BioWare is looking into making Star Wars: The Old Republic free-to-play, according to an interview with Lead Designer Emmanual Lusinchi.
The Old Republic lost over 400,000 subscribers earlier this year, and the player base is continuing to drop at a steady pace. The players weren’t the only Star Wars fans stuck with short end of the saber as layoffs hit several members of the development team just last month. With World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, right around the corner and a market flooded with quality free-to-play MMOs, it was only a matter of time before The Old Republic met its fate.
For a game that was often dubbed “the world’s most expensive MMO,” you’d figure BioWare and EA would have put in a little more effort to see their baby grow into the MMO Star Wars fans have always wanted.
In an interview with GamesTM magazine, which as since been pulled offline, Lusinchi talks about the challenges The Old Republic will have to consider and overcome if it’s to survive as a free-to-play title.
“If it was just free-to-play games and they weren’t very good it wouldn’t even be a question, but there are definitely good games out there and good games coming out, so of course all of this competition impacts your plan with what you want to do. We are looking at free-to-play, but I can’t tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on.”
If you mess up as early in the game as BioWare did with The Old Republic, you are only left with one of two options: let your game continue to fizzle out and then take servers offline, or go free-to-play. While I despise the free-to-play model for various reasons, going free-to-play will breathe new life into The Old Republic. That’s something I feel we all can agree it’s in desperate need of.