I read a report that EA is in talks to transfer development of Star Wars, The Old Republic from Bioware to another company. Any insights on this. Is it unusual to do something like this when the service has been live for over 10 years?

It is likely that the Bioware is having difficulty replacing the natural attrition affecting the SWTOR dev team over time. Every dev team will have some amount of natural turnover, be it devs finding new jobs elsewhere, devs getting transferred to other projects, devs quitting to spend more time with their families, devs leaving to start their own new studios, or whatever. Older projects like SWTOR don’t have the kind of cachet that Bioware’s other franchises like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, so SWTOR likely doesn’t necessarily attract as many applications for new hires to replace the devs leaving. This turnover also likely includes project leadership and senior development talent, which makes maintaining the game even more difficult because the departing seniors and leaders take a lot of that institutional knowledge with them when they go.

Broadsword specializes in taking over and maintaining “legacy” (old) online service games. Broadsword was founded by Mythic Entertainment co-founder Rob Denton and secured contracts with EA to handle two of their legacy online games - Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online. Picking up a third EA legacy online service game like SWTOR makes a lot of sense. Broadsword can focus their recruiting on developers interested in picking up legacy service games and bring over other experienced online devs to help out when needed. It makes sense from a business perspective where the original studio might not have the desire to continue running the games, but the players, the publisher, and other devs might still be interested in continuing to find a mutually beneficial transferring of the guard.

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