EA: 200 hours of play per SWTOR class

Excluding crafting, raiding, "the multiplayer".

Each of the six Star Wars: The Old Republic classes pack 200 hours of gameplay, EA has revealed - excluding crafting, raiding and "the multiplayer".

EA Games boss Frank Gibeau described the in-development MMO as "gigantic", although he wishes the game hadn't cost quite so much money to make.

"I don't pay much attention to that talk [of a $300 million budget] - I get a lot of questions from analysts and press about it," Gibeau told GamesIndustry.biz.

"What I try and concentrate on is, is it a good game and is it ready to go?

"You look at a game that has 200 hours of gameplay for each of the six classes, and that doesn't include the crafting, the raids, the multiplayer. It's vast. It's a gigantic game. And that costs money. But when you get one of these launched they persist for a long period of time."

Ultima Online, he said, still has "tens of thousands" of subscribers a decade on and "is widely profitable" for EA.

"It's just the nature of the beast that you have to build this amount of content," he added. "Do I wish it wasn't this expensive? Absolutely, but I think everybody does.

"At the same time it doesn't really do us much good to comment on how much it costs. Ultimately what matters is whether it's a good service and do people really like the game?"

BioWare opened an Austin, Texas studio in 2006 to create an MMO. BioWare unveiled the MMO as Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2008.

Since then, new owner EA has made no secret of The Old Republic's gargantuan cost, regularly referring to the MMO as its most expensive project ever. It wasn't until October 2010, however, that we got an inkling of just how expensive, when an anonymous insider named EA Louse claimed EA had spent $300 million on SWTOR.

EA big cheese John Riccitiello downplayed the rumour, however, telling investors that those numbers were "vastly higher than anything we've ever put in place".

But as development draws on, so will costs. Star Wars: The Old Republic has a tentative late-2011 release date. But with no beta date confirmed and presumably significant testing to do, that estimate may be hard to meet.

BioWare co-bosses Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka told Eurogamer the quality not only of SWTOR but also the associated service had to be right before EA will press go.

Star Wars: The Old Republic gameplay.

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