5 Star Wars:TOR, Mass Effect 3 delayed

A couple of Big Things came out of today’s EA fourth-quarter investor call, referring to release dates for both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3. While neither are really surprising, neither are really “good” news, either.

Electronic Arts

Always the bearer of bad news.

First off, and only fitting on May Fourth, let’s look at SW:TOR. The last release window we heard for the game was in the second half of this year, which is still too far away for some gamers, but comfortably nestled in to benefit from the holiday sales.

That is – until EA CEO John Riccitiello piped up in today’s call and announced that

“The launch date, while in our fiscal year (before March, 2012), is not yet certain.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Won't be here for a while yet, probably.

…wait, what? Company CFO Eric Brown picked up the theme later:

“While we fully anticipate launching Star Wars: The Old Republic in Q2 or Q3, the low end of our guidance range assumes the outside possibility of a January launch.”

So, uh, if you were expecting to visit The Old Republic by Christmas, you might be disappointed. But then again, you might not. We’re not sure – and it doesn’t sound like EA is too confident, either.

[img_big]center,7251,2011-05-04/MassEffect3-may4a.jpg,Meet the team[/img_big]

One thing that the company is confident about, unfortunately, is that Mass Effect 3 won’t be released until early 2012. The news was broken on the [surl=http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/129/index/7294706]BioWare forums[/surl], and later backed up in the investor call.

To soften the blow, we were given two new screenshots for the game, and both Casey Hudson (Executive Producer on the Mass Effect series) and John Riccitiello would like to convince us that the change really is for the better.

Riccitiello elaborates:

“Essentially, step by step, [BioWare is] adjusting some of the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you’ll see at E3 that can put this into a genre equivalent of shooter-meets-RPG, and essentially address a far larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 did and Mass Effect 2 began to approach.”

We can expect more details on the new release date in the fullness of time – and we will certainly hear plenty more from EA at E3 this year, with the company allegedly having “two or three” new intellectual properties in development at any time, and hoping to reveal more about them at the industry expo in June.

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