|[1:00 PM] Lucas Arts Announces Online Multiplayer Star Wars Game
LucasArts, in conjunction with Sony Entertainment and Verant Interactive, has announced what will likely become the single most time consuming thing in a few million people's lives, a Star Wars online multiplayer game. The companies involved will be releasing the title in 2001. According to LucasArts:
LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC announced today it will partner with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony Online Entertainment to create the first massively multiplayer Star Wars online role-playing game. Expected to release in 2001, the title will immerse thousands of game players into the classic Star Wars universe. Gameplay will feature a unique combination of combat, specialized missions, and daring quests.
The Star Wars online game will be developed by Verant, distributed and sold at retail by LucasArts, and available for play exclusively online at The Station@sony.com.
The partnership brings together three of the foremost companies in the interactive entertainment industry. LucasArts, a leading international developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, has developed critically acclaimed and commercially successful Star Wars titles across a variety of platforms since 1991. Verant, creator of EverQuest, the most successful massively multiplayer online game to date, is recognized as the leading creator of persistent gaming universes. EverQuest currently boasts more than 200,000 customers, 120,000 of whom play daily. Sony Online Entertainment produces and distributes online games and gameshows targeted to mainstream consumers and game enthusiasts, including EverQuest.
"The combined expertise of LucasArts, Verant, and Sony Online Entertainment will bring to gameplayers an incredibly dynamic online gaming experience worthy of Star Wars," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "The immensity and richness of the Star Wars universe lends itself ideally to a game of this nature."
"We couldnt possibly ask for a better universe in which to create a massively multiplayer game, " says John Smedley, president and CEO of Verant. "Star Wars offers such an incredible amount of depth and detail that well be able to create a place for fans to feel right at home. This game is going to be incredible!"
"Star Wars online will be a phenomenon that transforms online gaming for both gamers and casual game players," says Lisa Simpson, president of Sony Online Entertainment. "It is a great addition to the blue chip brands our audience has come to enjoy at The Station. We are delighted to work with LucasArts and continue our close association with Verant Interactive."
There is no word yet on whether the Mac will be supported (Verant Interactive would not return our messages), but with LucasArts having demonstrated a renewed commitment to the platform, it can be hoped. Pricing, and other such information is still far off in the future.
The Mac Observer Spin: We are strongly hoping a Mac version of this game will be announced. The marketing weight of these three companies combined with the power of the Star Wars franchise itself will be enough to assure that this games breaks a few records, at least in the online multiplayer role playing genre.
On the downside, The Station, Sony's online gaming venue currently supports only Windows for their online gaming. Verant Interactive is itself a Windows-only developer. These two things do not bode well for a Mac version, though certainly a porting company could be brought into play.
LucasArts - The Station - Verant Interactive