Practically everyone and their grandmother has been eagerly awaiting the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, but EA hasn’t given a release date for this blockbuster. Last week at Gamescom, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk explained the lack of a release date: they’ll release it when it’s “solid” enough “to pull the trigger”.
Zeschuk wishes to reiterate that Holiday 2011 is the expected release date for TOR and wishes to alleviate any worries or fears that people have that this may slip until 2012. Zeschuk stated, “We’re doing our very best to get it out as fast as we can. With a game like this, getting it all right, getting all the server stuff right is just as important as getting the game right.” and “We’re trying, as fast as we can. That’s the reality. It’s literally live right now; we’ve been doing a lot of testing with a lot of people behind the scenes.”
“At any one time there are thousands of people playing the game. Starting next month [which is when public beta weekends are scheduled] we’re really going to start expanding that testing cycle.”
Zeschuk talked about how the entire MMO process is completely new territory for BioWare and they are adjusting to the process as well as they can, “It’s one thing to get the game done, another to ensure you can login thousands of people a minute,” he said. “It’s a different sort of requirement. The things you need to get done to ship this are very different from a standard game. A standard game, this is like five of them, right?”
Perhaps the best thing to take away from the interview is when Zeschuk got to the bare bones of what BioWare is trying to do. “Our job is really simple: making sure it’s great when it comes out. We’re going to do the right thing for the fans, for the product. It’s a big deal but we’re doing our very best to get it out as fast as we can.” Considering BioWare are the developers of the best western-RPGs ever made, it’s safe to take him for his word.
In an attempt to play devil’s advocate, I see this interview as serving three purposes. On the surface, Zeschuk is addressing the fans and doesn’t want them to worry. The concept of him repeatedly saying that they are working on the title as much as they can seems to say that want to make absolutely sure that this doesn’t turn into another Final Fantasy XIV fiasco.
The last layer of this interview seems to be a message to the publisher EA, saying they are doing everything they possibly can to ensure that this game is as “solid” as possible for the holiday season. It makes me think that EA would release this game even if it isn’t finished and have Bioware fix the issues as they go along. While this is purely speculation, it’s within the realm of reason for a publisher to force a product out for the holiday season.