The popular online massively multiplayer games The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online are both getting new developers. According to Polygon, Turbine Entertainment is going to hand off the responsibilities for its two MMORPGs to a new independent gaming studio called Standing Stone Games.
Longtime executive producer for The Lord of the Rings Online, Rob Ciccolini, stated on the game’s website that they’ll continue to remain working on keeping the game on track.
Although a great many exciting things are happening on our end, you’ll be able to continue playing the game(s) you enjoy with as little interruption as possible. Our development continues on track, and the plans we have already announced remain firmly in our future view. Again, although we are a new studio, we are also the same developers who have been and will continue to work on our games.
It’s not clear yet if Rob will remain with Turbine but judging from his post on the blog, it appears as though he will remain working on the game and thus will be joining the Standing Stones developmental team. Part of the indie studio is already made up of previous game developers from Turbine, so it looks like Rob would have an opening spot in the new studio.
Turbine has not publicly stated why they’ve decided to hand-off both of their popular MMORPG games to Standing Stone, but Gamasutra had previously reported this summer that the studio had been laying off people (under the guidance of owner Warner Bros. Interactive) as part of a transition within the gaming studio to focus on F2P mobile games.
Standing Stone will work alongside Daybreak Game Company (formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment) to develop the game. Daybreak will bring some knowledge to the table, having sustained EverQuest for an entire 17 years.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons Online and next April will mark The Lord of the Rings Online’s 10 year anniversary, which is quite impressive given that they’ve been able to maintain momentum for that duration. According to the transition FAQ, little is expected to change during the transition between developers. All the servers will remain the same, which is reassuring for LotRO and D&DO fans.