Electronic Arts today confirmed that the BioWare-developed MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch December 20 in North America, and December 22 in Europe. With the death and funeral of Star Wars Galaxies officially being announced as December 15, dozens of accounts will cry out, be silenced, and then shortly thereafter find new life in a new galaxy far, far away.
The publisher has said it will limit the number of Star Wars: The Old Republic copies that will be available at launch through both retail and digital channels to ensure server stability. While EA has already established what the exact number of copies sold will be, it will not be announcing that figure. If and when that sales figure is reached, the publisher plans to cease digital sales through its Origin downloadable storefront while it expands server capacity.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is the latest in the Knights of the Old Republic series, and the first in the series to be an MMORPG. Players will join one of two factions- The Galactic Republic or the Sith empire- and face moral decisions in an epic fight for the galaxy. The game is set 300 years after the events of the previous Knights of the Old Republic games, and 3,500 years prior to the events of the Star Wars films.
Similar to many other MMORPG titles, there will be many class options for either faction, ranging from Jedi and Sith to soldiers and bounty hunters. Each class will have skills they can learn, and a second “specialization” option, following another specific set of skills. Players will have the option of many of the memorable races from earlier movies and games, with humans having the option of any class and other races being limited to a few options.
One feature that sets Star Wars: The Old Republic apart from other MMORPGs is the addition of non-player character (NPC) companions. These companions will help the player with missions, provide more story options, and even have small crafting missions they can do while the player is off saving the galaxy. There will also be the option of space battles, with each class having a ship they will be able to pilot. Players will take part in a “tunnel shooter” style fight, flying on a predetermined path and fighting anything in their way.