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SOE Retains Star Wars License 55

Next Generation confirms that Sony Online Entertainment will retain the Star Wars license for for their Massive title Star Wars Galaxies. From the article: "LucasArts and SOE have no plans to 'sunset' Star Wars Galaxies. The two companies will continue to work together as partners in making Star Wars Galaxies the ultimate online Star Wars experience. As has been announced several times previously, LucasArts and SOE are 100% committed and determined to continue to support Star Wars Galaxies together, especially with our renewed focus on improving the game for existing players through robust publish and content offerings in 2006."
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SOE Retains Star Wars License

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  • by maelstrom ( 638 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @03:59PM (#15005751) Homepage Journal
    Anyone else remember when Sony was a respected brand? What the hell happened?

    • The content part of Sony took over, and the hardware part was subdued.
    • What the hell happened?

      A foray into the music and movie businesses.
    • Sony Online Entertainment (as taken separate from the rest of Sony) basically got lucky - or at least had great timing. They took a text MUD and made it 3D at just the right time. So Everquest got hugely popular. At the time they read the market perfectly.

      Unfortunately, then they took this as license to use those tired old mechanics and punish the user for existing in everything they've made since. All the while trumpeting how brilliant their design (do what MUDs did in 1990) is in every interview and how t
      • Everquest was developed by Verant, NOT Sony. Sony only bought Verant out several years later. Sony, if anything, killed Everquest.

        However, way before Everquest was the hugely popular Ultima Online, developed by Origin (bought out EA several years later).
        • Er, Origin was bought out -by- EA several years later.
        • It's actually a little bit more muddy than that. Smed was part of Sony Interactive Studios America (SISA) which made games for Sony. He hired Brad to help make EQ. A couple years later SOE was formed and SISA was renamed 989 Studios. This was around 95-96.

          Around '98 was spun off and focused on makeing PSOne games. They changed their named to Verant Interactive and EQ was released '99. In 2000, SOE bought back Verant and merged it with SOE.

          So, for most of the time EQ was being funded by Sony but they had no
    • Actually, come to think of it, I don't recall Sony EVER being particularly well-respected. Ominous, yes.

      -Eric

  • That the game is unfun... mostly becaues it is caught between two (some say 3) diffrent and incompatable designs. Well eather way I'm not coming back.
    • Just say it was all a dream...the revamp was a dream and they just revert back to the way it was before. You know, with creature handlers and all. Then from THERE they work WITH the community to FIX the problems.

      Nah, screw the people that play it...THIS is how SOE wants the game to be, now pay your fees and play it dammit!
      • I would consider going back if they did something similar to what Dark Age of Camelot did, which would be creating "classic" servers. They should have a couple servers that run the game the way it was before the revamp.

        In my opinion they should have spent the time they spent on the new design in making the JTL part of the game more like X-Wing Alliance. The orignial design of Star Wars Galaxies with an X-Wing Alliance style space fighting would be my wet dream.

  • I was so afraid that Sony and LucasArts would stop supporting their bland, broken game! What would I do if I couldn't have my dancer running on macros 24/7? My little Twilek girl would cease to exist, and I would cry like a little girl.

    People with no lives can breathe a sigh of relief. Thank you Sony. Thank you LucasArts. God bless us every one (and Tiny Tim too).

  • Meanwhile... (Score:1, Insightful)

    In other news, SOE is 100% committed to pissing off it's existing playerbases in desperate hope to steal customers from World of Warcraft. Success probability? I give it 5% unless they really, REALLY get things rolling with SWG's NGE, and FAST.
    • If they have a 5% success in stealing customers from World of Warcraft, it will bring them about 300k new subscribers. I would call that a great success and afaik that would be more players then SWG ever had. (WoW has an estimated player base of about 6 million. including multiple accounts, so maybe only 5.5 million unique ones)
  • Skywalker Ranch remains open for visitors to pay $15/mo to beat a dead horse.
  • Easy task (Score:3, Informative)

    by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:13PM (#15005904) Homepage
    It's easy to improve the game for existing players. All those who were pissed off left already and won't come back unless the impossible is done. A roll back.
    • I really don't understand SoE here. It seems like there's a large number of people who liked the old game, but not NGE. It would seem an obvious solution to open up some non-NGE servers, allow character transfer, and contineu to make $15/month off them. A bit more money to maintain 2 codebases, but I'd be willing to be the number of people they lost was easily more than the cost of a few coders.
      • the sad part is, that they have no guarantee that those people actually return.
        Sure now they could promise "No NGE in here"...
        but what is to say that they reverse on that decision and screwing that userbase again? (I know stupid thought, but they have made some strange and idiotic decisions in the past year or so.)

        Don't forget, the larger part of that userbase lost their trust in SOE...
      • A bit more money to maintain 2 codebases,
        I think you're underestimating the ongoing development costs of a major MMO, as well as underestimating how drastic of a change the NGE was.

        You're basically asking them to maintain two MMO's, doubling the amount of work to be done. It's just not as reasonable an expectation you make it out to be.
        • But they lost damn near half their playerbase due to it. I think that would more than pay for a small dev team and a profit. Assuming the bandwidth requirements for the 2 are equal, its just the dev team. A developer making 180K/yr in salary and benefits is paid for by 1000 full year subscribers. A team of 10 would only need 10K players. They lost far more than that.
          • What part of the solar system are you from ? 180k for a programmer ? Man, I wish I were stuck in the 90's too! More like 50k if you're lucky nowadays. Game programemrs especially take it hard up the ass, as if it was a privilege to be a game developer (because we're clearly not doing it for the money!).

            To quote the first poster: Die Sony Die!
            • I said salary and benefits, and all the other hidden costs of having an employee. Basicly, worst casing.

              As for 50K salary- possibly, for game programming. Anything else you're being fucked over. I make nearly twice that, I wouldn't even submit a resume for a 50K job.
  • I won't go so far as to say that I will not come back as long as Sony has the license...

    However, I will say this, the only way I will ever give this game another shot is if I hear that they have totally abandoned the current version and built a new one from scratch. This entire concept of slapping on change after change is just not working (and no except SONY ever thought it would). The problems run deeper than that - they need to admit defeat and start over. If they do, I'd give the new game a try, bu

  • Most likely, this "confirmation" by SOE is designed to counter stories like this blog entry:

    SOE losing Star Wars: Galaxies license? @ GameSpot [gamespot.com]

    Given the previous statements made by SOE concerning SWG, any comments from their PR department should be cast in a very skeptical light.
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:24PM (#15006023) Homepage
    Actually, if they kept much of their current game play, but introduced alternate timelines...such as 500 years before Phantom Menace, during the reign of the Old Republic...or even back 1000 years to Knights of the Old Republic. Then I would consider playing.

    As it is, all those Jedi running around during the New Hope - Empire Strikes Back timeline just bugs the crap out of me.
    • If they failed to stick to their guns on the Jedi issue from the get go, no way its going to happen now. Remeber the beging, when Jedi were to be scarce and if they dared show themselves in public bounty hunters could gun them down and they would die, permanently.

      Buy the fanboys cried, LA instantly capitulated and a good game design was thrown out the window with the rest of the good ideas this game started with.
  • Amusing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Starsmore ( 788910 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:30PM (#15006088) Homepage
    From the summary...

    "The two companies will continue to work together as partners in making Star Wars Galaxies the ultimate online Star Wars experience."

    It's pretty easy to be the "ultimate online Star Wars experience" when you're the only game in town...

    • Although a different genre, I'd vote for Star Wars Battlefront as the ultimate online Star Wars despite the fact that it's not very good.
  • by Daggon ( 948225 )
    I almost thought they were going to finally put this farce to rest. But I guess they figure as long as the train's still running, might as well wreck it a few dozen more times.

    Let this game die already, its suffering.
  • Total BS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fallen1 ( 230220 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:13PM (#15006472) Homepage
    WHEN I see an official response from LucasArts on either LA's website or in another official channel (game magazine, game news website, etc.) then I will believe that Sony is keeping the Star Wars MMORPG license. Until such time as that happens, Sony can dish out all the "official" drivel it wants to - aka Press Releases to Cover Our Ass. Sony Online have lost a non-virtual multitude of their player base and continue to bleed heavily from all SWG related orifices.

    I see a couple of main ways (other than another posters multiple time-line server idea) to get back players they have lost - PRIMARY is to revert back to the original "complex" game idea and (pardon the shouting) FIX WHAT ACTUALLY FUCKING NEEDED TO BE FIXED: armor certification and some balancing (but give crafters decent damn armor so they don't have to hire people to guard them or bug their buddies to help them place harvester on Endor, Yavin, and other extremely hostile worlds), rebalance doctor buffs (not a complete nerf, balance), let the MIND stat be changed like every other stat (thus reducing the Swordmaster and TKAs ability to kill all fast), include GOOD mind buffs to EQUAL what docs could do to Health and Action and their sub-stats (again to balance out swords and TKA), and fix all the other little crap that needed to be fixed (locations that were not all there, elevators that didn't work, mini-missions you could not complete, NPCs you could not reach, etc.). I'm sure I forgot a few things since it has been a long while since I played but that is the major issues that I can remember.

    The other main way to bring back their player base is simple: Give up the Star Wars license and let someone else take over the old code base and/OR let the new licensee create an entirely new game (although I would suggest using the first, apparently too complex, version of the game as a basis for any new game). *shrug* Maybe I'm just too optimistic but I enjoyed both sides of the original SWG especially since I didn't feel forced to grind out combat and could craft instead.

      • I saw it the other day when the "spurious internet rumours" were floated around heavily. Do I believe it? Yeah, I believe Julio Torres wrote it. I also don't (want to) believe LucasArts would continue to support a game that is, for all intents and purposes, DYING. If SWG was a horse, the community would do the right thing and take it out back of the barn and put a bullet in its head.

        Then again, it is (at times) much harder to admit defeat and failure in the dog-eat-dog world of corporations and say "OK, let
  • by kherr ( 602366 ) <kevin.puppethead@com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:42PM (#15006736) Homepage
    In the last couple of days there was some extensive feedback from SOE developers (which is amazing in and of itself), nicely summarized in this forum post [sony.com].

    Some of the highlights:

    • Moving from crafting-based economy to loot-drop economy
    • No longer interested in "sandbox" play, switching to quest content
    • If you don't fight, you don't belong in the game

    This is, for all intents and purposes, SWG becoming a sci-fi analog to WoW. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but it's not the game a lot of the players signed up for. If SOE pulls it off they may get a sizable player base, although I wouldn't pretend they'll match WoW's size.

    The developer Helios has really upset the players with his pronouncement that SWG no longer strives to be a world simulator. One of the selling points of the original SWG was the open world where players would find their own things to do instead of being on treadmills. Sure, SWG failed in large ways because of experience grinding and lack of working, interesting content. But the play area was flexible enough and the way things worked pre-NGE managed to keep a lot of people interested.

    Another developer, ChrisCao, comes across as an ass. He managed to insult just about everyone with what he said, being particularly dismissive of entertainers. His contention is that entertainers don't belong in the Star Wars universe because the only one in the movie got eaten. Not only is this wrong (cantina in Mos Eisley, partying ewoks, Jabba's personal entertainers), but by his logic they should eliminate bounty hunters because Greedo and both Jengo and Boba Fett were killed.

    There was also a developer comment made (I think by ChrisCao) that droid engineers didn't exist in Star Wars, which is also ridiculous. Annakin was a droid engineer who built C-3PO. Luke, too, was a budding droid engineer. It was his tinkering with R2-D2 that unlocked Princess Leia's message. The jawas, as scavengers, also served as droid engineers. Gotta whip them into shape to sell them.

    I don't know what kind of Star Wars fans the developers are, but it seems the ones making the decisions only understand the superficial aspects of the story arc. Some of us like playing someone like Oola or Watto or Uncle Owen. Give me an arid planet and some second-hand, rusted moisture extractors and I'll keep myself entertained for as long as there's a market for water.

    SWG is turning into a radically different game. That's fine, if that's the business decision that needs to be made. I'm not sure they'll be able to make all of their changes in a short enough time to save the game, but that's just one player's opinion. And thank you, SOE, for finally being forthcoming in your intent so we can make informed decisions about playing. I started playing SWG because it was sci-fi and it had one of the most elaborate crafting systems of any MMOG on the market. Now that crafters are going to shift to glorified loot pimpers maybe I'll look elsewhere. Seed [seedthegame.com] looks intriguing and is scheduled to launch in about a month. A zero-combat MMORPG may be just the antidote to what SWG wants to become.
  • First of all, they could just be flat out lying. That happens all the time in this industry, like the Nintendo head denying outright that there were any plans to introduce a new, better, Nintendo DS - and then they announce the DS Lite the next month. They can't possibly say they're going to pull the Star Wars license from SOE until they have a replacement.

    But even if they're telling the truth, it would make perfect sense for them to make another completely different Star Wars MMO with Bioware (in fact it h
    • And of course, yes, this is all my wishful thinking. I'd love SOE to go down and I'd love to see Bioware have a chance at doing a decent Star Wars MMORPG. So of course I think it could happen, even if it isn't.
  • by sofo ( 18554 )
    Why why oh lordy I ask why doesn't Lucas Arts care that this game, SOE and the utter arrogance and apathy they constantly display towards thier players old and new is not doing the Star Wars license any good at all!?

    I mean, of all franchises, of all pop-culture icons, how can George Lucas allow this to happen to the one that made him king? The game is not canon, it changes every year, it's currently losing subscribers new and old no matter what the latest spin from SOE's PR department says. All those thin
  • [. . .] improving the game for existing players through robust publish and content offerings in 2006.

    Robust is a funny word. It sounds nice, but it doesn't actually mean anything. Slowly destroying most of the professions then removing them altogether in favor of cookie-cutter character clones hardly qualifies as a game "fix." Part of me wishes they'd just let it die already and move on, while another part wants them to hand the game over to a company that knows what they're doing. I mean, let's be hone

  • IMHO SWG was pretty darned fun for about the first 6 months. Yes there were problems, but SOE ignored those and kept tacking on more and more crap. I am very displeased to hear that Lucas Arts (according to SOE at least) is going to keep the license with SOE.
    I will never go back. And even if they started a new SW MMORPG from scratch I will never give SOE any more of my money or time.

    The most interesting thing to me is the fact that I have yet to read a positive comment on this article. Now of course thos
  • SOE may convince themselves that it is all true but if were not for the fact that SOE has had a long standing history of deceit and lies. SOE it looks like they are kidding themselves in an effort to fool us - again.

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