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Story of the Week: Ding-Dong, Vader's Dead

William Murphy Posted:
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Well folks, something tells me a party on Endor with hundreds of Ewoks is in order.

As we reported yesterday, SOE and LucasArts are pulling the plug on Star Wars Galaxies this December.  Can you really say you're surprised?  With The Old Republic launching soon(ish) and SWG being sort of a debacle over the past several years, to me it just seems like it was a matter of time.  Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate SWG's ambition.  I never really got into the game before the infamous NGE made its way into the nightmares of gamers everywhere, but while I was off playing Asheron's Call 2 and Dark Age of Camelot a lot of my friends were happily building villages and hawking wares on Tatooine.  And while many not realize it, SWG played a large part in the growth of this site.  When people wanted to vent about the game, they came here in droves.

Believe me; I understand the sadness of a game closing down even if I was never a big Galaxies player.  You’re reading the words of a man who bought the Limited Edition of Auto Assault, reveled in Asheron’s Call 2, and was in the front seat for the opening of Tabula Rasa.  But Star Wars Galaxies was more than all those games combined.  For a time it was the universe of Star Wars brought to life.  In a time when MMOs were just beginning to grow and flourish, SWG offered an entire planetary system to live in and shape with players’ actions.  While many were off slaying dragons in Everquest, others were in SWG desperately seeking their path to become a Jedi while running a small business back on their home planet. 

John Smedley sat down with the lads and lasses at Massively, and what I gleaned from the whole thing was that basically LucasArts doesn’t want to renew the contract with SOE for SWG basically because The Old Republic is coming out.  And while I can understand that business decision, it’s also a bit like tossing your old dog out in the rain when someone brings home a cuter, less flea-ridden puppy.  Say what you will about SWG, the game still has a following to this day.  And as a gamer, I hate to see my brethren lose their hobby.  That said, I’m sure it won’t be long before someone starts up a Galaxies: Resurrected unofficial server.

Smedley also commented on what they could have done to make sure SWG’s initial success lasted longer, and to his credit he was very open and honest on the subject.  Had Galaxies featured space travel and combat at launch, had the NGE not been “needed” because the action on foot was more polished from the get-go, we probably wouldn’t be talking about SWG closing down right now.  But the fact of the matter is that mistakes were made, decisions backfired, and here we are in 2011 on the eve of a brand new Star Wars MMO while one is very near the coffin.  My only real wonder is if the December 15th closing date has anything to do with a possible Old Republic launch… but then I’m probably just conspiracy theorizing on that note.

But before I go, for all those that are going through some process of mourning over this news, let me remind you of something.  The Star Wars Galaxies that’s closing on December 15th is not really Star Wars Galaxies.  That game died years ago.  Vader’s dead, long live the new (Old) Sith.  Get out there and party like the Death Star’s hovering in orbit above your planet.  Because aged and battered though she might be, Star Wars Galaxies is a part of MMO history and deserves a proper sendoff.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.