FEB. 5, 2014 • Two classic Electronic Arts MMOs, Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot, are being moved from division Mythic Entertainment to a new independent studio, Broadsword Online Games. Broadsword was started by a group of Mythic alumni including co-founder Rob Denton. EA retains ownership of both MMOs along with billing and account services through its Origin online distribution service. Broadsword is partnering with EA and will carry on operation, development and support for Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot moving forward. Launched back in 1997, Ultima Online was originally developed by Origin Systems, which had been acquired by EA in 1992. Mythic Entertainment developed Dark Age of Camelot, which was originally published by Vivendi Games in 2001. Mythic was acquired by EA in 2006.
Impact: These two early MMOs helped set the gold standard for the genre. Which explains why after all of these years both titles are still in operation. Despite those stalwart players who are still active in Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot, a decision could have been easily made to shut down both MMOs to shift resources elsewhere. With the current focus on new mobile games such as the new Dungeon Keeper, it is obvious that EA wants Mythic to concentrate on iOS and Android platforms. Moving these MMOs to Broadsword helps facilitate that focus by removing two resource-intensive services from the mix. On the flip side, the move should be well received by Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot players. Broadsword intends to take the payments it receives from EA to modernize and improve existing content, complete long-awaited improvements, create new content, plus improve customer support and outreach. That Broadsword is staffed with people with intimate knowledge of both MMOs is a big positive. EA often gets flak for running roughshod over its franchises, but in these cases, the publisher went the extra mile to treat two of its older titles with great care.