This weekend during Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego, BioWare senior creative director James Ohlen said that the developer is looking to play host to 500 worlds in Star Wars: The Old Republic by the year 2025. That's right: BioWare expects the upcoming MMOG to still exist online 14 years from now – the same amount of time it took to develop Duke Nukem Forever.
"I can say that we have 19 major worlds," he said during a Q&A session. "Then we have an indeterminate number of minor worlds. And our goal, obviously this being an online game, that we're hoping is going to last for decades, we're going to be, obviously, adding more to the galaxy map as the game progresses. We want to add dozens of worlds. Hundreds of worlds eventually. In 2025, we'll hopefully have 500 worlds."
"Guaranteed!" added director of production Dallas Dickenson.
Will 500 worlds be overkill? Electronic Arts' Frank Gibeau claims that The Old Republic will provide 200 hours of gameplay for each of the six available classes -- that doesn't even include crafting, raiding and other multiplayer aspects. He even pointed out that Ultima is on its first decade and still has tens of thousands of subscribers and is widely profitable for the company.
"It's just the nature of the beast that you have to build this amount of content," he said in an interview in June. "Do I wish it wasn't this expensive? Absolutely, but I think everybody does. At the same time it doesn't really do us much good to comment on how much it costs. Ultimately what matters is whether it's a good service and do people really like the game."
So far BioWare is slated to start beta testing on weekends come September. Dallas Dickenson said during the Comic-Con 2011 Q&A that fans should sign up immediately if they have not already done so.
"We're going to be allowing huge numbers of people in," he said. "If you haven't gotten in yet, this is going to be your best chance to do so. So sign up right now to be one of our testers, and there's a very very good chance you'll be playing the game in September. We're going to be inviting thousands and thousands of people to jump into the game, try it out, and give us their feedback."
Does that mean The Old Republic will launch sometime soon after that? "We are going to be beta testing weekends in September and right now our release window target, we are targeting holiday 2011 as our release window," added BioWare community manager Stephen Reid
To read the entire Comic-Con 2011 Q&A session, head here.