Star Wars: The Old Republic launches Dec. 20

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be arriving in 2011... just barely. The hotly anticipated MMO will launch in North America on December 20th, with a European launch following on December 22nd.

"We appreciate the patience of the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game’s release," Dr. Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of BioWare, told audiences at Eurogamer Expo today. "When we launch this groundbreaking MMO with world class storytelling this holiday season, we hope you will agree that it was worth the wait."

While the game officially launches on December 20th, you'll be able to unlock "Early Game Access" by pre-ordering the game at "participating retailers." Once again, EA emphasizes that access will be limited at launch.

Included in the box will be 30 days of access to the game. The Old Republic is being anticipated as one of the last MMOs to use a subscription model instead of the increasingly popular free-to-play scheme. After the first 30 days, players can choose to pay $14.99 per month, or pre-pay $41.97 for 3 months, or $77.94 for 6 months.