Star Wars: The Old Republic is having a difficult first year. It’s a whole different than what happened nearly a decade back when Sony Online Entertainment foisted Star Wars Galaxies on an unsuspecting public still not totally beaten down by the abysmal quality of the prequel films. Back then, people still thought that both Revenge of the Sith and an MMO where it was brutally difficult to become a Jedi could be totally awesome. The Old Republic hasn’t broken any hearts in the past seven months, save for its publisher’s. It’s just that no one wants to pay a monthly fee to play the game, a truth EA has learned the hard way. BioWare’s game did deliver on multiple promises. First, it turns out Canada’s premiere RPG makers can indeed make it a solid MMO and it also showed that an MMO could have a strong story. Not just one either, but solid tales for each of the game’s classes.
Later this month, PC gamers still ensconced in the thicket of The Old Republic’s narrative will receive a treat. LucasArts is going to re-release the predecessors to BioWare’s ongoing adventure, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 as part of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Collection.
The budget-priced package bundling BioWare’s original and the flawed, Obsidian-developed sequel popped up in GameStop’s database on Sunday. Joystiq noted that a similar listing showed up on Amazon later that day. While LucasArts hasn’t confirmed the release yet, both outlets say it will be out on Jul. 17 for $20.
There’s a dollop of sadness that comes with this reissue. Knights of the Old Republic re-emerges every now and again. Not too long ago, it came to Mac OS X via Valve’s Steam store. Then as now though, the release is barely upgraded from when it came out in 2003. Where’s the HD re-mastering LucasArts? Where are the supplemental materials made by modders? How about including the content from Knights of the Old Republic 2 that was cut but finished later by fans? Why, when your current Star Wars project on PC is struggling, are you not leveraging these re-released classics as a method to promote subscribership?
The re-release also makes The Old Republic’s role as an MMO sting. Soloing isn’t out of the question in BioWare’s MMO, but there’s much to be said for crafting a single-player experience free of content developed for multiple players. It’s possible that The Old Republic’s early failures are due to the game trying to be too many things to too many players. Why spend hundreds of millions of dollars developing an MMO that can be played in a group or by yourself when you can just make multiple, smaller games for those separate audiences and give them the proper attention?