BioWare and LucasArts announced the release date for the much anticipated MMORPG during the keynote address at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo in London, England. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game is set to be released in North America on December 20, 2011.

Star Wars: The Old Republic, or commonly known as TOR by fans, is set in the time of the Old Republic, thousands of years before the six Star Wars movies, and will allow players to chose their side in a war between the Republic and the expanding Sith Empire. They’ll be able to build their own character based on numerous character classes and partake in adventures that will often require them to partner with other players. From the official site:

Choose to be a Jedi, a Sith, or from a variety of other classic Star Wars roles, and make decisions which define your personal story and determine your path down the light or dark side of the Force. Along the way you will befriend courageous companions who will fight at your side or possibly betray you based on your actions. Together, you will battle enemies in dynamic Star Wars combat and team up with other players to overcome incredible challenges.

Each copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic will come with 30 days of subscription time, after which you have the option to continue playing with one of the following monthly subscription fees:

1 Month Subscription: $14.99
3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month
6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month

Building up to the release of the game, Del Rey has published two tie-in novels, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams, now available in paperback and ebook formats, and Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp available in hardcover and ebook formats.

On November 15, Del Rey will publish the eagerly anticipated novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan from author Drew Karpyshyn.

There’s something out there:
a juggernaut of evil bearing down to crush the Republic—
unless one lone Jedi, shunned and reviled, can stop it.

Revan: hero, traitor, conqueror, villain, savior. A Jedi who left Coruscant to defeat Mandalorians—and returned a disciple of the dark side, bent on destroying the Republic. The Jedi Council gave Revan his life back, but the price of redemption was high. His memories have been erased. All that’s left are nightmares—and deep, abiding fear.

What exactly happened beyond the Outer Rim? Revan can’t quite remember, yet can’t entirely forget. Somehow he stumbled across a terrible secret that threatens the very existence of the Republic. With no idea what it is, or how to stop it, Revan may very well fail, for he’s never faced a more powerful and diabolic enemy. But only death can stop him from trying.