Both EA and LucasArts have confirmed to VG247 that the target for BioWare’s newly announced Star Wars: The Old Republic is to make an MMO with a larger userbase than World or Warcraft.
“We have very high expectations for this,” said EA Games president Frank Gibeau, speaking this week at LucasArts’ HQ in San Francisco.
“Just look at the base of Star Wars fans, plus what BioWare can do. Trust me: we want to win. EA’s reputation is for wanting to win.
“This is going to be a powerful category and there’s lots of ways to compete in this category. [Blizzard] created a much larger opportunity for everybody else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.”
LucasArts online boss Tom Nichols concurred, saying that the firm is banking on The Old Republic’s storytelling component to bust through WoW’s 11 million subs record.
“When World of Warcraft came out, everybody thought, ‘No, the market is only this big, because that’s as big as EverQuest was.’ Blizzard showed that it could be much larger,” he said.
“Our goal is to show that by bringing storytelling to the genre that we can attract an even wider audience. Plus, we have the benefit of this huge brand, which has done very, very well for nearly 30 years.”
When asked specifically if he believed the game will be bigger than World of Warcraft, Nichols said all the ingredients were in place.
“I think this game has that potential, with a premiere developer behind it; with a clear differentiating feature being story and something that’s very compelling, and being a feature that’s true to BioWare’s expertise as well as the Star Wars brand; plus the power of the Star Wars brand, which is still doing very, very well 30 years after it started,” he said.
“The opportunity is there for us to do that.”
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a PC-only MMO set in the KOTOR Star Wars timeline, and was shown for the first time in California earlier this week.
The game has no release date.