After more than a decade at the helm of Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare is handing the reins of the MMO to a third-party studio, rumoured to be Broadsword Online Games. This has naturally left the game's assortment of Jedi, smugglers and other adventurers wondering what this means for the future of The Old Republic, and a recent developer update attempts to alleviate fears that it will be shunted into maintenance mode and left to stagnate.
"As I've said before, we are working on future plans including more story and modernization initiatives for the game," says game director Keith Kanneg. "We've upgraded the game to 64-bit, and are working on moving the servers to the cloud, and there are more content and tech updates on the way."
He adds that moving development to a third-party studio allows for a lot of creative freedom, though it's not clear why it will be any different from when BioWare was running the show.
The thrust of the post is that the change shouldn't really affect the playerbase. The site, forums and support system will remain the same, and nothing is going to be happening to any Cartel Coins you've splashed out on. The servers are moving to the cloud, however, but the other big changes have necessitated a reassessment of that timeline.
"I know that when something like this happens it can bring on feelings of doom and gloom," says Kanneg. "This isn't the beginning of the end, this truly is a new beginning for us. As you can imagine there are quite a few moving parts right now but we have a lot to talk about in our future."
These future things include update 7.3.1 at the end of the summer, which will be followed by 7.4 around the holidays. Kanneg also notes that more work is being done on "the tech side", including "improved integrations with Steam and updating to DirectX 12". Expect more details on those updates soon.
Development has slowed down quite a bit over the last few years, and BioWare's last expansion was quite poor, even though it introduced some fantastic quality of life features, like untangling classes and stories so that you can experience whatever story you want without being forced into a specific class. So maybe it is time for a change. And this doesn't mean the entire dev team is leaving—we don't know what shape the structural changes will be, just that the MMO will be under new management.