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GamesFirst! Magazine

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LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment announced the development of the first expansion product for Star Wars Galaxies, their massively multiplayer online role-playing game series. The add-on, expected to be available six months after the initial product release, will enable players to own and fly starships, allowing interplanetary travel and space combat.

The Star Wars Galaxies online game series is designed to immerse players in the Star Wars universe. The first product, expected to release in second half 2002, will feature dynamic role-playing ground-based adventures across multiple planets in the classic Star Wars timeframe. Gameplay will offer a unique combination of combat, exploration, social interaction, specialized missions, and daring quests. Players will explore multiple Star Wars environments on foot or in land vehicles. Traveling between planets will be accomplished through the use of public shuttles, which ferry characters from world to world.

The anticipated space component of the Star Wars Galaxies online game will add personal starships and starfighters to the game, which can be used for travel or space combat. The expansion also promises additional worlds, playable species, non-player characters, creatures, and a variety of other elements.

"We view Star Wars Galaxies as a collection of massively multiplayer experiences that combine to form a multi-faceted perpetual universe," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "Hundreds of thousands of gamers around the world will be able to choose whether to base their Star Wars alter-egos on ground, or whether to take them up into space -- for exploration, combat, or even to attempt the legendary Kessel Run. We know from our community boards that fans want to play Star Wars Galaxies in space as well as on planet -- we're happy to say they'll be able to do so."

The space component of Star Wars Galaxies is being developed as an expansion product in order to ensure that both aspects of the experience meet the high expectations of fans and game players. Ultimately, both the planet and space-based elements will provide players with greater game play flexibility and a wealth of content.

"The staggered release schedule of the space component of the Star Wars Galaxies series will benefit players because they will have time to establish their characters and explore different elements of the core game before we add the space layer," says Rich Vogel, director of development at Sony Online Entertainment's Austin studio. "Once the space component becomes available, players who have been with us since the beginning will be ready to buy their own starships and launch into this new arena."

Al Wildey

 

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