BioWare: MMOs are the ‘Toughest’ Part of the Industry
Star Wars: The Old Republic associate lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi has admitted that the MMO market is a tough nut to crack. In fact, it’s the toughest of them all. In an interview with PC Gamer, the BioWare developer confessed how difficult it is to work with an MMO team, especially when it comes time to let some of them go, as we saw recently with the Old Republic team.
“The MMO is the toughest part of the game industry without a doubt and we live in tough economic times in general,” Lusinchi said. “On a personal level it’s quite difficult to to have people that you’ve been working with for a long time that you know personally, you go to their barbecue and you meet their families and it’s never easy. I doubt it’d be easy in any industry for anyone, but it happens.”
In spite of the recent layoffs, the designer remains confident in the Star Wars MMO, claiming to still have one of the biggest teams in the industry and boasting of a detailed plan that will keep the game ticking for the rest of the year. He said players want a service with new content and new systems, items that BioWare is serious about delivering in the future.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had a strong start and it was certainly a lot of fun to play, but I personally ran out of interest for it after sinking time into the initial campaign for my chosen character. I feel history will eventually justify those who believed The Old Republic should have been a single-player game. It’s been struggling to justify a subscription fee despite being a great game because, as far as I can tell, its content is worth paying an initial entry fee, but not subsequent ones. I guess we’ll have to see what the future holds, but I’m skeptical that it’ll be keeping the subscriptions up for much longer — at least, not without further losses to the userbase.