EA wants Star Wars: The Old Republic to take on World of Warcraft in a big way, and the company's positive BioWare's upcoming MMO will deliver the goods.
"You couldn't think of a better combination of elements," EA Games boss Frank Gibeau told IndustryGamers. "The Star Wars IP, which is the largest IP in the world in terms of audience size - it's very high - and the BioWare quality and their development, putting the two together in a massive multiplayer way.
"It's a sci-fi IP, it's Jedis and Sith, you own your starship, you go to planets, you have the Force; it's very different than orcs and humans and night elves and the rest. On the first level, the IPs are highly different, the gameplay highly differentiated, and the stories highly differentiated."
Gibeau went on to acknowledge that EA has learnt from Activision's market leading MMO, but he says his own company has a number of aces up its sleeve.
"There are things that they do that are spectacular, and that we've taken lessons from," he added. "They will feel familiar to players. You're going to come into a Star Wars environment in a Star Wars IP, a Star Wars adventure. You're going to be coming into a BioWare story. It's the first time an MMO has actually had a story.
"When I play World of Warcraft, you go and get your quests, and you go and do your quests, but it feels more like doing a shopping list at times. [Our game] is more about talking to characters, learning what's going on, investing in it, getting emotionally attached to it. You can still go in accessible ways and grind out quests if you want, but at the same time there's a higher-level story that's carrying you through The Old Republic."
EA said last month that Star Wars: The Old Republic will ship in calendar 2011.