Star Wars: The Old Republic, the long-running space-set MMORPG, is changing studios. EA confirmed that it’s shifting the development and operation of the game from BioWare to a third-party studio, Broadsword Online Games. The latter is best known for its ongoing work on the classic MMOs Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot. Broadsword was founded by Rob Denton, an ex-BioWare executive who also formed Mythic Entertainment. EA will continue to remain as the game’s publisher while having BioWare divert its focus solely toward the upcoming Mass Effect and Dragon Age games — both of them have seen limited updates since the initial announcements.
“Almost 12 years after launch, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains a success and continues to grow its dedicated and passionate community. 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,” publisher EA said in a prepared statement (via IGN). “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 specializes in delivering online, community-driven experiences.” The IGN report notes that roughly 70–80 people currently work on Star Wars: The Old Republic, with more than half of them expected to move over to Broadsword. The other half would have to look for positions elsewhere in EA or potentially be laid off.
Star Wars: The Old Republic was launched in 2011 as an answer to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, setting players in the galaxy far, far away and allowing them to play as a Jedi, a Sith, a Bounty Hunter, and other iconic roles. It was praised for its unique world-building that weaved stories from 3,000 years prior to the original films, in addition to hundreds of hours of content. Unfortunately, it struggled to maintain a player base, eventually going free-to-play, with BioWare dropping regular content updates for the same. Its latest expansion Legacy of Sith dropped last year, and the upcoming patch 7.3 will release soon.
Another Star Wars title that saw a developmental shake-up in recent times is the long-gestating Knights of the Old Republic remake from Aspyr Media. Saber Interactive’s Eastern European studio took over the project, following a ‘finalised’ internal demo showcase, which left partners Sony and Lucasfilm unsatisfied. In response, the companies fired two top employees from Aspyr last year, before putting the development on pause and handing it over to the new studio. For the uninitiated, Aspyr themselves were responsible for creating the original 2003 version of KOTOR. The remake was first revealed during the 2021 PlayStation Showcase via a cinematic trailer, with plans to release in late 2022.