It’s unfortunate that Another One Bites The Dust exists, but necessary. This column chronicles the fateful announcements ahead of an MMOGs’ downfall, a company closure or, in some truly sad cases, both. Grab your Big Gulp and let some hit the floor for the fallen.
Launched on June 26, 2003, Star Wars Galaxies became the first insanely recognized intellectual property to be turned into a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game. The sandbox title, conceived and designed at Sony Online Entertainment (then Verant Interactive), attractive a respectable audience initially, including yours truly, thanks to the license and freedom to do whatever interested you. If fighting and exploring failed to interest you, then it was perfectly feasible to make a living in a cantina performing music or dance. The sandbox nature didn’t make it a huge hit with those seeking the action side of Star Wars, never reaching the glorious 1,000,000 subscriber mark, but the community that did indulge were hooked.
That’s until the Combat Update and New Game Enhancements came out, admitted mistakes by Sony Online Entertainment. Despite the foul ups, which came with dramatic increases in subscription cancellations, SWG ploughed on. No new, true expansion has been released since 2005’s Trials of Obi-Wan but updates continued. A card game was introduced as a major game update in 2008, followed by several expansions. The drought was the first sign. On June 24, 2011, just two days shy of its eight-year anniversary, John Smedley, President of SOE, announced that the plug had been pulled on SWG.
Smedley confessed that the license between LucasArts and SOE, which expires in 2012, was to blame.
Rumors of dwindling subscriber numbers, the upcoming third Star Wars MMOG (Clone Wars Adventures and The Old Republic), the PSN/SOE hack, recent SOE layoffs and other numerous red flags apparently had little impact. Smedley did repeatedly mention the “new game coming out,” going so far as to say “the BioWare Star Wars game is going to be amazing” in an interview.
I’ll miss you dedicated player housing, hidden master class (Jedi), secondary classes that were actually (non-combat) classes, non-instanced everything, proper space combat and wookies. You furry beasts.
Did you every enjoy SWG? What was your favorite feature?