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Reader Comments (73)

Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:02PM (Unverified) said

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Hmmm, should I take this as a bad sign? :(

Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:08PM aurickle said

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@(Unverified)
Not at all. When you look at their roles in development of SWTOR, the majority of their work ended before the game launched. Sure, they could continue to work on content updates (especially the two artists) but they also have staff members working for them -- there will be no trouble choosing someone to promote to take over.

Development will go on without a hiccup.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:12PM PhelimReagh said

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I don't think so. These guys were there innovating the new product, and likely most of the challenge is long gone for them at this stage of SWTOR, post release. And in the interim, they probably noticed some gaps in the market that they think they can fill.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 4:58PM (Unverified) said

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@PhelimReagh Sure, the lead combat designer position has some sense of "closure" when the game launches, but there is a lot to balance and fix with combat in SWTOR and its a surprise that the lead for that team is leaving. This is not necessarily a bad sign, but it is most definitely not a good sign for the current incarnation of the game's combat. Lets face it, the current combat system needs work, him leaving could end up being a "good sign" in the end.

As for the other two... when the lead artists of two separate teams leave the company it can not ever be looked at as a good sign. It can't even be looked on with neutrality. Losing two key people in the overall aesthetic of an MMO soon after launch is never a good thing. That being said, if you like the current look of the game, then this is definitely a bad thing. However, if you are like most people I talk to and would like a tweak to the current art style, then this may be just what you are looking for.

Yet, no matter how you look at it, losing people that could, should and would be a part of your "maintenance & content update" team is never a good sign for a new game.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 5:00PM Utakata said

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@PhelimReagh

I concure...

...and to add, I believe a few WoW devs left Blizz to form Guild Wars. And a few ArenaNet devs have left GW2 to create Undead Labs. Niether action appears to have hurt those games respectively.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 5:13PM Halfcentaur said

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@(Unverified) if there's the slightest chance in hell and valhalla for people on a video game or news site to take something as a bad sign, you're guaranteed to see it happen here. Blood in the water! The sky is falling!
I'm looking forward to trying this game out when they patch the textures, even though it looks gorgeous now. I would not let something like this get you down unless you absolutely love the style and content these specific people were responsible for, which is not possible really to discern without examples to compare at this point.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 5:17PM henbot said

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@PhelimReagh

What exactly was the "innovating" bit you are talking about?

Always nice to see people following their creative passions best of luck to them.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 6:14PM jimr9999us said

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@(Unverified)

Agreed. Combat and Art style are both weaknesses. Good luck to these guys in their future endeavors, but this is a good sign for TOR.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 6:18PM aurickle said

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He wasn't the combat designer. He was the lead combat programmer. There's a big difference because the programmer is really just implementing the systems that someone else designed.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 6:30PM Borick said

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@aurickle I see that as part of the problem.

It's like that bull they spilled about turning their storytellers into game designers. I don't think that it works that way.

Top-down development by engineers and eggheads has an issue with ignoring emergent possibilities that a bottom-up technician can't. Of course, the technician can't do without the engineer or he'll lose sight of the forest for the trees, but ideally I think that the development should meet somewhere in the middle.

Bioware seems to have gone with a very top-down process approach to developing their game. The technicians and programmers are crucial to the design process, not just drones carrying out orders.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 7:58PM Ekphrasis said

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@henbot

Not sure where the 'innovating' bit came in either.

I personally find combat rather clunky and un-enjoyable in SWTOR. About the only new idea here seems to be the cover mechanic.

Regardless of my personal views on the game, I wish these guys well in their future endeavours and look forward to seeing what they create. They've been part of EA/Bioware for a while now and I'm sure there have been some great lessons to take to their new project.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 8:27PM Cirocco said

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@Utakata

//...and to add, I believe a few WoW devs left Blizz to form Guild Wars. And a few ArenaNet devs have left GW2 to create Undead Labs. Niether action appears to have hurt those games respectively.//
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That's pretty much how I see it. They want to move onto a different project instead of being anchored to SWTOR (perhaps it's a case of creative burnout or even creative differences), and I wish them well for whatever creative pursuits steers them.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 8:47PM Bladerunner83 said

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@Utakata
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 8:51PM Bladerunner83 said

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@Utakata

"...and to add, I believe a few WoW devs left Blizz to form Guild Wars. Niether action appears to have hurt those games respectively. "

Those game may be safe, but Bill Roper has ruined a few with his reputation after leaving Blizzard North. Now was that a good thing for Blizzard or a bad thing?

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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 10:38PM Utakata said

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@Bladerunner83

Thankfully, he was the exception and not the rule.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2012 1:39PM mizcal said

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@Utakata

A lot of Blizz developers also left to start indie projects. The head developer who originally started WoW, back in vanilla days, is making his own MMO. There was a big legal battle with Blizz and he ended up on the winning side, giving him the money to start his own game.

I know of a few indie studios in the same area as Blizz, started by former employees, who are working on their own games.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:11PM Tedstery said

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Good luck to them :)

Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:11PM pcgneurotic said

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@General

I hardly think 3 people getting burned-out on doing the same thing for 5 years straight and wanting to do something fresh, is a "bad sign". -10 points for Obvious Trolling.

Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:14PM (Unverified) said

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@pcgneurotic

It was an actual question. If it was obvious trolling, my name would be Mtor
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Posted: Feb 20th 2012 3:21PM Cyroselle said

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@pcgneurotic might just be a concerned customer, but yeah, 5 years is actually the average for burnout among programers.

And considering the extreme example of niche the game they're working on is, this might be more of a labor of love than anything. I'll bet those three have a lot of late-night iTabletop sessions together.
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