DDO has been sold again. Not acquired, like it was last time when Turbine was bought out by Warner Brothers, but rather sold as a package, along with Lord of the Rings Online, to a suddenly-appearing brand new studio named Standing Stone Games.
I am not kidding about the suddenly-appearing part. The new company does not have any of the accoutrements one might expect from a gaming company, not even something as simple and free as a LinkedIn entry. I did stumble across a trademarked image application belonging to Standing Stone Games LLC dated late October, but I can’t find it now; you’ll have to trust me.
They do have a website, albeit one that is one page long, and it is one that has all the right licensing logos.
So … there it is, and there we are too.
It seems that all of the existing DDO and LotRO team has gone over to the new studio too. I hope they had a choice! Even more, I am hoping that this band of people who love our games might even have been involved in standing up Standing Stone. Because of love, and not because it was Standing Stone versus the unemployment line.
But maybe I am imagining things again.
Either way, for better or worse, we are now wedded til server shut down do us part. Us and Standing Stone Games. And their strangely-related partner, Daybreak Games, with whom I have had only unpleasant experiences – the game I was playing (Landmark) truncated, my position wiped, and the game I was following (Everquest Next) canceled outright. Daybreak is the scary part of this announcement.
I wonder why they need a publisher at all? Perhaps for cash-based reasons? Maybe Daybreak supplied the cash while Team Love supplied the people?
I don’t know.
I can tell you that the changeover has already taken place, at least so far as logos and employment titles go on the forums. A handful of game designer types have updated their LinkedIn to the new company, no one I’ve met, and interestingly enough not including Severlin or Cordovan.
But then LinkedIn profiles are hardly top priority; I wouldn’t make much of their absence.
I have to admit the biggest surprise to me was not the sale of DDO and LotRO; it was learning that Severlin has become the executive producer of both properties. When did that happen? They must really be operating on a skeleton crew over there.
You can check out the official announcement here. Several DDO devs have chimed in to that thread to confirm they are moving to Standing Stone too. Cordovan also posted a “FAQ” about the move, but it is devoid of much information and for the most part can be paraphrased “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic”.
So what does all this mean for us? Probably this is a good thing, in a way, in that the business people at Standing Stone will be geared for low expectations right from the get-go. Warner Bros is not like that, there was always a danger that someone would be annoyed by Turbine or DDO or some aspect of it and be willing to write off it’s relatively small income stream for any number of reasons.
We were probably lucky Turbine didn’t get closed down over Infinite Crisis. I’m sure it came up. I’ll bet it was close.
Standing Stone will not be like that, we will be their lifeblood. We’ll be the big fish in a very small pond. Depending, I suppose, on their relationship with Daybreak Games, which may represent a larger pond.
The last time we were sold, it was to a company with deep pockets and tremendous resources. It gave Turbine the opportunity to build out DDO in new directions, and kept the game fresh for years beyond its expected lifespan. Last time, the game got better.
This time it is more like … it probably won’t get worse. Probably we’ll have status quo, maybe for years to come.
That’s not so bad, is it?
And maybe they’ll start going to PAX and GenCon again.
🙂 😀 🙂