Queue the Imperial March, because we’ve got some late-breaking news from the world of Star Wars The Old Republic: mega-publisher Electronic Arts has assumed most of the publishing responsibilities from LucasArts for publishing the upcoming Star Wars MMO.
Before you think it’s evil, nefarious and a sign of the Dark Side rising up in the publishing world, please keep in mind that such a transfer of power was bound to happen once BioWare officially became an EA partner/studio. BioWare is developing Star Wars: The Old Republic, so having the developer’s “owner” take more control over the project makes total sense. But yes, it still seems odd to have a Star Wars game come from a company other than LucasArts.
With this new agreement, certain publishing, marketing and distribution responsibilities previously designated to LucasArts will shift to EA so all publishing, marketing and distribution responsibilities “can be centralized for efficiency.” Lucasfilm will continue to be a “key partner” on the game, collaborating on its design and marketing, and of course acting as a licensor of the property.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For those unfamiliar with the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most highly anticipated videogames of 2011, as it is trying to break new ground in the genre by building on the traditional MMO model of combat, exploration and character progression through the addition of a compelling narrative. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, players will explore an age thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader when war between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy. Players choose to play as Jedi, Sith or a variety of other classic Star Wars roles, defining their personal story and determining their path down the light or dark side of the Force.
Along the way, players will befriend courageous companions who will fight at their side or possibly betray them, based on the players’ actions. Players can also choose to team up with friends to battle enemies and overcome incredible challenges using dynamic Star Wars combat. Should be fun — especially with BioWare at the helm.