The Old Republic not before April 2011

First time EA has dated Star Wars MMO.

Ambitious BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic will release sometime between April and Christmas 2011.

The date-narrowing came from EA at the Credit Suisse 2010 Technology Conference yesterday, according to Gamasutra.

Specifically, The Old Republic will not be released before EA's 2012 financial year that begins in April, calendar 2011.

Previous estimates pinned a spring 2011 date on the MMO. Yet with so much still to be uncovered about The Old Republic, that date seemed startlingly near. A safer bet would be an autumn 2011 release.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be the biggest game in EA's history. How much it has really cost we don't know - rumour has it that EA has sunk a gargantuan $300 million into the project.

"It's a big bet," BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer in response to the "EA Louse" report, "but it's the right kind of bet to make for EA."

What do we know about Star Wars: The Old Republic? It's a sprawling, story-driven MMO with lots of voice acting, morality and playable Jedi and Sith as well as other classes.

What don't we know? How many of the fundamental MMO mechanics will work, such as general, non-story grouping; raiding and if there is any; what PVP will be like; how will we craft and trade; what social-hub cities there will be and what we can do there; what's on the game-world map - basically, what we'll be doing when we're not on a story-driven mission.

All SWTOR demonstrations so far have been restricted to specific portions of the game. What we need is a good old fashioned open beta.

This is the real Star Wars: The Old Republic. Wait, hang on...

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