Bioware has a history of
decent brilliant single-player games – from KOTOR to Mass Effect 2. Their latest project, Star Wars – The Old Republic, is their most ambitious one, which aims to recreate the story experience of a single player game in an MMORPG. Writer and designer Daniel Erickson is quoted on computerandvideogames.com as saying past MMOs have ‘no point’ and no specific goal – SWTOR is setting out to change that.
In the past, MMORPGs that set out to recreate a story-like experience have failed quite badly, most prominent example being Age of Conan. The game started out with some extremely well done first 20 levels, only then to leave people stranded with nothing to do – Funcom basically ran out of time (and money) to create content for the higher level ranges. After an average month of game-play, the story part was over.
For SWTOR, things might go different though. Bioware has the financial backing of EA to see this through. WoW‘s success has long been a thorn in EA’s side that so far hardly has any MMO success stories of its own to show. SWTOR is their best shot for years to come at regaining their dominant position over PC gamers. It’s unlikely that they’ll risk rushing things out as they know that an absolute killer game is required if they ever want to not only get WoW-tourists, but WoW-immigrants.
With The Old Republic, the plan is to not only match WoW in terms of game-play, polish and amount of content, but to outdo them on story and immersion. However, there two major pit falls that Bioware faces due to their USP now:
During my time at Killer Guides, I came to the conclusion that it can be done. Of all companies, ironically, Funcom now seems to show exactly that. With Rise of the Godslayer, the first Age of Conan expansion, they are drawing a number of positive reviews. People who gave up on the game take another look at it – and find out that the shortcomings the game had at launch were made up and there’s now plenty of content for higher level players. However, AoC is now having a difficult time to regain their subscribers back as in MMO country, once someone unsubscribes, it’s hard to get them back. So Bioware not only has to get it right, but they have to do so from the very start.