Hey game devs, stop namedropping Star Wars Galaxies and make a spiritual successor


If you’re an MMORPG gamer who watches the mainstream gaming space, you probably know that most gaming sites take any opportunity they can get to take a giant dump all over MMOs, especially classic and sunsetted MMOs. This is why it was a surprise to me to see this week that two different sites chose to spin interviews out with headlines about Star Wars Galaxies, which is several months away from its 21st birthday.

Kotaku, for example, ran a glossy interview with Rich Vogel, who’s one of the quieter founding fathers of the MMORPG genre, having worked on everything from Ultima Online to Star Wars Galaxies. In fact, he compares the latter to the ever-popular sci-fi sandbox No Man’s Sky and even suggests it’s a metaverse, hence the reference in the article’s title.

“With Star Wars Galaxies, we basically did No Man’s Sky in 2003,” Vogel told Kotaku.

“It was all procedurally generated terrain, all the Star Wars settings and historic places were layered on top of the procedural world. We even had procedural ways of developing points of interest. It was well, well beyond what other people were doing at the time. […] We gave people the ability to play in the Star Wars universe as anything they wanted to be. […] We had an amazing crafting system that no one’s ever been able to duplicate, and a character creation system people are still doing everything to duplicate today. […] Star Wars Galaxies was absolutely a metaverse. […] What Fortnite is saying they did first? We did that in 2005. We hired people and volunteers to come in and do events, we had a whole event system layered on top. We had bands come and play. It was amazing!”

Vogel, of course, was really there to talk up the unannounced session-based game from his new NetEase-funded studio T Minus Zero Entertainment, without actually giving away anything we didn’t already know – but his love for Star Wars Galaxies was the main character of the article by far.

Similarly, PC Gamer opted to run an interview with Dune Awakening’s Joel Bylos by namedropping Star Wars Galaxies in the headline. “It’s funny you mentioned Star Wars Galaxies—that was a huge inspiration for us,” Funcom’s Joel Bylos told PC Gamer, whose interviewer had apparently brought it up.

“That’s the style of MMO we really like, the old sandboxy MMOs. Then World of Warcraft came out and everyone copied that for a few years, or still do. But a lot of us are old school MMO players. Funcom’s been around for awhile—even made one of the originals, with Anarchy Online. […] The crafting part of MMOs became survival games, with smaller private servers. MOBAs were like the MMO PvP minigames back in the day. The [survival elements] are a different kind of funnel into the game, at least that’s the way I think about it. But I don’t think they’re miles apart… We like that concept, that this is where survival games are, they are that sandbox break-off from MMOs, and we can bring that back.”

Of course, both articles also weirdly declare that SWG bombed, without any context at all. MMO players know the whole story is a lot more complicated than that.

At some point, somebody’s going to make a proper spiritual sequel to the Star Wars Galaxies everyone in this damn industry is clearly still pining for enough to be namedropping it reverently 21 years later… right?

Source: Kotaku, PC Gamer
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