Knights of the Old Republic 3 Coming Soon, LucasArts and BioWare working on MMO

Well, when we first reported that Knights of the Old Republic 3 was coming, we were right.  A report on Portfolio.com has confirmed that LucasArts and BioWare are working together to bring KOTOR 3 as an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online).  In an interview at E3 this week, Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello said that EA is working on the next version of Star Wars game Knights of the Old Republic, and it will most certainly have a massively multiplayer online component to it.

All we can say is “It’s about time!”.

We have the interview below:

“We’ve got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development,” said Riccitiello. The first title, based on the Warhammer property, will launch soon. “And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about — in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it.”

Does Riccitiello mean the oft rumored Knights of the Old Republic Online?  “Yes,” he said.

Moving into MMOs is an essential component for any gaming company, and it’s a big part of the reason Vivendi merged with Activision, for that company’s World of Warcraft MMO.

Riccitiello told Portfolio.com that he was interested in owning World of Warcraft, and that he did discuss it, but it wasn’t in the cards. “Because [Vivendi] couldn’t afford control of EA, and I wasn’t giving it up.”

But EA is firmly on that path now, with a KOTOR MMO, which would sidestep the consoles owned by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. “Increasingly, people are going to be talking about direct-to-customer in our business,” said Riccitiello. “I think we’ll be talking about it louder than most.”

Today, two-thirds of the game industry is console systems and dedicated handhelds. “We expect in 2011 for it to be fifty-percent,” Riccitiello said.

MMOs will also be useful as a way to expand into foreign territories.

“China’s a growth market for us,” he said. “We’re launching some mid-session games on a micro-transaction model.” In May of last year, the company announced an equity investment in a leading Chinese online game operator, The9, Ltd. “And there’s a bunch more coming that we haven’t announced. ”

The company has stated that M&A is part of the strategy, and EA is looking for core game companies “only when they bring great [intellectual property] and great teams,” he said.  The company is also interested in businesses that “help us build our platform in the area of Asia, online, and direct-to-consumer.”

“One is strategic and new, one is core and profitable — and we’re looking at both,” explained Riccitiello.

Future games aside, Riccitiello is most proud of EA’s revenues, its console-business growth, and what’s currently on display to the army of reviewers and game journalists in Los Angeles this week.

“We added almost a billion dollars to the revenue last year,” he notes. “This year, we’ve told the street that we’re going to add a billion to a billion-three.”

And console games are a market that’s doing well. “It’s grown 30 percent year-to-date,” says Riccitiello. “All three of the consoles are way up. The PC business in terms of it’s aggregate of subscriptions/micro-transactions is also way up. ”

But at the end of the day, it’s about the games themselves.

“I think, hands down, there’s not a publisher or a platform that’s got what we’ve got,” he says. In his own life, he sees how EA’s games are making an impact: “I’ve got twenty-two nephews and nieces. A couple years there, I couldn’t buy everything I wanted for them at the holidays. I can do the entire holiday — and capture my mother for the first time — at the EA store. That’s never been the case before.”

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Readers Comments (12)

  1. I wonder if another Star Wars MMO will finally completely destroy Star Wars: Galaxies.

  2. Surprisingly, many Star Wars fans still play SWG. Even after the complete re-haul, I tried it. But after a long month, I found myself asking… “Why am I paying for this.. again?”

  3. Oh gawd. A KOTOR MMO would be awesome.

  4. oh god,
    there going to ruin KOTOR.
    honstly how in the HELL are you going to perserv the rich storylines and realistic playablity that made kotor what it is. trust me i’ve played every fucking MMORPG on the market (and enjoy many of them) but it isn’t for kotor TRUST me. the problem being that regardles of how you slice it the same players wont always be on at the same time you CANT succsefuly inqurprate a storyline into a rpg (without it becomeing so guided through AND cheesy by other players).
    at least i can concsole myself with the fact that this allged “interview” was spoofed and there wont be a KOTOR mmo

  5. I’ve heard that the interview was faked as well, so we’ll just have to see. They are working on two MMOs though and refuse to name the 2nd, so I still have to wonder. An MMO would totally ruin the story and flow of KOTOR. I’d love to see KOTOR 3 be basically the same type of game with new abilities, updated graphics and maybe a longer story.

  6. But i dont get it, do they think they’ll make more money off of it if its an MMO or something?

  7. I think they’d make a lot less. I guess we’ll find out soon what the real deal is. It looks more and more like the MMO rumor was false, but I’m surprised the developer hasn’t come out and said anything of substance.

  8. Yeah, i am too…it wouldnt be too hard to actually confirm something about the whole thing…8 more days till TFU comes outr to keep us occupied until they actually say something..

  9. TFU will certainly be a nice day. Of course I couldn’t get a review copy so I’ll be in line with everyone else. Don’t expect too many posts on the site that day 🙂

  10. thanks LA. I will not buy this game now. You just killed the series by making this a MMO. Like there’s not enough of them out there anyways.

  11. it really doesnt matter i want KTR3 2 cum out but not azz a MMO it wont really fit right da story now and if itz only dat u b running round wit different pplz everytime u get on

  12. I read in Game Informer that the MMO is set 300 years after KOTOR 2…so do we find out what happens to Revan, Bastila, and all the others, or what?

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