BioWare to offload Star Wars: The Old Republic to refocus on single-player games

The return of BioWare's key franchises may require it to stop working on the Star Wars MMO it's developed for 12 years.

BioWare's time with Star Wars: The Old Republic may be at an end. 

According to a recent IGN report, the developer will send its MMO to another studio in order to refocus on single-player games. BioWare's Dragon Age is set to return with a new installment, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, in the near future; it announced a fifth Mass Effect game back in 2020.

Per IGN, the plan is for Old Republic third-party studio Broadsword to handle the MMO going forward, while Electronic Arts continues to publish. The studio has previously taken development reigns on MMOs such as Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online.

Star Wars: The Old Republic first launched back in 2011, and it's been one of the BioWare's key games over the years. It went free-to-play almost a full year after launch and back in July 2022, lost its longtime creative director, Christian Boyd

At least half of the 70-80 person core team of Old Republic will reportedly be sent to Broadsword. Others will either be transferred to other roles in EA or may potentially be laid off. 

EA told the outlet that it was "evaluating how we give the game and the team the best opportunity to grow and evolve, which includes conversations with Broadsword. [...] Our goal is to do what is best for the game and its players.”

BioWare returns to the single-player stable 

Though BioWare is a studio best known for solo outings such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age (and also Star Wars, once upon a time), multiplayer has long been a part of the studio's DNA. 

Its very first game, 1996's Shattered Steel for the MS-DOS, had multiplayer, as did the studio's Baldur's Gate titles and the original Neverwinter Nights. But from 2003's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic through 2011's Dragon Age II, the developer's titles were single-player affairs. 

After The Old Republic's launch, multiplayer returned to BioWare games. Mass Effect 3 had a four-player co-op mode, as did 2014's Dragon Age: Inquisition and 2017's Mass Effect: Andromeda. The studio had many multiplayer-only games in the works like Shadow Realms, but those were cancelled for one reason or another. 

2019's Anthem marked the first multiplayer-focused BioWare game (that wasn't an MMO), and suffered plenty of development issues. Despite the studio's efforts to create a soft reboot dubbed Anthem Next, EA canceled the endeavor in 2021. Shortly after, BioWare said Dragon Age: Dreadwolf would be a single-player title.

At time of writing, it's unknown if the next Mass Effect title will also be strictly single-player, or feature a co-op mode similar to earlier titles.  

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