LucasArts and BioWare have officially announced that a new MMO set in the Star Wars universe is on the way.
It's titled Star Wars: The Old Republic and is in development for PC. They're telling us to expect "immersive storytelling" and "dynamic combat", somewhat predictably. More intriguing is the reference to "intelligent companion characters".
The game is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, which is still thousands of years before Anakin Skywalker started getting up to mischief.
The war between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy and you can choose to fight for either side, playing as a Jedi knight or Sith lord. There's also "a variety of other classic Star Wars roles" to choose from. Perhaps you can be that button that always starts the spaceship.
As the game unfolds you'll meet various companions who will fight at your side. They could end up betraying you, however, depending on your actions.
"Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars - combat, exploration and character progression," observed BioWare boss Ray Muzyka. "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we're fusing BioWare's heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation - story."
And that's not all. Muzyka is promising we can expect "all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a triple-A massively multiplayer online game.
"To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe," he continued. "BioWare has been able to add to the Star Wars history in developing the game's story and has created an overarching narrative that players can enjoy, regardless of their play style.
"Our goal is to offer players an emotionally rewarding experience that combines the traditional elements of MMO gameplay with innovations in story and character development."
LucasArts president Darrell Rodriguez had this to say: "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the most critically acclaimed Star Wars game in LucasArts history and a pre-eminent example of our company's interactive storytelling heritage.
"For a long time, we've wanted to return to the franchise in a grand way, and we felt that the best setting for it was an online world that would allow millions of people to participate in the experience together.
"We knew that the developer capable of working with us to deliver an engrossing story with a fully-realised online world was BioWare," he concluded.
LucasArts has yet to give any indication of when Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released. However, you can take a peek at the first screenshots of the game, and BioWare has also launched an official website with game info and a FAQ, among other things.
Look out for a full preview later this week.
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