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EA takes full publishing responsibility for Old Republic

Lucas Arts still collaborating on design and marketing as licensor

Electronic Arts will be shouldering the lion's share of publishing responsibilities for the forthcoming Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, taking almost all of the duties previously assigned to Lucas Arts.

Lucas Arts will continue to play an active part in the design and marketing of the game, but the publishing and distribution work will be "centralised for efficiency". The game has been developed by RPG specialists BioWare, who also made PC classic Knights of the Old Republic, and is due to go online next year.

Recently, Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz proclaimed that The Old Republic would "never be profitable" as its subscription model was too outdated and its budget too high, while PopCap CCO Jason Kapalka told press that Farmville was a bigger threat to World of Warcraft's MMO crown than Star Wars.

EA itself acknowledges that The Old Republic is the most expensive project the company has ever embarked upon, comparing its budget to World of Warcraft's - a figure which would place it around the $100 million mark.

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Dan Pearson