NOTE: No EverQuest II content.
Turbine has announced today that Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) are being spun off to Boston, MA-based Standing Stone Games. As part of the announcement, we’ve learned that the two Free-to-Play games will fall under the publication of Daybreak Games. It is unclear if the two new titles will become part of Daybreak’s confusingly titled “All Access” program which includes EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, and DC Universe Online, but excludes H1Z1:KotK, H1Z1: JS, and Landmark.
Here’s Turbine’s announcement:
Today we have some momentous news! 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.
With the announcement out of the way, I wanted to talk to you about what all this means.
We’re embarking on an exciting adventure as Standing Stone Games, a newly-independent studio staffed by people who have been working on DDO and LOTRO for many years. The teams remain very much committed to both games and are thrilled to continue development and operations of these games as an independent studio. This is an opportunity for us to bring about our dreams while still working on two of the biggest licenses in video games. It’s a huge honor, and for you this means your games will continue to grow and improve. We love to focus on games with a high level of depth and scope, and we can’t wait to show you what the future brings.
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.
Our success has always been possible because of your support. As we move forward, this is more important than ever. The ultimate goal of our new studio is to continue to bring you amazing experiences. We are excited for the future, and we’re thrilled to have you with us on this journey.
Here’s to great games, epic adventures, and memorable times with friends!
There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions which indicates that:
Daybreak Game Company’s role as publisher for LOTRO and DDO should have no impact on any existing Daybreak games.
In December, The Ancient Gaming Noob noticed my November 18, 2016 edits to the Wikipedia entry for Daybreak Games intimating Russell Shanks‘ October 2016 departure for personal reasons, and the elevation of Columbus Nova veteran and Daybreak Co-President Ji Ham to the role of Acting President. I considered posting the news of Shanks’ resignation after I’d confirmed the rumor from his Linkedin page but thought better of it.
In July 2015, Ji Ham was appointed Co-President of Daybreak Games as part of the abbreviated transition of John Smedley out of the company. As Russell Shanks had been Smedley’s right-hand man for over 15 years, it was unlikely that the changeover would lead to the kind of wholesale changes the company so desperately needs. Now with Ji at the helm, there’s the glimmer of hope that departments which have thus far been immune to any kind of scrutiny might see a turnaround.
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