The Old Republic to a third-party studio

The Old Republic could be under new management as BioWare shifts focus

It sounds like things are shifting at Electronic Arts and BioWare. A new report from IGN says EA is nearing an agreement to hand development and operation of Star Wars: The Old Republic to a third-party studio.

According to IGN’s report, Broadsword Online Games—developer of Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot—would take the reins. The deal is expected to be final as soon as this month.

Over half of the 70 to 80 people on the core Old Republic team are expected to move to Broadsword. Those remaining with EA will reportedly have an opportunity to look for other roles in the company, but could otherwise see layoffs.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will keep getting updates, including the upcoming 7.3 patch, and EA would remain publisher.

On the BioWare side, the team will focus its resources on current single-player efforts. This includes both Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the next entry in the Mass Effect series.

We reached out to Electronic Arts for comment, and a spokesperson provided the following response:

“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. 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. Our goal is to do what is best for the game and its players.”

A new era for the republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been running for quite a while, having launched back in 2011. It added free-to-play options a year later, and has since rolled on with expansions and content updates.

It’s not surprising that EA wants to keep its Star Wars MMO running. But moving it from BioWare does draw some attention back to the developer.

Both Dreadwolf and Mass Effect are in development, though we haven’t heard much recently from either project. The new Dragon Age has passed an alpha milestone and received a subtitle, while we haven’t heard much about the new Mass Effect since its reveal.

Some senior talent has also left the company, though former executive producer Mark Darrah has returned as a consultant to work on Dreadwolf. Additionally, EA reportedly told VentureBeat that the Mass Effect team is helping with production of the new Dragon Age.

All this seems to point towards a push to get something out the door for BioWare. Hopefully The Old Republic can at least find a good home for the players still adventuring in it.

Eric Van Allen

Senior News Reporter – While Eric’s been writing about games since 2014, he’s been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.

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