For over a year there have been rumors about the subject of BioWare's in-development massively-multiplayer online game. The most popular rumor was that it would be a Star Wars MMO set in the general time frame of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This rumor has now proved to be true, with LucasArts' and BioWare's recent announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a MMO set in the Star Wars universe thousands of years before the time of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, approximately 300 years after the events of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. During this time period, a divisive conflict is ongoing between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. The Sith Empire has gained an advantage with a surprising and successful military campaign, which included the ravaging of Coruscant, the Republic's capital planet. The Republic was forced to enter the Treaty of Coruscant, which has created an uneasy truce.
Currently, this truce is in name only, as many planets are engaged in conflict across the galaxy. All-out war is imminent. The sworn protectors of the Republic, the Jedi Order, have withdrawn to their ancient homeworld of Tython to refocus themselves after thousands of Jedi were killed during the Empire's campaign, including six Masters of the Jedi Council on Coruscant. The Sith Lords, servants of the Empire, recruit and train on Korriban as they prepare for the final battle with the Jedi. The Sith Emperor himself has withdrawn to pursue his own mysterious goals.
According to Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, story will play a more important role in Star Wars: The Old Republic than it traditionally has in past MMOs. Players will have the choice to play as Jedi, Sith, or other classic Star Wars roles. Companions can be recruited to assist the player, which will be similar to the companions from the Knights of the Old Republic games, each with their own abilities and opinions of the player's actions. Companions will not just add to the battles fought, but also to the storyline experienced. Of course, players will be able to join each other as well to enhance the game experience. Combat has not been specifically detailed yet, though BioWare intends to make it more epic and exciting than in previous MMOs.
As Star Wars: The Old Republic was just announced, release date information is not available. The game is not expected to be rushed to release anytime soon. However, details on the game itself should be steadily available as it is further developed.