I was definitely surprised to see one of the first MMORPGs still alive enough for a company to obtain the licensed rights to manage the servers. The Realm Online has changed ownership in the past, which is no surprise for an older game like this -- especially when the parent companies no longer exist. For quite some time they've been owned (and still are) by Norseman Games.
This licensing deal allows for Rat Labs LLC to basically manage the game and continue its development.
Rat Labs plans to make some improvements.
"You can expect frequent Quality of Life (“QoL”) updates, and new additions to the existing client in the near to mid term (6-12) months. As announced the long-term goal is to develop a multiple platform solution to cover all of the major platforms."
From what the Wiki says, there will be a new engine built in Unity, as well as new servers and potentially a restart of characters on the new server. I suppose that does warrant the label of 'reboot'.
The Realm Online has always been a game with fond memories for me. I began my time playing back around 1995 when I was alpha testing the game alongside my friend. He had his parents sign the NDA for him, and then he somehow got a second copy that he gave to me. Those were definitely the days.
From there we were both playing for about a year. I continued to play for a few years past that, and even played right up until EverQuest launched. That's quite a run in a side-scrolling turn-based game!
I'll probably check out this revival project and see if they can bring back that old-timey feel! Heck, no game has ever been able to capture that magic of 'living the social game' quite like The Realm Online.