Like many MMO gamers I know, I am anxiously awaiting the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. And like many, I have pre-ordered a copy of the game even though an official release date has not yet been announced. So many of us are interested in this game, that it has broken records for pre-release orders.
I would love to play this game; just like so many other fans who line up for hours at gaming conventions and talk about the game on blogs, podcasts, Twitter, and Facebook. In fact, the SWTOR Facebook page hit 400,000 “likes” today. Many of us are signed up on the SWTOR official forums and have volunteered to test the game. Having over 2 million signed up on the Forums and over 1 million signed up for the testing program shows a tremendous interest in this MMO.
I can’t imagine the sheer terror of disappointing that many highly vocal fans. I’m sure this is coupled with a strong sense of validation for hard work and vision, but I wonder how much the fear of failure is holding the company back. How many other games would wait this long and insist on release day goals that may not be fully achievable? Think about the vast number of things that could go wrong (and have gone wrong for others), completely unplanned or bizarre. Murphy’s Law and computer gremlins cannot be chained, controlled or anticipated.
So I have to wonder, is the desire to so strictly control the release and push for perfection driven more by stage fright than by real showstopping issues? Will any game ever be perfect enough? Can any game ever have a flawless release when dealing with so many variables? And now that Bioware has set such a high standard for a flawless release, will that inhibit their desire to say “good enough,” or will they keep pushing for perfection to the point that they miss a target window? It has already been said by an executive that while they WANT to release in Holiday 2011, they COULD release in early 2012 if they had to.
I want a quality game and I’d like a happy, lag free, queue free launch, but I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of launch hassle just to play the game. Bring up the curtain, turn on the lights, and give us a grand show. Maybe you’ll flub a few lines, maybe some props will fall over, but at this point in the long years of rehearsals, I just can’t see the show being a flop.