So much for the pre-Christmas slow news week.
“The game teams responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) are now moving from Turbine to Standing Stone Games, a newly formed indie game studio. In addition, we’ve partnered with Daybreak Games to provide global publishing services. They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise.”
You can read the full statement from Turbine here, as well as an FAQ on the forums. The language is of the typical “nothing will change, everything will still work fine” variety, but change is always scary. Doubly so for involving LOTRO, which, despite some reassurances, still hasn’t resolved that pesky “Will it still be running after 2017?” question. (EDIT: The FAQ does say “We’ve updated our licensing agreements without issue.” I’d still like to see something shouted out a little more loudly, for PR purposes.)
And triply so for involving a totally new company in the development of both LOTRO and DDO. There’s not much out there regarding Standing Stone Games, other than a trademark filing dated Oct. 25, 2016. The announcement makes it sound like the dev team for Turbine’s former games is moving to the new company, which is located in Needham, Mass., the same Boston-area suburb as Turbine.
And quadruply (is that a word?) so for involving everyone’s favorite, Daybreak Game Company, which will now serve as LOTRO’s and DDO’s global publisher. On the bright side, while Daybreak hasn’t fared all that well at producing its own new games over the past few years, it’s at least managed to keep its older titles running pretty smoothly. So this part of the announcement probably isn’t anything to be too worked up over, but like I said … change is scary. We’ll try reaching out to all parties involved to see if we can’t score more details.
I’m more than a little lapsed, but as a longtime Lord of the Rings Online player, my feelings about all this are … OK, I guess? At the very least, I don’t see the two MMOs as changing any more than they would have if the games had stayed with Turbine. They’ve received continued development, including several solid content pieces the last few years, but are clearly showing their age. If nothing else, Daybreak knows how to keep older games alive — look at EverQuest and EverQuest II. It might not draw in a ton of new fans, but I’m fairly certain it’ll keep the old ones reasonably satisfied.
What’s your take on this surprising news?