The Digital Continuum: SWTOR is in a year far, far away

Are you excited for Star Wars: The Old Republic? It's not much of a shock if you've turned into a salivating, highly anticipatory fan. If so, don't feel too bad, you're most assuredly not alone. BioWare's been firing calculated salvos of videos, screens, reveals, interviews and developer blogs. Don't get too excited though, because for all we do know about this undulating, unborn behemoth, there's so much more that we don't know.

Actually, there's a lot.

Today I'm looking at what we still don't know about Star Wars: The Old Republic, and how it correlates to an expected release date. This isn't the first time I've speculated on this game, so you can safely assume I've spent far too much time thinking and discussing this and many other topics with friends and colleagues. I aim to entertain and enlighten where possible, but most of all I hope to quell potential future outrage.
Nobody – not even BioWare – knows the game's exact release date, you can bet on it. Yet the developer most definitely has a clear-cut release window, and what's even more likely is that it's something they're keeping a close eye on. Keeping close to a schedule and meeting goals is of the utmost importance, especially with gargantuan projects the likes of this game.

The shockingly high production quality of the developer dispatch videos certainly rings true of an MMO that's closer to release than suspected. BioWare has done such an amazing job at making it look as though they're deep into development, but looks are very deceiving. A game of this magnitude definitely requires a respectable amount of time. Even Blizzard reportedly took four-to-five years to nurture World of Warcraft into release state. Presuming SWTOR has been in development since BioWare Austin was announced in March of 2006, the game has been in development for a little over three years.

So other than those already given, why do I think the game isn't coming until the first half of 2011?

While BioWare was wise enough to hire skilled, veteran developers at their Austin studio, they also had the foresight to keep the game a secret as long as possible. Since EA's chief executive, John Riccitiello, casually revealed the game out of nowhere to a business-focused news outlet, something tells me their hand was shown earlier than they'd have liked. It's likely that, originally, the game was set to be revealed to the public at this year's E3 event.

Assuming you saw the footage (if not, see it here for reference) of BioWare arriving at the EA press event in complete Jedi garb – even BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Myzuka got dressed up – it was obvious they'd long since wanted to make a big deal of their game. Now, just imagine how much more fanfare there would've been if an official reveal was made. Some people were wondering why they put on such a big spectacle. A lot of it was definitely from everyone on the team being super excited and wanting to share it with the world via E3. It's equally likely that originally, they'd planned on revealing SWTOR at or shortly before E3 2009. These unexpected things happen, and from what I've heard, read and seen in the MMO industry, are the biggest contributing factors of delayed release dates.

This article was originally published on Massively.