bioware, electronic arts, star wars: the old republic, EA Louse, mythic, john riccitello, giant bomb, gary whitta, jeff gerstmann, E3 2011

We’ve known for some time that Electronic Arts has been dumping a massive amount of capital into the behemoth that is Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Bioware Mythic artist whistleblower “EA Louse” announced back in October that the game had tipped the scales at $300 million dollars in development costs.  Here we are nine months later following E3, and rumors are circulating that it’s about ready to cross over the half billion dollar mark. Whether that’s development money on top of what will most likely be the most aggressive advertising campaign known to man is unsure, but one thing you can bet on; if you’ve got stock in EA, you may want to consider cashing it out before they release The Old Republic.

The main piece of new evidence comes from none other than Giant Bomb’s audio coverage of E3 this year.  During their podcast “Giant Bombcast E3 2011 Day Zero Podcast”, game designer and journalist Gary Whitta makes the following pronouncement at the 2:26:16 mark (it’s a long show) about the funding for The Old Republic:

“I have so much faith in Bioware, they really are the best, I love Mass Effect, I love everything that they do, umm…but yeah, I’m a little bit cynical, and they’ve got a lot on the line…someone told me recently, I was talking to I was talking to someone who’s in a position to know how much money they’ve spent making that game so far, and it is a staggering number.  I mean, crazy times.”

The follow-up comes a few minutes later at the 2:32:32 mark:

“EA could be in a very difficult position six months after launch if the game isn’t doing the kind of numbers that it’s needing it to do, they say, “Well, do we just write off half a billion dollars or do we keep throwing money at this thing and hope that we can turn it around?”

Between these two pieces of evidence, you can bracket a guess in between 300 million and 500 million dollars and probably get a pretty safe estimate on how much has been thrown at this game.  Seeing as the game is similar in nature to a World of Warcraft clone, and even Jeff Gerstmann says his hands-on feeling was that it was “…any other modern MMO, just another one of those games…”, how is it even physically possible at this point for Electronic Arts to come close to breaking even on their investment?  I get the feeling that this time next year, EA stands to be staring down what could be the largest financial trainwreck in video game development history.

I hope John Riccitello (EA CEO) is updating his resume…

  • http://Website LOLHater

    Nice hater blog we got there.

    EA louse as a reliable source when these were debunked months ago, LOL.

    I enjoy feeling trolled by idiots.

  • http://Website LOLHater

    Avatar (2009)


    $237,000,000 (estimated)

    TOR (2011)


    $300,000,000 – $500,000,000 (estimated)

    Do you have a brain to write an entry about how an MMO could be twice the budget of Avatar? What is your IQ? Is it inversely proportional to the figures you throw?

  • http://Website Zhatan

    LOLHater, can you read this from Wikipedia please?

    As of September 30, 2008, WAR had sold 1.2 million copies and had 800,000 registered users.[30]

    As of October 10, 2008, Mythic Entertainment announced that 750,000 people were playing Warhammer Online.[31]

    As of December 31, 2008, the number of active WAR subscribers had decreased to "over 300,000 paying subscribers in North America and Europe."[32]

    As of May 5, 2009, Electronic Arts executives confirmed in an investor conference that they have 300,000 subscribers as of the end of March 2009,[33] shortly after the company reported a loss of $1.08 billion in the financial year for 2009.[34] Consequently, the number of servers was drastically reduced[35] in order to consolidate the remaining population. The total number of servers was reduced to 13 and the number of role-playing servers was reduced to 1.[36]

    With a year of almost 1m players EA lost +100m with Warhammer online. The money and time invested in SWTOR is maybe 3 times what WAR cost. So dont be so dumb. SWTOR must e around 300-500m , the money invested in a crapy film like avatar is not even half they need to improve the technology for create a game like SWTOR with all the things they say it have.

    The game wil be the worst fail ever at the industry just because they can realize that people who wants to play a WoW game, are already playing WoW so whats the point in change to the same thing with other graphic skin? i will not change a level 90 toon for a level 1 just because the NPcs there talk. I will be where all my friends are.

    When someone in the industry realize they need to offer something NEW they will success and we will be free from Rifts, Warhammer onlines and other crapy WoW reskins.

  • http://Website staythirsty

    It's tough to adhere to word of mouth without viable and researchable sources. but it's all speculation. Truth is if you intend to defeat blizzard, then you shouldn't be making MMOG's. It just creates something thats a better mouse trap, instead of moving the genre into a more immersive environment to allow innovation to grow.

    If any of it's true then you would see a huge shift from BW to allow an item store if it fails to meet sales expectation's after 3-6 months. Rift is suffering right now for following after the ex WOW gamers. if TOR follows suit then the game may well be doomed for mediocrity.