The Old Republic

That sci-fi role-playing game savants Bioware were developing a massively multiplayer online game set in the Star Wars universe was one of gaming’s worst-kept secrets. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still get all excited and drool over this week’s official unveiling of “Star Wars: The Old Republic”. After all, having a Star Wars MMO to play that isn’t the much derided (and much abandoned) “Star Wars: Galaxies” can’t possibly be a bad thing.

Still, if you’re a fan of Bioware’s original “Knights of the Old Republic” single-player RPG, or Obsidian Entertainment’s less loved but decent follow-up, “The Sith Lords,” you’re itching to learn what happened to Revan, the main character from the first game, and the nameless exile Jedi from the second game. I don’t have the Star Wars geek credentials to confirm it, but I feel I can safely say that Revan is arguably the most compelling, interesting jedi not named Darth Vader.

If you were as caught up in Revan’s story as I was, you’ll be disappointed to learn that “The Old Republic” picks up 300 years after the two “Knights of the Old Republic” games, or 3,000 years before the events depicted in the Star Wars movies. Because it’s a MMO, you won’t be playing as Revan, but Bioware has promised the faithful we’ll get some resolution.

“People have asked us why we’re not making ‘Knights of the Old Republic III,'” BioWare senior content producer Dallas Dickinson told the Associated Press. “Our response is that we’re actually making ‘Knights of the Old Republic III’ through ‘Knights of the Old Republic X’ ” and we’re releasing them all at once.”

While this may be true, MMOs by their subscription-based, perpetual nature, tend not to have a definitive ending, or even a story that’s consistent from user to user, which makes it hard to create a compelling narrative. If anyone’s up to the task, it’s Bioware, whose “Knights of the Old Republic” and “Mass Effect” storylines remain some of video gaming’s greatest. You can categorize me as “officially excited,” even though the game’s release date is a mile away. But it’s hard not to feel the way Harry Potter fans might if J.K. Rowling announced she was ending the series with a Choose Your Own Adventure book.