About this time last year, Electronic Arts tweaked its organizational structure to lump BioWare and Mythic Entertainment into a newly formed massively multiplayer online/role-playing game group. The move put BioWare heads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk atop the pyramid, while longtime Mythic boss and cofounder Mark Jacobs departed the company. Now, EA has taken one more step toward folding the two studios together, confirming for GameSpot today that Mythic Entertainment has been renamed BioWare Mythic.
The move comes as Mythic continues to struggle gaining traction with its big-budget fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Having received solid reviews following its September 2008 launch, Warhammer Online initially appeared to be on a World of Warcraft-challenging trajectory. Three weeks after launch, the game peaked at 750,000 registered users, but that figure had dwindled to just 300,000 by February 2009. EA has not offered an updated subscriber count since then.
In March 2009, Mythic announced that it would be taking 63 of the game's servers offline in an effort to consolidate the evaporating player base. Mythic was also reportedly heavily affected by EA's substantial headcount reduction enacted at the end of 2009. According to unconfirmed reports, more than one-third of the studio was laid off as part of EA's 1,500-job culling.
Mythic's new status as a BioWare studio makes it the second MMORPG-focused outfit within the Edmonton, Canada-based developer's structure. The other studio, BioWare Austin, is currently at work on EA's next big effort to crack the MMORPG market, Star Wars: The Old Republic. That title is currently slated for a 2011 launch on the PC.
EA did not indicate whether Mythic's role within the company would change or whether the rebranding would affect Warhammer Online.