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Old Republic EA's "largest ever" game

Star Wars massively multiplayer online game is publisher's most expensive to date

EA chief financial officer Eric Brown has claimed that BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is the publisher's most expensive game in the company's nearly 30 year history.

Speaking to a Wedbush Morgan Securities audience in New York, as reported by sister site Eurogamer, Brown commented that the massively multiplayer online game was the "largest ever development project, period, in the history of the company".

Although he did not put a specific figure on the development costs Brown indicated that a standard packaged title cost around $30 million but "any MMO costs significantly more than that".

He also suggested that World of WarCraft cost Blizzard "$100 million, perhaps more" on its original release, implying that the initial figure for The Old Republic was similar.

"That's lifetime [research and development] to actually ship it and obviously then there's maintenance subsequent to ship and expansion packs," said Brown.

The Old Republic is the second Star Wars MMO and follows the relative failure of Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars Galaxies, which was set during the time frame of the original three movies.

The new game is meant as a direct sequel to the two single-player Knights Of The Old Republic games on the Xbox/PC, the first created by BioWare and the second by Obsidian Entertainment.

The Old Republic is tentatively aimed at a spring 2011 release.

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