Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based in the Star Wars universe. Developed by BioWare Austin and a supplemental team at BioWare Edmonton, the game was announced on October 21, 2008. The video game was released for the Microsoft Windows platform on December 20, 2011 in North America and part of Europe. This story takes place in the Star Wars universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the re-emergent Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. The game features eight different classes. Each of the eight classes has a three act storyline that progresses as the character levels up. Players join either the Republic or the Sith, but players may possess a morality at any point along the light/dark spectrum. Different classes favor different styles of gameplay, and the game features extensive customization options, fully voiced dialogue, companion characters, and dialogue options similar to BioWare’s other role-playing games.
This story takes place in the Star Wars fictional universe shortly after the establishment of a tenuous peace between the re-emergent Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, 300 years after the events of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, and more than 3,600. years before the events in the Star Wars films. The Jedi are held responsible for the success of the Sith during the devastating 28-year-long Great Galactic War (which led to the Treaty of Coruscant prior to the “cold war”), and thus choose to relocate from Coruscant to Tython, where the Jedi Order had initially been founded, to seek guidance from the Force. The Sith control Korriban, where they have re-established a Sith Academy. The game’s “Return” cinematic trailer depicts the events where Korriban is re-conquered by the Sith. The conflict opens on many fronts and across many planets, while native factions are engaged in political struggles or civil war.
Players join as members of either of the two main factions – the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. Although each faction is led by a benevolent or malevolent leader, it is emphasized that an individual member may possess a morality at any point along the light/dark spectrum. The project’s key focus is to differentiate between the player’s faction and morality. For instance, a member with ties to the Galactic Republic may belong to the dark side while attempting to achieve their own ends, which may be misaligned or dissimilar from the Republic’s vision. Player advancement occurs by a combination of mission completion, exploration, and defeating enemies. New skills, unlocked by level, are taught by trainers and can be learned in game at a multitude of locations. Heroic missions exist that require the cooperation of multiple players to complete objectives, and can be repeated normally on a daily basis.
Although not officially disclosed, based on estimates, it is one of the most developmentally expensive games made. The game had one million subscribers within three days of its launch, making it the world’s “fastest-growing MMO ever”, however, in the following months the game lost a fair share of its subscriptions, but has remained profitable. The game has since adopted the hybrid free-to-play business model with remaining subscription option. The game was met with positive reception upon release and has received several updates and expansion packs. Several books and comics based on the game have been released. It is estimated that the game made $139 million in additional revenues on top of the subscription income in 2013. In an earnings call to investors in October 2019, Electronic Arts announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic was closing in on a billion dollars in lifetime revenue, making it a huge financial success based on the reported $200 million development budget.