After the disaster that was Anthem, it should be good news that BioWare is recommitting to singleplayer games, but as the company bids farewell to Star Wars: The Old Republic and confirms layoffs, it's more bittersweet.
BioWare general manager Gary McKay confirmed that Broadsword Online Games would be taking over SWTOR to allow BioWare to focus on Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Broadsword is a veteran MMO studio with experience at taking over MMOs and was founded by Rob Denton, a former BioWare VP who was involved in SWTOR's development. It was previously suggested that the current team would be joining the third-party studio, and while this is still the case, unfortunately not all jobs are being saved.
"No big change comes without challenges," wrote McKay. "Among them is the fact that most of the current team will be invited to accompany the game on its move to Broadsword, though unfortunately not every role will make the move. This is the hardest part of this transition, and these decisions were not made lightly."
Whether this is due to the team downsizing or because Broadsword wants to keep its own people in some positions isn't clear, but either way it's a terrible shame after the SWTOR team managed to keep the MMO running successfully while so many other MMOs fell by the wayside. It's not much of a reward.
McKay adds that those affected—the number has not been made public—will "have an opportunity to find new roles within EA".
In a post early in the month, SWTOR producer Keith Kanneg promised players more updates, storylines and "modernization initiatives", and that the change in developer should not affect players. Kanneg will continue to work on SWTOR over at Broadsword. Hopefully the MMO has a lot more life left. I know I'm not quite done with it yet. Though I'd be more interested in a Star Wars: The Old Republic 2, as unlikely as that is to ever happen.