Is it truly the end for Star Wars: The Old Republic? IGN recently broke the news that Electronic Arts was in talks to move the 11-year-old MMORPG to a third-party studio, Broadsword Online Games. If the move goes ahead, development of SWTOR will continue and most of the developers are expected to move to this studio.
Last updated 8th June 2023 with further comments from Keith Kanneg and former SWTOR developers.
EA gave a statement to IGN more or less confirming the news.
“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.”EA (via IGN)
According to EA, they want to continue to support the game and do what’s best for the players. IGN’s reporting indicates that Bioware will, going forward, focus its resources on Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
Keith Kanneg, Game Director for SWTOR, made a statement on the SWTOR Forums addressing the news.
Hi all ,
No doubt you’ve read the reports that Electronic Arts is evaluating opportunities to give the game and the team a new home, which includes conversations with Broadsword. Unfortunately, we can’t answer any questions you may have at this time.
Game Update 7.3’s June release will remain unchanged and patch notes will be released a day before per usual.
All future content updates are also moving forward as planned, including 7.3.1 and 7.4. We are looking forward to the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic and its continued growth.
–KeithKeith Kanneg (SWTOR Forums)
Keith has assured players that content will continue to be released at least for the time with 7.3 due out in June, and 7.3.1 and 7.2 still in the works. What the post-7.3 content releases will look like remains to be seen. There are plenty of questions that will need to be answered when the deal is finalised. I’m most interested in knowing if the planned migration from physical hardware servers to the Amazon Cloud is still in the works.
The studio in question to take over SWTOR, Broadsword Online Games, keeps old MMORPGs, Ultima Online and Age of Camelot running. They describe themselves as a small, highly experienced and dedicated group of passionate gamers.
Player speculation about this news has been off the charts. Some have celebrated the move saying it could revive the game from its current content-poor (in terms of update size/frequency) state, while others fear it could be plunged completely into maintenance mode.
For me, it is certainly surprising, (given the amount of backend work that has been put into the game to modernise it over the past couple of years), that EA is making this move. But why make this move at all? What is happening at Bioware that perhaps instigated this move? Or does EA simply no longer wish to invest in the game?
This could be a move to save an IP that’s doing decently well and separate it from Bioware who is rumoured to be having issues. Regardless, it’s a positive sign that EA chose to move SWTOR to another studio rather than shut it down. Although if the deal does not go through, perhaps this is still a possibility.
What will that mean for SWTOR once it moves to Broadsword (or another studio)? We’ll either continue to see a similar cadence in content frequency (and size) to what we have now or, it will gradually get reduced to the point where the game is in true maintenance mode. But it’s hard to say at this stage. Perhaps the acquisition of SWTOR is an indicator of a change in the direction for the small studio, especially with new developers coming in and a likely increase in revenue (at least initially).
At this stage, I don’t think there’s too much cause for concern just yet. The fact that EA is not outright shutting the game down has given me some hope. The fact is, we don’t know anything about the deal and what it will do to the game we still love. There’s no sense in going down crazy rabbit holes speculating. What happens, happens and there’s nothing we can do about it. I feel it will either be a good thing for the game or it will spell its doom. Regardless, my main concern right now is for the SWTOR developers and I wish them well.
For the time being, I will continue to stream SWTOR and perhaps occasionally do some guides and articles right here on MMO Bits. But I will also be looking to place greater focus on other games (such as New World). As is always the lesson with content creation, never put all your eggs in one basket.
[UPDATE] Keith Kanneg has made another statement emphasising this deal is a new beginning, not the end of the game.
Whoa whoa everyone… I was hoping me telling you about the upcoming releases would help you understand this is a new beginning, not the end.
We have more stories, modernizations, and MMO content already being planned out beyond 7.4. While details are being discussed and finalized behind the scenes, let’s not spin this into incorrect theories. I am asking you to hang tight and we’ll follow up later with more details when we can.
-KeithKeith Kanneg, SWTOR Forums
[UPDATE 2] Former SWTOR Developers Chris Schmidt and Damien Schubert have also weighed in on the news in tweet threads. Both have very interesting insights into the benefits of the deal for SWTOR.
At this point, all we can do is wait until the SWTOR Devs and Broadsword Online Games are able to talk about the deal. I don’t see any cause for concern at this stage despite the track record of Bioware and EA. We don’t know enough about the circumstances to draw conclusions. The only thing that would cause me to panic at this point is if the deal falls apart.