hopefully, would mean relying on players with spaceships. Combine this with the previous point, and you’ve got some very interesting things going on. Things that are VERY reminiscent of the Star Wars source material. Oh, and the factions will also, as long as you’re in their territory, send NPCs with a HIGH chance of recognizing you to your general area. So you get military troops landing in the area your escape pod has touched down in. Or a crime lord’s thugs prowling through the streets of the spaceport you’ve fled to. This, in addition to causing the player to need to deal with the fallout of his actions in the classic fight-or-flight manner, also plays the game’s NPCs as something other than shopkeepers, questgivers, and stationary guards who’re only there to stop playerkilling.

    - Oh, and combining the two: guards will interfere with public disturbances. But they’re much, much slower to interfere if they’re of a faction that dislikes you. On the other hand, they’ll leap to your defense if you’re in good with the faction.

    Holy crap, this MMO I’m designing in my head is going to be so cool. It’s a shame no one’ll ever play it.

  44. Jamie says:

    I’m holocron grinding already

  45. Cigol says:

    Hopefully it doesn’t spell the end for any future singleplayer iterations but may I just add to the general feeling of ‘YAZOOOOO!’. Lot of great games have been announced this month alone. Looking good.

  46. Raff says:

    Sorry, but:

    Bioware’s attitude to QA + the MMORPG genre = the client will probably never even run

  47. Nick says:

    Is no one else sick of this constant stream of MMOness? =/

  48. propanol says:

    Guess this means no KOTOR3, which makes me a sad panda. Then again, LucasArts has been sucking even more than usual (if that’s even possible) lately, so had there actually been a proper KOTOR sequel in the works it probably would have been console-only (because “omg we can’t be bothered with stuff like scalability”) and farmed out to some crap team.

  49. PetitPrince says:

    I just hope we WON’T hear anything about Revan and the Exile in this MMO… because I want them in KOTOR3 !

  50. Jonathon Halliwell says:

    Holy shit, this is awesome