One year ago, video-game developer BioWare was prepping for the release of its big-budget massively multiplayer online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In our December 2011/January 2012 story, "A Force to Be Reckoned With," both analysts and company executives agreed that meaningful success couldn't be measured for a year. Now, despite an impressive launch—the fastest-growing subscription MMO in history with more than 2 million copies sold in its first month—the game has fallen down to earth. In May, EA announced the loss of 400,000 subscribers, prompting layoffs and the decision to turn the game free-to-play. In September, studio founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk announced their retirement via the BioWare blog.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.