Star Wars MMO loses BioWare so it can focus on Dragon Age and Mass Effect
The studio behind Ultima Online is set to take over Star Wars: The Old Republic as it and EA close in on a new arrangement.
While fans continue to wonder if the big Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic remake is even happening anymore, EA has announced a surprising change for the MMO spin-off Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Said MMO has been a consistent money maker for EA since its 2011 launch, with BioWare maintaining and updating it with new expansions for nearly 12 years.
Going forward, however, that may no longer be the case, as EA plans to pass the game over to a third party studio: Ultima Online and Dark Age Of Camelot developer Broadsword Online.
The deal has yet to be finalised but, from the sound of it, things are progressing smoothly and the two companies should meet an agreement before the end of the month.
As for the why, EA only says it’s ‘what is best for the game and its players,’ though a likely explanation is so that BioWare can focus all its energy and resources on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the next Mass Effect, both of which continue to lack launch dates.
IGN broke the news, adding that more than half of The Old Republic’s core development team at BioWare (roughly 70 to 80 people) are expected to move to Broadsword Online. Those remaining will potentially be let go from EA but will have the opportunity to look for new roles within the company.
So, sadly, there’s no suggestion that the staff will be moved to work on a new single-player Old Republic game or take over the stalled remake.
‘Almost 12 years after launch, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains a success and continues to grow its dedicated and passionate community,’ reads a statement from EA.
‘We’re so proud of the work the team has done, and the future of the game and the community continues to be very bright. We’re evaluating how we give the game and the team the best opportunity to grow and evolve, which includes conversations with Broadsword, a boutique studio that specialises in delivering online, community-driven experiences. Our goal is to do what is best for the game and its players.’
Broadsword does seem like the perfect studio to take over development duties. Aside from having MMO experience with both Ultimate Online and Dark Age Of Camelot (both of which are published by EA and have lasted for over two decades), it’s run by one Rob Denton.
Denton previously worked at BioWare and was also the chief operating officer on The Old Republic until he left the studio in 2013.
Although considering Broadsword is already juggling two long-running MMOs, it’ll be interesting to see if it can manage handling a third and whether the shift in development studio will be obvious to players.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is available for PC.
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