Vintage MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic is being shifted from BioWare to a new development studio, Broadsword Online.
Development on the 12 year-old MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic will continue, but not at BioWare. That’s according to a story over on IGN, which reveals that EA is set to move the vintage online game from its birthplace to an external developer, Broadsword Online Games.
Broadsword has a longstanding connection to BioWare, since it was founded by Rob Denton, who previously worked on The Old Republic and was once an executive at the company. IGN’s sources add that the deal could be closed this month, and will see around 70 to 80 developers move with The Old Republic from BioWare to its new Broadsword home.
The Old Republic had a rough time at launch in 2011. Pre-release, it was widely thought to be the most expensive game ever made up to that point, with a budget reportedly approaching $200 million, while much was made of its fully-voiced cast of non-player characters.
Subscriber numbers dropped precipitously post-launch, however, prompting EA to switch to a free-to-play model when its player base dropped below the one million mark in 2012.
The Star Wars MMORPG has quietly carved out its own niche over the past decade, though – certainly, its player base must be decent enough to warrant EA’s ongoing support, which is something the publisher has pledged in a new statement to IGN.
“Almost 12 years after launch, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains a success and continues to grow its dedicated and passionate community,” EA’s statement reads. “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.”
BioWare, presumably, has enough on its development plate in any case, given its ongoing – and secretive – work on the likes of Mass Effect 4 and Dragon Age: Dreadwolf.
Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of content on the horizon for The Old Republic, with a raft of in-game events planned for June and beyond. The MMO may be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but its longevity is impressive – especially when compared to BioWare’s other attempt at an online epic, Anthem.