Star Wars Galaxies Shutting Down in December
Everyone’s talking about Star Wars: The Old Republic. People are calling it “The Star Wars MMO.” Many people forget that the original Star Wars MMO, Star Wars: Galaxies, is still running and supporting players. Unfortunately, that’s going to change before the year is out.
SOE President John Smedley has confirmed in an interview with Massively that Galaxies will be shutting down on December 15, 2011. The decision to shut down the game, which launched in June of 2003, was a joint one between SOE and LucasArts. Smedley also said that the decision had nothing to do with the number of players playing the game.
Populations have stayed pretty steady for a long time now. In fact, we recently merged a bunch of servers to help the prime-time population. But gosh, the game’s been running for a long time now, and it’s been a great run. We’re glad to have done it.
If you’re hoping to run your own server to keep your guild going, don’t get your hopes up. SOE has anticipated that, and Smedley said,
There are going to be a lot of fans that are going to say, hey can’t you give us the source code, or can’t we run a server, and the answer is going to be, ‘I’m sorry — we have to decline that.’ It’s just not possible.
The staff that is currently working on Galaxies is going to be transferred to a new undisclosed project being created in Austin, so the game being shut down hopefully won’t cause any layoffs.
When asked what he would have done differently with the game, Smedley said,
I would have made sure the ground and space games were launched all at once. I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit. I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there.
I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the NGE (New Game Enhancement). At some point the only thing to do is acknowledge the mistakes you made. But we can also look and fix them in the future.
The full interview with Smedley is over at Massively, and you can read the thoughts of Creative Director Ralph Koster on his website. If you’re a Galaxies fan who’s already registered for Sony’s Fan Faire, good news: Sony’s going to be comping the cost of your pass.
You’ve got to think that this announcement has everything to do with the release of The Old Republic. After all, the folks still playing Galaxies after all this time are the die hard Star Wars fans, and it’s going to be hard to get them to resist the siren song of a new, graphically up-to-date Star Wars MMO.