Turbine Entertainment has announced today that it's planning to hand the reigns on its free-to-play MMORPG's The Lord of the Ring's Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online to a new indie studio, Standing Stone Games.
There seem to be two big reasons for the switch. Turbine are laying off a lot of people as the studio sets its sights on free-to-play mobile titles, but also because Standing Stone Games is a studio that's housing a lot of staff that previously worked on both of the titles in question, so they've got the experience.
Turbine has been known for years primarily for their work with MMORPGs, and the fact that the company are handing over their responsibilities on two of their biggest MMORPGs to a fairly new studio could mean that their transition to F2P mobile is complete.
Standing Stone Games will be partnering with Daybreak Games, who will be providing "global publishing services" for the two titles moving forwards, and have said that very little about the game's day to day operation will actually change.
"Our development continues on track, and the plans we have already announced remain firmly in our future view," says a blog post on the Lord of the Rings Online website that is attributed to long-time executive producer Rob Ciccolini. "Again, although we are a new studio, we are also the same developers who have been and will continue to work on our games."
The blog post seems to suggest that Rob Ciccolini is now at Standing Stone Games, although his LinkedIn still marks him as a Turbine employee.