More turnover at BioWare

[UPDATE]: BioWare Austin cofounder, producer, and vice president Rich Vogel leaves Star Wars MMO team as layoffs at Texas capital city studio continue.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has lost one of its key designers, Gamasutra reports today. The site has learned that seven-year BioWare Austin staffer Rich Vogel has left the company. His departure from the firm follows news that the game had lost 400,000 subscribers and that BioWare was considering a change to a free-to-play business model.

Vogel is no longer building galaxies far, far away.

Vogel cofounded BioWare Austin in 2005 and helped beef up the studio's headcount from eight to over 350. At the company, he managed producers, artists, designers, and various other studio operations. It is unclear where Vogel is headed or if he will be replaced.

Prior to launching Star Wars: The Old Republic in December, Vogel worked at 3DO and Sony Online Entertainment, where he brought three other MMORPGs to market, including Meridian 59, Ultima Online, and Star Wars Galaxies.

Additionally, reports suggest a new round of layoffs at BioWare Austin was enacted today. It is not clear if this wave of pink slips is related to the restructuring plan BioWare announced in May that saw an unspecified number of staffers out of their jobs.

[UPDATE]: Electronic Arts has provided the following comment to GameSpot:

As announced in May and detailed at E3, the BioWare Austin team is refining Star Wars: The Old Republic to continue to grow the game and the service.

As with the launch of any MMO, the size and skillset of the teams needed to maintain the game is different than the ones that built it. Starting in May, there have been staff reductions in the BioWare Austin studio and Rich Vogel left BioWare in June. Some people have been platooned to other projects at BioWare Austin and EA SPORTS/Austin. Others have been released--qualifying personnel receive severance and outplacement assistance.

BioWare Austin is currently staffed to ensure the continued delivery of new, high quality game content for The Old Republic, and at a more frequent cadence. In the weeks ahead, we will announce plans for growing SWTOR with new content, new players and new ways to play.

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Discussion

230 comments
Darth_Haderach
Darth_Haderach

What he apparently managed to achieve was release a game that feels 5 years old the moment you start playing it. Hundreds of millions spent on a super production game and not a single real inovative feature in it, God...

blackothh
blackothh

Poor Bioware, never should have let EA get their hands on them

leepialong
leepialong

SWTOR the WoW Killer!! more like SWTOR the TORtanic

King9999
King9999

They might lose more once GW2 drops.

GhostHawk196
GhostHawk196

Whoever own shares in EA, its probably a good time to sell them now while it isnt a loss yet...

nord1c
nord1c

Come July 31st, EA will have to show the true scope of the disaster in itsQ2 reports.

meanman67
meanman67

They lost over 400,000 people who stop playing this game there trying to get some of that back but let  people play 4 free intill what was it level 15? 

nosferatu94
nosferatu94

if this goes free to play i'm in. too bad about layoffs though, in this economy that blows. plus good talent gone to waste.

darktruth007
darktruth007

World of warcraft is probably the biggest con-job ever in the video-game industry. Look how badly they conned bioware - rofl

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

Did we not tell them to make Knights of the Old Republic 3 and not an MMO?

 

DID WE NOT TELL THEM???

 

And they are surprised their MMO isn't doing as well as they hoped. People are losing their jobs cause you got greedy. How well would Knights 3 have sold???  We didn't want to be milked! So we voted with our wallets. Perhaps you should listen to your audience...

ExplosiveChorro
ExplosiveChorro

Whats that??? GW2 just around the corner?? Thanks, can't wait!

Humdinger80
Humdinger80

Well that sucks, I'm guessing the BioWare is made up of some pretty intelligent devs and probably wanted to make KOTOR 3 but EA wanted them to do the MMO instead so BW being as well paid as they were went ahead with production knowing full well it was probably gonna fail and they would end up getting blamed  and eventually lose they're jobs because of it. I'm sure alot of them saw this coming waaaay before SWTOR was even released and there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it. Haha E fucking A...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

EA's reply makes sense. The news that Rich Vogel has left BW Austin remains true regardless. Most readers are smart enough to know that the news of layoff is not a definite indicator that SWTOR is in trouble, in whatever way.

kkushalbeatzz
kkushalbeatzz

If Bioware fleshed out the gameplay from The Force Unleashed then created an amazing story-driven MMORPG, then it would be worth it. At the moment SWTOR has the gameplay of a MMORPG from half a decade ago. What we need is not for the genre to remain stagnant, but to evolve.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

SWTOR was designed to dethrone WoW, by being WoW in space.  I was tempted to play SWTOR, but I'm not only looking for a different setting (space vs. fantasy), I'm looking for a different MMO Style.  Right now, GW2, is the only MMO that seems focused to what I want. 

 

I wonder if Bioware will survive the SWTOR storm.  I remember when Blizzard and Bioware rivaled each other for the best games in the industry.  Back in the Baldur's Gate days, I felt Bioware was winning the battle. 

Arranik
Arranik

SWTOR is fun....just not enough content to keep subs...

Vambran
Vambran

Release date for this game was Dec. It has not been a full year yet and it seems everybody is jumping ship on this one.

RZC88
RZC88

no they need to make battlefront 3 or a game  mix with force unleashed and kotor  that be a sick game god  imagine make ur own character ur own  saga  , and then make ur own cinematics and when u beat ur own saga upload it to  toutube and it ill be ur own start wars saga movies and ppl who are online can join on ur qust to  and u can name each movie a name  god bio ware should hire me go what u guys think of  my game idea ?

KristoffBrujah
KristoffBrujah

Hopefully Bioware has learned their lesson and won't bother with MMO again. I always want Bioware to succeed, but in this case I'm glad they failed and hope that every MMO game they make is a failure. Focus on single player, there are plenty of developers for the MMO zombies.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Enough with the BS comments from a spokeperson. They probably don't have anything to brag about but we want to know the numbers of players on SWTOR NOW!

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

This is why they should have just released a single player KOTOR 3 and released a refined KOTOR 2 and KOTOR 1 as a taster instead of yet another MMO in a pretty full up market of the things.

 

But EA never listens to reason or logic, very few companies do.  They want fat profits far more than delivering a quality game that would generate profits via word of mouth form gamers who enjoy it, instead of an MMO that really does nothing new that hasn't already been done before in many other MMO's.

 

If a single player only KOTOR 3 had been released with refined versions of KOTOR 2 - with an actual ending and final section that isn't a sloppy rushed mess - and KOTOR 1, then they would have made a much bigger profit and perhaps even gotten faith and loyalty from a lot of gamers who loved KOTOR 1 and 2.

It's a shame that it's the workers who get the shaft while the fat cat suits at the top don't have to worry about losing their jobs.

M-S-M-S
M-S-M-S

Since EA took over BioWare, something bad happened to Bioware.

I'm sad for Bioware and us gamers, but there is no surprise here. Everything EA touches turns bad... $$$ is the only thing that interests greedy EA.

jcp234
jcp234

Bwahahahaha Bioware and EA will regret the day they decided to move forward with this abomination instead of releasing KOTOR III. This is like Christmas in July. *all smiles* I will never purchase another star wars game from EA/Bioware until KOTOR III sees the light of day.

musalala
musalala

 @darktruth007  I think people forget that  World of warcraft was successful not only because it was an MMO but also because it was a Good game, I played for 4 years before I quit the habit.

 

The problem is most companies just assume if they make an MMO we will through money at it.

 

Its amazing when you realise that WOW sold on word of mouth and good reviews alone and that  Blizzard created that 12 million user base and most of them  are not fans of MMO but are fans of WOW specifically.

bayernfan
bayernfan

 @The_Dragon_Born Agree! Fans were talking about KOTOR 3 even before the first SWTOR trailer was published... meaning: "A long time ago in a galaxy far...."

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

 @The_Dragon_Born

You wanted KOTOR 3 i guess cause you don't want to pay monthly?, very .. cool. Well the problem wasn't cause it was not KOTOR 3, the they fked SWTOR up and took too long to get around to fixing stuff, instead they just released more Raids... also they simple fked up the game once your pass lvl 30(atleast I could tell a srs change starting in what the game was suppose to be). Really the game was said to be more social but all it was is anti-social(socail?, w/e). It was just simply released too early, just like D3 (but both would suffer never the less from the stupidity from the higher up and possibly the ... Hardcore-it-up Elitis/morons "Leaving out a grouping system promotes social behavior!!" ... (nope sry it made the terrible on top of the tiny servers.

GrindinGanja42o
GrindinGanja42o

 @KristoffBrujah lol the games awesome dood, its not a failure yet but there has been a release of mass mmo the last little while

Jarten
Jarten

 @M-S-M-S I have to agree with you on this one. I think Bioware would probably be better off if they could leave EA. That's just my personal opinion. I know I can't say much because I don't know all the circumstances though.

musalala
musalala

 @koospetoors knowwing EA/bioware they would f***k it up like they f****ked up dragon age 2 and Mass effect 3

 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @PinchySkree

 If you mean the sub numbers have been steadily declining, I share that belief but I won't accept it as fact until at least the next release of sub numbers. I cannot comment on whether it's "good" or not. I was satisfied with its gameplay; $15/mo is too much for me, but I re-subbed briefly at $15 for 2 mos. I am not dense in the sense that I know a lot of players didn't like it and left, but I am very dense in that whether you like or not is irrelevant to me.

cyberarmy
cyberarmy

 @musalala  Im with you on this one, I really hope to see KOTOR 3 but after recent BEAware disasters im happy they havent done it.

I hope Obsidian made the 3rd one (without pressure form LucasArts please)

I cant believe best StarWars games we are played for a long time is Lego ones....................

weewalio
weewalio

 @musalala

 Ah shaddap you freaking sheep. Mass Effect 3 was a phenomenal game loved by everyone, critics and players alike! The ONLY PROBLEM people had with it was the ending, and that was just a bunch of babies being...well, babies.

 

Other than the ending (a tiny small portion of the game) the entire experience was awesome, and everyone loved it.

 

I swear, the world is doomed because it's going to be run by unthinking followers, lemmings like you.

 

Not a leader in the bunch...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @PinchySkree

 How BioWare/EA define success for SWTOR is their business. I am not subscribed right now, so I'll just wait and see.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

 @Unfallen_Satan The fact it has been losing players since release and never at one point got them back, only with the PVP lie, which actually caused more to leave with some of the the current + returning hopefuls clinging to the belief that the game will get better leaving aswell, is enough to know the game is not successful.Enough people cling to it to make it financially viable, but in terms of franchise success, it's always been in trouble. To be successful, the game needed to have a steadily increasing subscription number at least one month after release.

musalala
musalala

 @weewalio "Ah shaddap you freaking sheep. Mass Effect 3 was a phenomenal game loved by everyone, critics and players alike! The ONLY PROBLEM people had with it was the ending, and that was just a bunch of babies being...well, babies"

"Other than the ending (a tiny small portion of the game) the entire experience was awesome, and everyone loved it."

 

The above quote proves you are Biodrone you make it seem as though the only thing wrong with mass effect 3 was the end , I proved a list of other things that were mismanaged and I didn"t even include the debacle with Jessca Chobbots or the glitches the absolutly pathetic side missions.

 

The fact that you seem blind to all of these glaring flaws and praise bioware to end is proof enough for me that you are a biodrone, again mass effect is an ok game but it could have been a phenomenal game as many people put it the starwars of this gaming gen instead its just "one of those games we played"

 

 

 

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

 @weewalio ME3 was probably more of the same. The only people that accepted the ending were dickriders.

weewalio
weewalio

 @musalala"It's better than being a biodrone..."

 

Thank you for proving my point for me.

 

Did I ever defend or even imply any defense of Bioware in my post? No. I don't believe in brand loyalty, it's a dumb concept. I could care less about Bioware or any cororation frankly.

 

But your by-the-numbers mind just couldn't help it; "He has adopted a position opposite my own, ergo he is a fanboy/Biodrone!"

 

As I stated; sheep.

 

weewalio
weewalio

 @cdog21

 Yes, I agree. I think you missed my point though; it's the *only* thing people whined about with any vigor, yet because of that, people are now claiming the game was a mess. It was not; it just had a (apparently very) anticlimactic ending.

weewalio
weewalio

 @Doomerang

 I would *gladly* follow your advice except for the fact that I can't; I meant exactly what I wrote. People (like the guy I called a lemming) have been bashing ME3 like it's one of the worst games ever made when, truth is, the only problem people ever bring up when you talk to them is the ending.

 

Oh they'll mention other bugs and such, but what is the only thing you hear them talk about when they say ME3's a "broken, crappy game"? That's right; the ending.

 

When people follow the masses and spout the same "This game sucks" crap without thinking beyond the trendiest trend, I'll call them sheep, lemmings, etc...and if it makes you feel better I can also add automaton, zombie, or cattle if you prefer; my choice of words doesn't alter the content of my post, no matter what you may think, so put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

 

musalala
musalala

 @weewalio Its better than being biodrone.

Problems with Mass Effect outside of the ending

*Linking Mutiplayer to EMS and then misleading people by stating "the multipalyer doesn"t affect the single player

* Locking content from the game then telling people its not on disc

* Trivializing the choices from previous games,

 if you saved cerberus base/ destroyed cerberus base doesn"t matter

Save rachnii/killed rachnii doesn't matter

Killed the council/saved the council doesnt matter

* Forcing people to use origins in order to play the game

* Gliches

*The ending

 

Mass effect 3 could have been THE game of the generation, instead its basically disposable entertainment you hardly give a second glance to.

 

cyberarmy
cyberarmy

 @weewalio Well for starters i dont love ME3, neither anyone around me. Game has a lot of problems before its endings.

Just another wasted potantial IMO.

cdog21
cdog21

 @weewalio 

 

I was agreeing with your post up until you said that people were complaining about nothing over the ME3 ending.

 

The ending was a clusterf**k, plain and simple.

Doomerang
Doomerang

 @weewalio You know what's funny? You literally used all of the most generic put-downs I've seen people use whenever they want to feel better than others and accuse others of following the crowd:

 

Sheep? Check.

Babies? Check.

Unthinking followers? Check

Lemmings? Check.

 

Seriously, if you're going to try insulting others because they personally believe things that don't accommodate to your opinion, I suggest not making the most generic "lol sheep" post I've ever seen. You acted far more like a sheep than than either Musalala or Koospetoors.