I believe BioWare could be potentially passing up an important opportunity. During the recent EA Gamescom Press Conference, BioWare had a turn on stage to present Star Wars: The Old Republic before their Shadow Realms announcement.
Gamescom being the place to present new and exciting news, this fact caught my eye immediately. Several different thoughts passed through my mind; “What could BioWare possibly be presenting? What news could be big enough to present in a Gamescom press conference about a 2 year old MMO? Oh my god, could they be announcing a console version of SWTOR?!?” In that brief moment, my hopes were raised to unthinkable heights…before being brought crashing back down to reality due to the fact that they were only presenting Galactic Strongholds. Galactic Strongholds weren’t even new information! Even though my hopes were crushed, after the conference it got me thinking; why hasn’t BioWare already released a console version?
You first have to realize that when most people think of the term MMO, it is generally associated with PC gaming, and rightfully so. Consoles were just not capable of supporting an experience on the scale of an MMO when the term was coined, so the PC only expectation stuck. However, with the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, are we beginning to see MMO experiences make the transition? MMOs like The Elder Scrolls Online and PlanetSide 2 are just a couple of examples of the most recent announced titles to make the PC to console jump. There are even games being developed that boast MMO-like experiences. Games like Destiny, The Crew and The Division are some of the most recent examples of this. So it is not like there is no market out there for console MMOs.
The only good reason that I could think of as to why BioWare has yet to make the transition is the fact that the game has done poorly on PC to begin with. Despite being one of the largest MMO releases when it debuted in 2012, the game lost a large number of subscribers shortly afterwards due to lack of content. The large amount of players leaving forced the MMO to go Free to Play only one year after its release. Surviving largely on in-game purchases now, I’m sure most would not consider the game a commercial success. However, I still don’t find this to be a good excuse on BioWare’s behalf. Final Fantasy XIV was another MMO with a notoriously negative release, yet Square Enix doubled down and re-released it as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn after three years. A Realm Reborn is now considered one of the most successful turnarounds for a video game ever. That’s why I believe a move to consoles could potentially be BioWare’s own turnaround for The Old Republic. If it is possible for Square Enix, it should be possible for other game companies as well.
Looking through fan-forums shows that gamers have been demanding a console version of SWTOR for a while now. The only reasonable concern now would be how to handle mapping the keys to a controller, but I’m sure BioWare could handle that. A HUD similar to the one used in Knights of the Old Republic, or even a combination of both HUD and button mapping both could be potential solutions to this problem. Either way, more and more MMO’S are making the move to the current generation of consoles and it would be a missed opportunity for SWTOR to not be one of them.
So what do you think? Should Star Wars: The Old Republic make the transition to consoles or should it forever stay a PC experience? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below!