Star Wars: The Old Republic potentially being handed over from Bioware studio to Broadsword

News Date: June 6, 2023 Patch: 7.3 News Source

According to, a reputable gaming news source, Star Wars: The Old Republic may be changing hands from being developed by Bioware, over to a different studio called Broadsword.


  • Second post from Bioware (see below)
  • New thread from former Senior Designer (see below)


This story has not been fully confirmed, as the source was unnamed in the article, but the Bioware Developers did respond to the article on the forums with this message: “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.”

According to sources familiar with the matter, Broadsword and EA have signed a letter of intent, with the deal expected to be finalized as soon as this month. The agreement would see The Old Republic handed over to current Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot developer Broadsword Online, which is run by former Mythic Entertainment co-founder and BioWare VP Rob Denton, who previously worked on The Old Republic in its early days.

After the publication of this story, EA addressed the news in the following statement:

“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.”

Currently, roughly 70-80 people are part of the core development team of The Old Republic, more than half of whom are expected to move to Broadsword. Those remaining with EA would have an opportunity to look for roles elsewhere within the company, but may otherwise face layoffs. –

While the news is not confirmed, between the statement by EA and the post on the official SWTOR forums, it’s far from a baseless rumor.

The biggest question players seem to have is whether the game will continue to be developed, or be placed into maintenance mode, where it still runs but no longer has substantial updates. The Bioware Developers have assured players that updates 7.3 and 7.4 will continue as planned.

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. – Keith Kanneg, Forums

Without further official statement, and only IGN as a main source of information, players are speculating about the future of the game and how its development will be like under Broadsword.

Update: Keith Kanneg, the Game Director, posted this as a follow-up to his previous forum post!

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. -Keith Kanneg, Forums


Swtorista: I do not have any additional information to go off of, so I don’t have many theories about what’s coming in the future of the game. I have put together a list of questions, some of which I have guesses for but no facts or proof, and I would like to know more about the answers to these questions in the future:

  • Is this an upgrade or a downgrade for the state of the game?
  • Were the recent 64-bit and AWS Server changes in prep for this? We were surprised by the news because we thought those were developed in house and were meant to make the future of the game more solid and easier to work on in-house, and to grow the game.
  • Is there any expectations or updates beyond 7.4, is the game mainly going into maintenance mode / cash shop after this point? (UPDATE: “We have more stories, modernizations, and MMO content already being planned out beyond 7.4.”)
  • Is Ashley Ruhl the Narrative Director, and Caitlin Sullivan Kelly the Lead Writer moving over? ex are we going to continue the story or calling it quits after 7.3/7.4? (Update: While Bioware/EA has always refused to answer staffing questions for security, they did say: “We have more stories, modernizations, and MMO content already being planned out beyond 7.4.”)
  • What other staff members are moving over, or getting new roles at Bioware, or being laid off? Was the whole team invited to work at Broadsword?
  • As far as I can tell, Broadsword has fourteen employees, is this true? “Our Company – Broadsword Online Games We have a team of 14 passionate, hard-core gamers with centuries of combined experience creating, running and evolving online games. Broadsword is totally focused on two games – Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot. Our team of producers, designers, engineers, artists, CSRs and QA analysts works day and night to make sure that UO and DAoC continue to provide delightful and compelling experiences to Every Player, Every Day” (linkedin: Company size 11-50 employees, 30 on LinkedIn Includes members with current employer listed as Broadsword Online Games, including part-time roles.)
  • I tried looking up Broadsword Online, and Mythic Entertainment/Broadsword has a website that isn’t https secure and looks like it was made by someone just starting to learn CSS, and two games that I didn’t realize were still actually running because other players talk about them in the same wistful sense as Wildstar. In addition,  Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning ran for about 5 years before shutting down. Between those who are transferring over, and those currently on the team, is there enough developers on hand to handle a more modern game, both technical as well as financial?
  • Broadsword seemed to have picked up Ultima Online in 2014 from Mythic, and then after that there was a final expansion in 2015. Is this the same procedure we will be seeing for SWTOR?
  • The relationship between Origin-EA-Mythic-Broadsword seems really complicated. Ultima Online users actually seem to feel animosity towards EA after purchasing the game, Where does SWTOR fit into this relationship?
  • Is it actually “expected to be finalized as soon as this month”? (UPDATE: “While details are being discussed and finalized behind the scenes, […] I am asking you to hang tight and we’ll follow up later with more details when we can.”)
  • Does this have any relation to the Ubisoft game coming out? Ex when SWTOR launched, SWG sunsetted?
  • My current work is directly affected by the success and continued updates of the game. From all of the above, things look like the game is heading into maintenance then sunset mode. Am I incorrect?

Former Design Director Thread

Chris Schmidt, a former recent developer on the team, and now Game Director at Infinity Ward Austin, wrote about his thoughts on the news in a large twitter thread. I’ve included it for easier reading below with some of my own images.

As Chris Schmidt is not a current employee, he can not give an opinion based on current information, but he did have a very interesting write-up about the culture of the Bioware studio.

My take on the SWTOR/BioWare split:

For SWTOR: This is a Good Thing

For BioWare: This is a Big Loss

A thread:

My point of view is someone who worked for BioWare Austin on SWTOR from 2009 as an Assistant World Designer through 2022 as Design Director (with some Anthem, Shadow Realms, and <NDA> years sprinkled about).

BioWare Austin (BWA) was its own studio for many years, founded in order to make that game. MMO’s are expensive, y’all.

We didn’t really collaborate with BioWare Edmonton (BWE) on the dev side much, because there was no need to (with some exceptions – they had built the original on-rails space shooting component, for example).

As a business, in this model all revenue and expenses roll up into the greater whole (BioWare), which then roll into EA’s Group, and so on.

After many years, this model shifted and changed, for a large variety of reasons I won’t get into. BWA would no longer be a separate entity, but under the same core leadership as BWE – One BioWare (BW).

What this meant realistically was you had a boxed product business that had been tried and true for years, combined with a live service MMO business that wasn’t really understood by the boxed product folks. Arguably by EA either, to be fair.

You see, MMO’s can be fairly predictable if they run long enough. We knew the SWTOR business very well. We knew how to turn every dollar invested in the game into several more. SWTOR was (and continues to be) a very profitable business, with loads of heart behind it.

But an older game isn’t sexy. It’s not new. It doesn’t get marketing orgs excited or social media teams jazzed. It’s a ‘legacy game’, despite the mountains of income coming in that other franchises are built off of.

And you FELT it, as a member of the team. It’s a fantastic dev team, filled with incredible talent. How then, with such a close-knit team, did you always feel less-than?

Well, just take a look around. Look at BW’s social media posts and count the proportion of SWTOR game/fan/anything posts compared to ME or DA. [Swtorista: The last post about SWTOR on the official Bioware twitter was on May 4th, over a month ago.]

Remember that BioWare 25th anniversary book? The beautiful 328 page recollection of BioWare’s history, and celebration of all franchises?

For a game like SWTOR that had been live already for 9 of those 25 years at the time of publication, how many pages, dear reader, do you think had any SWTOR imagery or content at all? Ten. Teams notice this. They feel it, and it feels like shit.

Does BW despise SWTOR? I don’t think so – they don’t understand it, and it was someone else’s game. Does EA despise SWTOR? I don’t think so – it’s a legacy live service, and again, was someone else’s game.

As a dev on SWTOR, you feel like your game is a burden to all of the layers above you, but you persist. You put so much heart and passion into the game, and you thrive on the fans and tremendous partnership with LucasFilm.

So to bring us back to current news, imagine a team excited about a game, with incredible plans, that have felt ‘less-than’ by their own studio and company for years, being unleashed.

Being part of an org that KNOWS the MMO business, and understands those player communities and the incredible stories and connections they form.

This feels like an exciting new chapter to me, and I’m optimistic about what this means for that team and the game. SWTOR is, to the best of my knowledge, the longest-running Star Wars anything, ever. It’s a special game and I’m so happy to see where the team takes it.

As far as BW, it would have certainly be in their best interest as a business to maximize exposure and support for SWTOR publicly over the years, since the SWTOR revenue has allowed for the…unusually long…dev cycles to continue for the last several games.

But now without SWTOR, there will be less places to hide heads, R&D, and time. You’ve got blockbuster single-player experiences hitting high Metacritic scores with…2-3 year dev cycles? And the BW pattern has been…double? Triple that?

I think it will be interesting to see how the EA/BW relationship continues to evolve in this new world.

Former Senior Designer Thread

If you enjoyed that thread, you may also enjoy this thread from Damion Schubert, a former Senior Designer / Lead Designer / Director of Microtransactions Design at Bioware from 2006-2014, and now Creative Director at Boss Fight (a Netflix game studio). large twitter thread. I’ve included it for easier reading below.

As Damion Schubert has not worked for Bioware for a long time, he can not give an opinion based on current information, but he has posted about his experience with Bioware many times in the past.

If the recent rumors of Broadsword buying SWTOR are true – which I believe by the way – it could be very good for SWTOR. SWTOR still earns considerable money if you’re a small studio like Broadsword. Them investing more in the title frankly makes more sense than EA doing so.

The confounding factor is, of course, the shape of the deal and how big a cut EA gets from any ongoing revenue.

But SWTOR is still a lively game with dedicated spenders, and it gets a boost of users any time new Star Wars content comes out.

Another way to think about this conundrum is that if you were an executive and you had a choice between investing in SWTOR or instead investing in FIFA or Madden, what would you do?

Back when the same discussion happened around UO [Ultima Online]… a dev buck spent on UO would return 2x or 3x. For Madden or FIFA, that’d be 5x to 10x. Or you could invest in a new IP (like a new MMO that might have better returns).

When you look at it that way – where is the best place to spend your investment – supporting MMOs makes less sense. But if you’re a company like Broadsword, that smaller return looks like an absolute bonanza.

When thinking about the decisions that companies make, its always important to look at the big picture and realize that companies of different scale and at different places value things very differently. It doesn’t make things less maddening, but they do start to make more sense.

The flip side is that, of course, EA has more money than God, so if you wanted a huge mammoth expansion, EA’s deep pockets would make that feasible. Broadsword would have a much harder time doing that.

Which is true, but belies the point that EA would likely never do that again.

[Damion also replied to a few comments in the thread.]

Poster: Indeed, feel EA and BioWare dropped the ball a bit and failed to take advantage of what Fallen Empire had promised, Legacy of the Sith wasn’t great and the content gaps are crippling. A lot of pressure for a smaller developer.

Damion Schubert’s Reply: The counterpoint is that user expectations will likely be readjusted due to the smaller developer. People expect huge spends from a company like EA, but are more likely to understand the plight of the small plucky dev studio.

Part of the core problem with SWTOR’s core design (which I was totally a party to making) is that the core content that everybody really wants is incredibly expensive to do well. That was always doomed to slow down. Hard to say where it goes in the new reality.

Poster: Some thoughts: EA is cost cutting, and SWTOR active development is a good target to shop to other interested parties, while still remaining the publisher. An MMO caretaking specialist is a good option. Word is that all studios are being asked to cut cost, as EA runs “the plan.”

Damion Schubert’s Reply: Normally, EA does their cost cutting in March (i.e. before their fiscal year ends at the end of that month). At Origin, it just happened to coincide with the blooming of the cherry trees out front in the spring, which became an often joked about harbinger of doom.

Player Opinions

If you’d like to read some more on player’s thoughts on the matter, here are some places to take a peek:

Just in-case you’re worried about the state of the guides/site/videos/livestreams, don’t worry, although I can’t predict the future of the game, it does seem the game is planning to remain online for the future, so I’ll still be covering it. We’ve got some really cool projects in the works like the interactive world Maps, and I still have a high interest in SWTOR and any of its future updates – we are all ready for 7.3 to release with lots of guides and fun stuff to check out. I have no intentions of taking down the site or letting it lapse, even if I do eventually take up another game (something we’ve been dipping our toes into since the beginning of the year, as we get closer and closer to having written every guide I wanted to have written!). I do however have some biggggggg in-real-life changes coming up including a move, some family stuff, and a lot of elbow-work so there may be a bit less content, but the great news is since the beginning of the year there’s also been a second player working on the site named Zahk who is also still excited to be working on this guides/coverage project. Cheers and I’ll let you know of anything more I learn as usual! My Twitter is where I post breaking news as I gather information for guides and articles.

UPDATE: Feeling even better now that it’s been confirmed by the Game Director that there are plans, modernization and stories even beyond 7.4! Hoping the developers can release more information soon, I am guessing there is business or legal reasons why they can not give more details immediately.

What to expect in Update 7.3 in SWTOR, Old Wounds / Shrine of Silence! – NOW LIVE!