Those on the edge of their seats for the upcoming installment of the cult-favorite Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will be thrilled to know that a game complement to the movie is already up for public consumption. The name of the online, multiplayer game is Star Wars: The Old Republic and its premise is, of course, based on the Star Wars films. Any player who registers can access the fantasy-laced, digital world for free.
Game developer BioWare, along with LucasArts, announced Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2008. In 2011, Electronic Arts published the game, which brought more players into the fold.
Star Wars: The Old Republic has gone through several reboots since that time. When the first version surfaced in December 2011, more than 1 million users subscribed to play, according to Requnix. However, the game began to lose a portion of that player base a year later as players migrated to other options. Per Requnix, the subscription count dipped to about 500,000 around that time.
In 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic scored 85 out of a possible 100 via Metacritic, and critics have continued to rave about the game since.
"Star Wars: The Old Republic has been an ever-changing chameleon since its inception, continually trading off features and mechanics with its jump to free-to-play powerhouse and subsequent release of the feature-rich Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion," GameSpot reviewer Brittany Vincent wrote in 2014. "Even though the focus of each additional chunk of content has shifted, the sentiment remains the same: exploring the Star Wars universe in new and unique ways should make you feel like a badass."
And in January, Requinix game critic David Allen scored the game an overall 8.3 out of a possible 10, encompassing the three years since its release. "There's no question SWTOR has a lot to offer, especially for those who are fans of the Star Wars universe," Allen wrote. "While the server-lag issues are a monumental problem and can impact the game greatly, most of the time the game is playable and occasionally it's silky smooth – and when it is, it's a blast. Overall, the game is fun, and that's what a game should be."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is directed by J.J. Abrams, will be released on Dec. 18 following the film's premiere in Los Angeles on Dec. 17. Here's an extended trailer for the film's trailer, which surfaced earlier this month and sent Star Wars fans into a tizzy.
Correction: Oct. 28, 2015
An earlier version of this story said BioWare released Star Wars: The Old Republic on an invite-only basis in 2008. BioWare and LucasArts announced the game at an invite-only press event in 2008.