Star Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare has had great success in creating incredible single-player RPG experiences. In the past few years, they’ve managed to turn Mass Effect and Dragon Age into productive franchises and both series are set to receive at least one more iteration in the future.
Why then, would BioWare take a step outside of its core competency and develop an MMORPG like The Old Republic? Game director James Ohlen says the decision to go online was made long ago, back when MMO games looked like they might take over the RPG scene.
“Back in 2004/2005 it was something we knew we needed to get into,” explained Ohlen, “It seemed to be one of the possible future paths for role-playing games in general. One thing [BioWare founders] Ray [Muzyka] and Greg [Zeschuk] are always doing is looking at ways to make sure Bioware is not going to be left behind. So they’re looking at all the futures going and then try to make sure we kind of diversify, and that was one of the areas we wanted to diversify in.”
Ohlen also notes that The Old Republic is not BioWare’s first trip to the multiplayer rodeo. Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights were multiplyer RPG titles created around the turn of the century, before the company was known more for single-player adventures.
“So we do have experience with multiplayer,” said Ohlen. “We just hadn’t built a huge online game before.”