Star Wars: The Old Republic jumps to stores on December 20

While it looks like Diablo III won’t be out until 2012, EA, LucasArts and BioWare have confirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released by the end of the year. The massively multiplayer online game has been given an official release date of December 20 with “limited pre-order quantities.” Players who pre-order SWTOR will also receive an Early Game Access token to ensure they play the game before anyone else.

“In 1977, Lucasfilm created magic with the release of Star Wars. Our goal is to capture some of that magic when we go live with Star Wars: The Old Republic on December 20,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, BioWare’s Co-Founder. “This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated so much of their lives to building this extraordinary game.”

After the initial game purchase, players will be asked to spend $14.99 per month, $41.97 for 3 months ($13.99 per month), or $77.94 for six months ($12.99 per month) in subscription fees. What do they get for their money? Well…

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been lauded for breaking new ground in the genre by building on traditional MMO gameplay pillars of combat, exploration, character customization and progression, and adding a powerful fourth dimension to the experience — story with personal choice and consequence. The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, when the Star Wars galaxy is in the midst of a cold war.

Players will be asked to join forces with either the Galactic Republic or Sith Empire and choose one of eight iconic Star Wars characters: Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Inquisitor and Sith Warrior. Every player’s story will unfold based on meaningful choices made throughout the game, enabling them to become the hero of their own personal Star Wars saga.

Along their journey, players will encounter companion characters with whom they can build and break meaningful relationships as they fight by their side. Players will explore a vibrant galaxy, engage in heroic battles, and experience visceral Star Wars combat.

Sounds pretty epic, but can it topple the World of Warcraft juggernaut? As Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

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John Scalzo is Warp Zoned's Editor-In-Chief and resident retro gaming expert. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at john AT warpzoned DOT com.

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