Sony Online Entertainment has announced it will be shutting down its long-running MMO Star Wars: Galaxies come December 15, having first launched the game on June 16, 2003.
According to SOE president John Smedley, speaking in an interview with Massively, the decision to shut the MMO down was a business decision made by both SOE and LucasArts.
The current contract between the companies was set to run out in 2012, and with SOE and LA releasing Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures as well as the impending launch of The Old Republic on the horizon, nether firm will move to renew the contract when it is up.
Smedley goes on to say the decision also had nothing to do with the recent SOE hacks nor dwindling player populations.
“Populations have stayed pretty steady for a long time now,” he said. “In fact, we recently merged a bunch of servers to help the prime-time population. But gosh, the game’s been running for a long time now, and it’s been a great run. We’re glad to have done it.
“There are going to be a lot of fans that are going to say, hey can’t you give us the source code, or can’t we run a server, and the answer is going to be, ‘I’m sorry — we have to decline that.’ It’s just not possible.”
The SOE president also said if he could do things over again, he would have released the game a year later so it could have been given more polish before launch.
“I would have made sure the ground and space games were launched all at once. I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit, ” he said. “I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there.
“I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the NGE (New Game Enhancement). At some point the only thing to do is acknowledge the mistakes you made. But we can also look and fix them in the future.”
The crew running Galaxies will be transferred to an new undisclosed project in the works in Austin, so there won’t be any staff redundancies due to the game being shuttered.
You can read the fully interview with Smedley through the link, and if you like, the game’s former creative director, Raph Koster, has posted his thoughts on the matter as well.
The team is planning all sorts of events and goodies for players, in order for them to enjoy the game until it closes, and you can read up on all that through the latest producer letter.
Also, those attending SOE’s Fan Faire who pre-registered as a SWG player, will get their passes comped by Sony.