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Turbine Exits Middle Earth! Hello SSG

(This post was last modified: 05 May, 17, 13:04 by Arohtar.)

In December 2016, Turbine spun off it’s Lord of the Rings Online (and DDO) teams into a new studio called Standing Stone Games (SSG). The transition was pulled off very smoothly and thus seems to have been in the works for the best part of a year. Here is the announcement from EP Rob Ciccolini which accompanied the takeover:

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 addit
ion, 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!

Here’s some of what we’ve learned about SSG thus far:
  • SSG is fully independent and “Turbine will no longer be involved in the development of LOTRO and DDO.” However, the SSG remains at Turbine HQ where  the existing office was split into two separate spaces
  • The games will continue on with their existing data centres, business models, account systems, and so forth
  • A direct quote here: “Daybreak Game Company’s role as publisher for LOTRO and DDO should have no impact on any existing Daybreak games”
  • All of the devs/employees who worked on the LOTRO and DDO teams moved over to SSG with the transition
  • SSG seem to have more money at their disposal. Additional staff members have joined the team and they’ve confirmed research is underway and resources have been put aside towards a 64-bit client
  • Communication has improved hugely from the Turbine days. Devs are now regularly seen on the forums and LOTRO is now far more conspicuous on social media. The 10th Anniversary livestream (on FB/Twitch/YT) is a great example of this, with every dev from Localisation to Landscape showing up to discuss their work
So far the mood amongst players has been mostly positive with the typical reactions ranging from “cautiously optimistic” to “refrained enthusiasm.” Long may it continue!
Be sure to check out my report on the current state of the game here.

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