Star Wars: The Old Republic GM departs

BioWare studio head Gordon Walton exits Austin development house for VP position at Playdom; EA reiterates "business as usual."

Electronic Arts maintains that it will have gotten a return on its investment if BioWare Austin's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic can maintain 500,000 subscribers. Answers to The Old Republic's viability will begin to arrive sometime before March 31, 2012, but the head of BioWare's Austin studio won't be sticking around to receive them firsthand.

Gordon Walton

Today, EA confirmed that BioWare Austin general manager Gordon Walton resigned his position in January. According to Walton's LinkedIn profile, he did so to take a position with Playdom, which Disney purchased for more than $500 million last July. At Playdom, Walton has picked up the title of vice president and executive producer, having been charged with heading up the casual game maker's new Austin studio.

"With great thanks and appreciation, we say goodbye to Gordon Walton for helping bring Star Wars: The Old Republic to the phenomenal state it is in today," EA said in a statement. "Rich Vogel remains the executive producer and VP of production, while Greg Zeschuk continues to oversee the entire project as general manager along with Ray Muzyka as BioWare Group general manager, and we remain confident that the game will excite and delight players worldwide."

EA went on to note that "it is business as usual at all BioWare studios."

For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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61 comments
phayde1212
phayde1212

You don't resign near the end of development unless you know there is something wrong and are getting ignored. I've got a feeling everything isn't roses in the EA camp. The guys been around since the golden age of gaming. He is a gamer. Doesn't seem like money hungry guy to me and he left for a lesser position which really points to the above for me.

fishless
fishless

@GallowJig He's actually very generous. Book by the cover = fail.

GallowJig
GallowJig

He looks like a money grubber to me. I can see his fat little fingers fiddling over the gold coins in his purse. Best he's gone I think.

scorpgul
scorpgul

this wont affect TOR at all. I for one cannot wait for it

wis3boi
wis3boi

looks like this guy is moving down in the ranks instead of up lol

adidas32x
adidas32x

@Decrate 7 million (china) of the 12 million subs blizzard likes to boast so loudly about pay pennies in subscription fees and to buy the game, those 7 million people account for about 6% of the money blizzard makes off of wow. but i mean still, lol, 5 million people paying the regular fee is still amazing.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

@Gelugon_baat Yup, we shouldn't be too worried bout the news. If someone like Casey Hudson left, that'd be a little more troubling.

matty23211
matty23211

the pressure is on us to buy into this franchise. Ill give it a try for sure and hope for the best. Simply because its made by bioware and i have high hopes.

Decrate
Decrate

wow, they only need 500k subs to be profitable with SWTOR? that really puts into perspective how much money blizzard is making with 12 million subs.. i'm sure 1 million subs shouldnt be too hard for a star wars franchise to obtain and sustain, so long as its a better quality MMO than all the ones recently released (dc universe, apb, final fantasy xiv to name a few trash MMOs recently released..)

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

Why'd he move to playdom of all places? Last i heard playdom was struggleing after being aquired by Disney and a lot of their games pulled offline or canceled.. Dosn't make sense that you'd leave one of the biggest names in video games (and possibley the biggest game being developed this decade) for PLAYDOM? He must really want that Vice President title.

Lebowski__basic
Lebowski__basic

As long as Dr.'s Greg and Ray continue to oversee the project, like they did with the first KOTOR, I have no fears.

Skullcandy
Skullcandy

Wow that guy was old. Anyone over 50 in the gaming industry should just be shot. Now I know why I'm so bored with current gaming; my games have been approved by someone who has to change his own diaper twice a day.

PANIC99
PANIC99

@MooncalfReviews Bioware and EA have been working together for about 10 years or so. Just like EA Respects Valve, they know that to make agame profitable it has to be good.

eitremn
eitremn

@people that seem to be surprised that EA wants to make money off this. HELLO, they're a business. they aren't making this game just for the fun of it.

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

@MooncalfReviews I will only worry if either of the the Doctors leave Bioware or start indulging in high level douche baggery. EA isn't as evil as it used to be but they are relentlessly realistic and I am sure that is just as annoying if you are trying to make a high quality product but not focused on immediate ROI.

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

Don't care about Gordon, never heard form teh guy before, hope he has fun at playdom.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Not a huge problem, but still a bad sign, if the guy left because his job was currently being undermined (well, overmined) by Bioware's relatively new publisher, EA. I get the feeling that EA's demand for massive profit is going to start eating into Bioware's quality sooner or later, and maybe some of Bioware's staff wont be happy with that.

Lone_Warrior_66
Lone_Warrior_66

@The-Techspert Thanks, you made this article worth the read xD

The-Techspert
The-Techspert

Here's another headline for you: "Gamespot Editors Make a Big Deal out of Nothing; Community Not Surprised"

Hiroo4
Hiroo4

If you guys create a Mac Client, I'll subscribe... :P

Exorte
Exorte

Dam it, it was a typo it should be "one guy leave does NOT means much"

dkdk999
dkdk999

@adidas32x I apologize your right. It is just a rumor.

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

see lots of light sabers in the pics... yet I somehow suspect that it will take more than 4 hits to kill a mob =/

adidas32x
adidas32x

@gix47 i guess you think taking a much better position at a different company means he jumped ship. and i guess you think very positive hands on time reports (like gamespots) means TOR is a sinking ship...lol

Damascuss
Damascuss

Gordon Walton, in my opinion is very mercenary-like in the industry. He is constantly jumping from one company to another, this is nothing out of the ordinary if you check his background. This in no way implies doom for BioWare or it's future projects. If you're seeing it as such a thing, you've been foaming at the mouth for some information such as this to discredit BioWare. Secondly, this game took no where near 300 million to create. This was from a disgruntled Mythic employee who probably knows little to nothing about TOR. This game is at 100k-150k in development costs, pretty sure this was said after the EAlouse mess. Last I heard 500k players for TOR would put this game in a very stable healthy condition, if this is box sales or resubbers, I'm unsure. 500k is highly possible considering the appeal this game has. However if the game should fail, this wouldn't do much to BioWare, it would mean a few things. They should stay out of the MMO market, or that they should attempt again with a new approach. No matter what happens I have faith that their usual projects will be amazing. Mass Effect and Dragon Age are great games, they can continue to progress these while creating new IPs to keep us entertained. At least they're making games while working on an MMO. They're not forgetting their fans, how long did it take for blizzard to get a new game out after WoW? Seriously, give BioWare more credit. Edit: Also, the target release date remains the same.

adidas32x
adidas32x

@OmegaBob BioWare is developing the game, and EA is publishing it. Not, "EA are the one's actually programming the game" and "the C List BioWare team covering diaolgue" LOL

giantqtipz
giantqtipz

oh wow, my former internship boss is connected to this dude on linkedin lol...

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I think TOR is going to be EPIC FAIL. Just my opinion.

Tseng
Tseng

Another sign that this game might be mediocre. Hopefully one of two things will happen: It will be a fantastic game and a great success, or the failure will push Bioware to reevaluate and decide to focus on single player versions of the KotOR series.

gix47
gix47

wow,not even out yet and peolpe are jumping ship, i had hopes for this but i believe this is a sign of things to come,look for more peolpe leaving what is a sinking ship

OmegaBob
OmegaBob

I have a bad feeling about this... Considering that EA are the one's actually programming the game, with the C List BioWare team covering diaolgue... the game was doomed from the start... this just confirms it.

adidas32x
adidas32x

@KC_Hokie it's more like $150 million, not $300 million

Exorte
Exorte

@Breyant True, one guy leave does means much. However if Bioware support is full of people like you said (which is sits back in his office and collects the paychecks). TOR is certianly doomed.

Breyant
Breyant

While it looks bad to have someone in a high position leave during a game's development, I don't think anyone should really worry. It's not like this guy has anything to do with the actual development of the game, most likely he just sits back in his office and collects the paychecks.

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

TOR is almost finished and soon it will be time to make back the nearly $300 million to produce it. Good time to leave as General Manager.

stryfe6
stryfe6

@Henoch No, as I have said before the target release date is still spring which is between April 1st and June 31st. Taken from the SWTOR forums. The only other thing that has been said is that SWTOR is going to be released in the fiscal year 2012 and calendar year 2011 and that was to EA shareholders. Which means that if they are going to delay the game, it will come out after June 31st and before December 31st 2011.

dkdk999
dkdk999

@adidas32x no it really is true.

Akagen
Akagen

Considering he went to Playdom he could simply be looking for something with less stress/work. TOR in the long run is more demanding and a lot more is expected from you when dealing with the Star Wars franchise. That's just my opinion though.

fishless
fishless

It doesn't say a thing about the games quality. He is neither taking a step up nor down. He was Vice President of Sony Online (Austin) and was in charge of Star Wars Galaxies. He has been in the industry for a while his job has been pretty much the same for a while - Big Boss. http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/star-wars-galaxies-the-total-experience/credits How is the for a resume? Star Wars: Galaxies - The Total Experience (2005), LucasArts Star Wars: Galaxies - Jump to Lightspeed (2004), LucasArts The Sims (2003), Electronic Arts, Inc. The Sims: Online (2002), Electronic Arts, Inc. Ultima Online: Third Dawn (2001), Electronic Arts, Inc. Ultima Online: Renaissance (2000), Electronic Arts, Inc. Ultima IX: Ascension (1999), Electronic Arts, Inc. Air Warrior II (1997), Interactive Magic Ltd. Air Warrior III (1997), Interactive Magic Ltd. Harpoon Classic '97 (1996), Alliance Interactive, Inc., Interactive Magic Ltd. Harpoon Classic (1995), Renegade Software Empire Deluxe Scenarios (1993), New World Computing, Inc. Jeopardy! Deluxe Edition (1993), GameTek, Inc. Harpoon Challenger Pak (Limited Edition) (1991), Three-Sixty Pacific, Inc. Sands of Fire (1989), Three-Sixty Pacific, Inc. PT-109 (1987), Spectrum Holobyte, Inc. Sub Battle Simulator (1987), Epyx, Inc. Orbiter (1986), Spectrum Holobyte, Inc. Dungeon of Death (1979), Instant Software, Inc.

adidas32x
adidas32x

@Henoch that's a rumor, not a fact, as of right now, it's still on for spring

woolysockofdoom
woolysockofdoom

Two thoughts come to mind. The first is the guy is working on his career as a whole and just wanted to take the next step. As soon as an opportunity showed up, he took it. The second is that maybe he's not convinced that The Old Republic will be a smashing success, which probably would've made him quite wealthy if he'd stayed in his position when that happened.

Merciless_R
Merciless_R

Glad this wasn't a Mythic issue all over again. The headline had me worried they were changing hands due to quality issues, but it seems the GM was doing so good he got an offer for a higher paycheck. In a round about way it's a good sign for SWTOR.

filmboy85
filmboy85

Hmm... he should avoid behaviour like this in the future, lest he be sued by Activision...

Henoch
Henoch

@stryfe6 it's delayed till september

CaptainKenny
CaptainKenny

still lookin forward to it. Just hope there's a ton of mandalorian stuff! and not just for the bounty hunters.