It was the spring of 1977 and I was about to turn 14. Like most kids that age I loved science fiction movies and recall spending many nights glued to late night TV watching every B sci-fi movie that I could find. Then something happened. In late May my parents took us to see a new move called Star Wars and the sci-fi world changed forever.
Gone were the guys dressed up in monster suits and shoddy special effects. You remember those, right? I remember watching old flicks where you could actually see the string that the space craft was flying on. George Lucas exploded the sci-fi market with Star Wars and its eye popping and mind boggling special effects, and they have improved with each new movie in the Star Wars saga.
Star Wars: Episode IV a New Hope set us on fire and millions of us waited with baited breath for each new movie. Then the console gaming industry evolved and not only could we watch Luke, Han, and Leia on the big screen we could finally immerse ourselves in the Star Wars universe by flying X-Wing, B-Wing, and TIE Fighters.
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and Lucas Arts opened up the world for us once again by creating a massively multi-player online game (MMORPG) called Star Wars: Galaxies (SWG). Now we could actually see our heroes and villains in detail. The game was good as MMORPG’s go, but not great. Jedi were few and far between and in order for a player to become one we had to basically stumble upon the formula to unlock the slot.
There were trying times with when SOE decided to release the Combat Upgrade. This made it easier for us to find our inner Jedi. Before long everyone knew exactly how to become a Jedi in a step by step process.
Then, in order to appeal to a younger crowd SOE took what many consider to be a fatal step and released the New Game Enhancement (NGE). Contrary to the spin given by SOE subscribers declined sharply and the in my opinion the game has been on life support since then.
Now there is a new hope on the horizon. Bioware announced in October of 2008 that they were developing a new MMORPG set in the Star Wars Universe called Star Wars: The Old Republic. Bioware is a veteran developer of games which include Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Die hard fans now have something to look forward to. The replacement for the SOE version is under development. There have been no announcements that Lucas Arts will let SWG die off, it is just my opinion. Common sense would dictate that Bioware would not repeat the mistakes of SOE and that if they put out a respectable product the vast majority of Star Wars lovers will come and that would surely drive the last nail in the coffin of SOE’s Star Wars: Galaxies.
Keep your eyes open and on the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic my friends and as always, may the force be with you.