Last week, BioWare went all-out to show off The Old Republic at E3. They had Tatooine playable at the show, which is the first time the planet for players in their mid-20s was seen. They unveiled the end-game raids, called “Operations”, and showed a big boss fight on Alderaan. Yet despite this blow-out, an analyst firm called Cowen and Company walked away very unimpressed with the game. GamesIndustry.biz has the full story:
“Despite promises from EA/Bioware that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the Bioware RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations.”
Creutz also described the PC game’s visuals as “competent but hardly breathtaking,” but makes allowances for the landscape in which the demo was set. “Granted, we were playing in a desert area, so other areas may be more impressive-looking… on the other hand we question why EA chose a desert level to showcase the title.”
They speculated that the reason why the EA didn’t announce a release date at E3 was because the game was going to be delayed to 2012. We do know for a fact that the reason they’re not announcing the date has nothing to do with that. In fact, at E3 multiple BioWare employees said they were firm for a 2011 release. While being interviewed on G4, Daniel Erickson used the firm word when referring to a 2011 release.
Leaked EA Origin product time-lines shows The Old Republic being released before Battlefield 3, which is set for an October 25th release date. While some speculation has pegged the game for a September release to coincide with the BluRay release of Star Wars and the new season of Clone Wars, recent rumors from major retailers are saying that the game may hit stores on October 4th.
It doesn’t really matter what an analyst says, as gamers will still buy the game for the Star Wars name and BioWare pedigree. Even Dragon Age II sold a few copies on the BioWare name alone. But these sort of reports do hurt EA, which saw its stock price drop a bit after E3.
The Old Republic is currently in a closed beta test, which you can sign up for here.