Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz recently ruffled the feathers of BioWare (and a few fans) after slamming the upcoming MMOG Star Wars: The Old Republic as a "highly derivative" clone of World of Warcraft. He even went so far as to suggesting that EA hasn't announced a release date because the game will likely not ship this year.
"We got hands-on time with the game, and were largely unimpressed," Creutz said in the firm's E3 2011 report. "Despite promises from EA/BioWare that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the BioWare RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations."
He also didn't have anything positive to say about the game's visual presentation, calling the scenery and character designs competent but hardly breathtaking. "Granted, we were playing in a desert area, so other areas may be more impressive-looking... on the other hand we question why EA chose a desert level to showcase the title,” he added.
BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka responded to the criticism by not even addressing Creutz's comments directly, saying that the development schedule is currently on track. "We're progressing well," he said. "The fact we're showing it hands-on on the show floor is an indication of our confidence in the quality. We're getting a lot of positive feedback on that. We know how critical it is to launch as a solid game and then have really high quality service afterwards, too. We have plans to do follow-on content and things that'll keep our players engaged and active for years to come."
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk also threw in his two cents worth. "The content's getting there," he said. "We're pretty happy with what we're showing. There's always a lot of refining and polishing. We've pretty well announced the whole range of features. There's such an incredibly large range of things, like crafting, heroic combat, PVP, war zones, end game content – what we call operations, which are basically raids, companion characters, there's all this stuff. All those things all together are looking good."
Zeschuk added that it's not just enough to make the game great. "You have to give great service and you have to be able to support the game on a long-term basis," he said. "So we've devoted a lot of effort and thinking towards how we do that. The beta testing really is a validation of that stuff. At some point we'll be ready to go."
As for the actual launch date, Zeschuk said that EA is guided towards this calendar year. At least, that's what the "big men" have stated. "At the end of the day quality also matters," he added. "And quality of service just as much as quality of game."
So far SWTOR is still slated to launch by the end of the year. As reported, even Blizzard is banking on the game's success, hoping that Star Wars fans who have never played an MMORPG before will get hooked and have a desire to taste other offerings like one particular fantasy-based MMORPG played by millions and millions worldwide.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Lets face it, theres very few 'kinds' of mmorpg's; the heavily quest based ones like Wow or the sparse quest free-for-alls like... Legends of Kesmai (?)Reply
Perhaps there is yet unseen content which differentiates it from Wow beyond graphics. I have been thinking on that and beleive I have the answer but don't want to give it away. Blizzard can buy my idea if they want to but it won't be cheap. LoL
Bioware "Repies"... Does this mean they threw pies at them? Or do we all get pie!? Cuz that would be awesome... LOLReply
Cowen is a moron and wouldnt know a good game if it jumped up and bit him on the arse. Fact is there will always be things in a game that are WoW-esque but then again if you think WoW is original in many of its concepts you are sadily mistaken. WoW begged, bored, and stole from many of its mmo predaccessors like EQ.Reply
I wish they would go back to making KOTOR 3... not this crap... Thanks EA management...Reply
It doesn't look like they responded to the WoW clone comment at all. Either way, I completely agree with the complaints towards the game. It's turning into everything that I feared it would. I had slim hope that Bioware would innovate in some way.Reply
WoW clone isn't necessarily a bad thing.Reply
dread_cthulhuBioware "Repies"... Does this mean they threw pies at them? Or do we all get pie!? Cuz that would be awesome... LOLReply
Yes, repies is to apply another layer of pie.
From clips i have seen they are using a 8 year old graphics engine that does not support dx10+ this is 2011 i was expecting more.Reply
Bioware was killed when EA bought them out.Reply
There are quite different and original kinds of MMO's. Take Eve online and WoW, two COMPLETELY different games with different styles of play, goals, etc. If they focused on making it a unique game in and of itself instead of trying to copy elements that already exist, maybe it'll get more attention.Reply