With Star Wars: The Old Republic right around the corner and some positively absurd numbers heralding its arrival, EA's current master plan isn't exactly a frantically guarded secret. If TOR hits the top of the charts and never looks back, then happiness and Hutt-Palace-themed victory parties for all involved. And if it doesn't? Well, let's not think about that.
So, laser-targeted focus is the order of the day. This isn't EA's only run on the MMO market Death Star, though. Warhammer: Age of Reckoning is still alive and kicking. And according to BioWare Mythic VP Eugene Evans, it's not going anywhere any time soon.
"No, no," he said when I asked if Mythic's involvement with SWTOR could signal WAR's end during an interview at GDC Online. "All of these games appeal to different people for different reasons. I'm very proud to be able to say that I'm running the studio that's run Ultima Online for as long as it has – 14 years. Dark Age of Camelot just celebrated 10 years. We hope we can run these games for as long as there is player interest.”
WAR, then, definitely isn't going the way of Matrix Online and Star Wars Galaxies. Not only that, Evans said subscriptions have risen in the wake of Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes' recent announcement. So then, free-to-play? Sure, it's all the rage, but WAR's marching to the beat of its own drum.
"Right now, we're focused on [arena-based spin-off] Wrath of Heroes as our free-to-play offering in the Warhammer universe," Evans explained. "We believe in the community of players who are playing Age of Reckoning. Yes, we could have attracted a lot of players to it [with free-to-play], but it's unclear how long you'll keep them. We wanted to support our game as it currently exists."
"We also think this is a better approach. You know, how do you make it more accessible? How do you make it a fun experience out of the door? So we're really starting almost from the ground-up but having the benefit of being able to draw on everything we've learned from producing Warhammer Online."