The Star Wars MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic is changing development studios. In a developer blog on the BioWare website, BioWare general manager Greg McKay wrote that while EA will remain the game’s publisher, active development will move from BioWare to Broadsword — the studio known for its work on Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot.
“Players will continue to enjoy the SWTOR they know and love,” McKay wrote. “There are also exciting new features planned that the team is not quite ready to talk about yet, but suffice it to say that players can expect improvements and new content into the future.”
SWTOR’s studio move was long rumored. Earlier this month, IGN reported that EA and Broadsword signed a letter of intent indicating that SWTOR would indeed be changing developers. In a statement to IGN, EA wrote:
“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.”
In addition to that statement, McKay posted on the SWTOR forums reassuring players that the game would still be actively supported. “All future content updates are also moving forward as planned.”
Under McKay’s post, some fans expressed dismay, fearing that the move would mean SWTOR, which was released back in 2011, would enter what they called “maintenance mode,” whereby the game would only receive minor updates just to keep the game running and no longer receive big content additions.
SWTOR executive producer Keith Kanneg addressed those fears in his own statement on BioWare’s blog, reminding fans of the game’s most recent updates and that all current plans for SWTOR updates would still proceed.
“We’re all excited about the future of this very special game,” Kanneg wrote. “We look forward to seeing that vision become reality alongside all our players and fans.”
This transition seemingly comes with layoffs, as McKay stated that while some SWTOR developers would move to Broadsword to continue working on the game, other roles would not be moved.
“This is the hardest part of this transition, and these decisions were not made lightly,” McKay wrote. “We are of course doing everything we can to support the affected team members, who have an opportunity to find new roles within EA.”
McKay concluded his statement by saying that this move would allow BioWare to refocus their efforts on developing the latest installment in both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, two of BioWare’s most celebrated franchises.