It’s hard for any massively multiplayer game that’s not World of Warcraft to maintain momentum for five or six years, much less a decade. Yet The Lord of the Rings Online is coming up on its 10-year anniversary, and Dungeons & Dragons Online celebrated 10 years earlier this year. Both games were developed by Turbine, and both have been inching along with the support of publisher Warner Bros. Interactive.
Yesterday, both The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online received a surprising new lease on life, with Warner Bros. giving them a chance to continue with a new developer and publisher. As announced in an FAQ on The Lord of the Rings Online website, development of both games will now be handled by Standing Stone Games, “a newly-formed independent game studio made up of the same groups that have been working on LOTRO and DDO for years.”
Standing Stone Games will receive publishing support from Daybreak Game Company, the group formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment. Daybreak knows all about making old MMOs sustainable — it’s been supporting EverQuest with fresh content for a whopping 17 years. It also knows all about shifting products from a big publisher to an independent operation; Daybreak Game Company was built out of a sold-off Sony Online Entertainment in early 2015.
In a message from The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online executive producer Rob Ciccolini, Standing Stone said it “remain[s] very much committed to both games and [is] thrilled to continue development.” The new studio is promising a continued flow of new content to both MMOs, as well as “as little interruption as possible” in service during the transition.
According to the FAQ, Turbine still exists as a studio and “will continue on the development of their products.” Turbine’s most recent releases include the mobile title Batman: Arkham Underworld and Infinite Crisis, a DC Comics-themed multiplayer online battle arena that shut down in August 2015, just months after its launch.
Polygon has reached out to Warner Bros. for updates on Turbine’s continued role with the publisher and will update this story if we hear back.