*singing* “Star Wa-a-rs, nothing but Sta-a-a-r Wars, gimme those Sta-a-a-r Wars, don’t let them end.”

So yesterday Bioware and LucasArts announced what may be the most anticipated Star Wars game of all time. Several years back, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won numerous awards and garnered an enormous following. While the sequel (developed by Obsidian instead of Bioware) was not as well-received, it was still a very accomplished RPG, especially considering they both came out on the Xbox, which is not known for games that don’t involve exploding everything on the screen. And now, after years of waiting, Bioware is returning to the Old Republic to bring us Star Wars: The Old Republic.

What is unique about this game that will garner a great deal of excitement is that it is an MMO, or massively multiplayer online game. Thousands of people will be able to play online all at once together, populating the Star Wars world like never before. While LucasArts has entered the MMO arena before with Star Wars: Galaxies, the game fell flat on its face due to poor marketing, buggy gameplay, and a number of unbalanced play mechanics. While Galaxies is still around, it never quite picked up enough players to be considered a true success.

Further, SWTOR is attempting to do something that no MMO has been able to do just yet: create a rich, involved, exciting story-line that will engross players for hours and days and months on end. Using a unique companion system that will allow players to have a “party” of sorts (similar to classic RPGs like Final Fantasy and D&D). These companions will be able to offer support in combat and be integral parts of the character’s story.

Another unique aspect to this game is that Bioware is promising a 100% unique story for both factions. Players can choose to be Jedi or Sith and fight the good fight against evil or attempt to bring destruction down upon the galaxy. Whichever side is chosen, the player will never perform the same quests or see even a single line of dialogue that carries over to the other faction. Which means, even if you do absolutely everything you can as a Jedi, you can jump ship, reroll as a Sith and help conquer the galaxy without ever having to slog through quests and story markers that you didn’t even enjoy the first time you saw them.

It appears to use a cel-shading of sorts for the characters, though it is unclear if that will also be passed on to NPCs in the game, as well. If you would like to check out more information about the game, please visit the official website.

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