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Editorials: An Announcement of an Announcement

By Michael Bitton on July 20, 2011

 An Announcement of an Announcement

Last week’s Friday Update gave us an in-depth look at the process of creating intro cinematics for the different classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but it also gave us the full skinny on BioWare’s plans for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The company said they‘d be making “some announcements” regarding the game there.

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An announcement of an announcement? Have we come to that point? A number of our readers balked at the news, and while I must admit I personally found the notion amusing, it was altogether innocuous. I do understand that the hype level for Star Wars: The Old Republic is at a fever pitch, but some cryptic wording to get people buzzing about an upcoming show is really no big deal. The much more fun part is the buzzing itself!

Naturally, the first thing people jumped on is the possibility BioWare might announce a release date at the show. After all, Community Manager Stephen Reid has often indicated that the announcement of a release date wouldn’t really come as much of a surprise and we’d know about it ahead of time. Sure, BioWare didn’t outright say they’d be announcing a release date at the show, but even a hint would count, especially given how much the fan community tends to read into things.

My initial thoughts were along the lines of, “There are hardly any (MMO) games at SDCC. Why would they announce anything there?” I guess I must have had a brain fart or something, because it actually makes perfect sense. Selling a Star Wars MMO to MMO fans, or Star Wars gamers, or even BioWare fans is something you can do with a traditional show or through traditional channels. The key to success, though, is making that crossover into the mainstream; and given how diverse (for better or worse) Comic-Con is now, it makes a lot of sense to make such a big announcement at the show. Of course, the added benefit of having few games at the show is that whatever announcements they do make have a much smaller chance of being drowned out.

Also, before you rail on me for the mainstream comment (I can hear you mashing furiously at the keyboard as I write this), I’m speaking from the perspective of a developer/publisher wanting to put out the most financially successful game they can hope for.

There are other significant announcements BioWare could make at SDCC, too. There are still gameplay systems under wraps, including endgame outside of the usual suspects of raids and repeat content. There may be a surprise on that front. We’ve also yet to hear about BioWare’s big PvP plans. We know there are warzones, sure, but what are they going to be doing with world PvP? Finally, we might learn some new pre-order details, such as the existence of a Collector’s Edition and its contents. Sure, it makes sense to announce a date with a pre-order announcement, but there are many games available for pre-order without a release date (Dungeon Defenders, I’m looking at you!).

What do you think BioWare will be announcing at San Diego Comic-Con? Do you think making an announcement about upcoming announcements hits a new level of ridiculousness? Or is it no big deal?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.