Bioware will soon hand over its development and operations Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO to Ultima Online studio Broadsword Online.
First reported by IGN, sources say EA and Broadsword have agreed that the latter will take over the online game later this month.
Those who play the game needn’t worry too much, as The Old Republic should be in good hands, as the studio is run by former Mythic Entertainment co-founder and BioWare VP Rob Denton, who has worked on the MMO.
After the story broke, EA released a statement assuring that the shift was “best for the game” and “its players.”
“Nearly 12 years after its launch, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains a success and continues to grow its dedicated and passionate community,” EA said. “The work we do for the team and the future of the game and community continue to look very bright And feel proud.
“We are assessing how we can best provide the game and the team with the best opportunities for growth and development, and this includes conversations with Broadsword, a boutique studio specializing in online, community-driven experiences. Our goal is to do the best for the game and other players.”
BioWare executive producer Keith Kanneg posted further comments on the game’s official forums. In a statement, Kanneg, who is responsible for the live operations of the SWOTOR franchise and EA’s live-service game for Bioware, said he’s sticking with it and looks forward to more details on the transition later.
Kanneg released the statement on the forums to appease those who think the game is going the way of Dradan.
“This is a new beginning, not an end,” Kenneg said, “We’ve already planned more story, modernization, and MMO content beyond 7.4. While details are being discussed and finalized behind the scenes, let’s not chalk it up to not correct theory.
“I ask you to stick with it and we’ll follow up with more details later when we can.”
EA will remain the game’s publisher, with reports indicating that half of the SWTOR team will transfer to Broadsword to continue developing the MMO. The remaining team members will be able to find other roles elsewhere at EA, but may also face dismissal.
The move will also allow Bioware to dedicate more resources to Dragon Age: The Dire Wolf and the next Mass Effect.
SWTOR was released in 2008, and after several press sessions, the game was released on December 20, 2011 with a development budget of $200 million. Developed by a team from BioWare Austin and BioWare Edmonton, the story takes place shortly after the establishment of a weak peace between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. It started as a pay-to-play game before moving to a hybrid free-to-play model in 2012. As of 2019, the game has generated over $1 billion in revenue for EA.
Over the years, it has seen eight expansions, additional endgame content, and various in-game events, making it one of the fastest content MMOs of the past 12 years.