Creative boss departs; SOE says strategic goals of company and man "don't match."
Raph Koster, chief creative officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and one of the leaders behind the development of Star Wars Galaxies, has left the company, SOE reps confirmed today.
Based in Austin, Texas, Koster is widely considered an expert when it comes to the design of massively multiplayer online games. He often participates in event panels and maintains an active blog that focuses on the nuances of the genre.
Koster is leaving his post of six years "to pursue development interests outside of the company," SOE said.
"Although his current interests take him into areas that don't match SOE's strategic goals, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Prior to joining SOE's Austin studio, Koster was part of the Ultima Online team at Origin Systems. In addition to Galaxies, Koster was instrumental in the development of EverQuest II at SOE.
Koster's departure wasn't the only piece of scuttlebutt making the rounds today, but it was perhaps the most accurate. There was also a rumor circulating that SOE would soon lose the rights to the Star Wars license--and suffer the fate of having to delete or otherwise retire the "Star Wars" component of its Galaxies MMORPG title; SOE called that speculation "completely untrue."
And in related news, industry sources confirmed to GameSpot that Sony Online vice president of business development Cindy Armstrong would soon assume a high-level role at Webzen America, the stateside outpost of Korean giant Webzen.
Noting that the US subsidiary has no CEO, it is likely Armstrong will take over in that capacity.
A Webzen rep told GameSpot the company "doesn't have a contract with her" and emphasized "there are no formal announcements, and we cannot confirm [speculation]."
I wonder why Sony let him go now that they are planning a full strategy in the on line sector. I wish him and Sony the best of lucks in their future projects.
He was the one responsible for star wars galaxies. Hes gone after they could not salvage it. It had so much potential but he must have been one of those that screwed it up.
The executives behind Star Wars Galaxies' change had Dilbert worthy excuses for the new version of the game. I imagine the crap he had to put up with is a major reason why he left.
this is the usual in the gaming Industry, just look at the number of smaller sutdio and other that recently open to the north american market , they are all getting big employes from other company. Ncsoft = EXblizzard ( even the guy who designed BNet), webzen is another 1 that will grow fast in North america ( i cant wait for HUXLEY!!!!!) . and hurray for this state of mind it allows for new ideas to be brought onto the market.
If he was head of SOE then the games were pretty decent enough online for the ps2 well then this is a big loss. I'm also surprised to see that some people bash him after they only know one game he's done which was a good game at its time. Give the guy a break.
Having Star Wars Galaxies on your resume should be considered a minus, not a plus. That game sucked hard.
Course it isn't terrible... it's star wars! If I play bucky 'o hare on NES while playing SW music I'm already having a blast! I personally think MMORPG should slowly evolve, not be revamped entirely to draw in other players yet feel completely revamped if you haven't done it in months.. (like anyone is going to pay for an account and not play the game.) Personally... I don't like games where you have to pay monthly subscriptions, especially if your not really getting anything new for your money (only exception is WoW then...) So I just play Guild Wars... I still like non-line games better (7 mates in the house... two consoles and a lot of screaming!)
That isn't to say SWG was terrible. The team is too big and daddy LucasArts is too watchful to let the game become mediocre. However, cast against the better titles in the persistent online space, SWG really does slide towards 'meh, simply average'. And that does not make for an intelligent subscription selection. I keep paying/playing stuff that has a clear progressive direction. Resetting Talents in WoW for a 'talent revamp' is one thing, but SOE has classically orchestrated these massive combat/spell system revamps that really alter how major sh!t works. This backpedaling was certainly part of Koster's generation as well. Also, witness recent EQ 2 revamps. Dramatic backpedaling and changes to yet another SOE title, at the expense of dedicated paying players, to specifically cater to another potential larger audience...while leaving the original players shrugging in dismay. Their motto: "If it don't work, gutt it and try again! Fear not - it's being paid for."
Oh, galaxies is the only SW game EVER I refuse buying or playing... I've got em all, even the terrible gameboy SW games... big fan (like the comics better than the games though... not to mention the movies...) But galaxies will never truly be starwars... it misses a lot of the frenzy, humour & action what the series are all about... not to mention the layers of actual cynical parody on our own world and mythology that was written by wiser men than mr. Lucas so many years ago...
GO KOSTER! Stay true to your creative genius... even though you don't have much to offer on that part... For that matter, I guess M$ will give you a job... It's unlikely Nintendo will start thinking they need bad games. But I guess now the tendency to be mainstream is off this man's back, he might turn around and do something different, big and perhaps even playable. It's like the director of 'Bad Taste' filming Lord Of The Rings all over again...
QUOTE="He was behind the original design of SWG, when it was so wonderful, before SOE destroyed it with the cater to the lowest common denominator approach."-EQ. I like the passion, but please: on a general scale of how good games have been in recent years, there has NEVER been anything "so wonderful" about SWG. Not then, not now. There are far better representatives in the genre, licensed properties or not.
The way they behaved is very NICE with no one talking bad or anything. And I think he will have a nice Future, maybe as an independant developer or something:P
Yes his lard-butt needed to go. I'm almost ashamed we share the same first name......almost. Single player games are not dead either. I'm the kind of guy that does not like to listen to 13 year old banter over the internet waves, so I have flipped the middle finger to online gaming, and enjoy single player games just fine. I'm not saying that's how everybody is.....but just me. Man i hated playing online games with kids saying stupid crud into my ear all day.
I'm quite happy to see him go mostly in part to his comment on how single player games are strange and won't survive much longer.
Interesting. Big moves like these are always worth noting although the true reasons can often be much different that what is presented in the press release. And it doesn't necessarily mean that SOE is in trouble for those who are quick to jump on a "bash Sony" bandwagon.
Sony is in big trouble with gaming, and this downfall will continue. SOE doesn't deserve to be wished luck after Galaxies.
too bad i suppose, though personally i always found some of his views on gaming and the gaming community to be pretty out there. Not out there in the "he's a revolutionary thinker" kind of way. Out there as in he's said some stupid things in his time.
He was behind the original desing of SWG, when it was so wonderful, before SOE destroyed it with the cater to the lowest common deminator apporach. I always felt let down that he didn't do more to reign in what SOE was doing to his design. He is better off without SOE. This isn't suprising though. Koster is a big proponent of the sandbox style design. Smedley believes that does not work.
lol, Its obvious Sony is ready to play hardball this time around when it comes to digital content and the PS3's online service...cant wat to see it in action.
Avalanche Studios co-founder says developer's ambition is for action, not moments that make players cry; steampunk-style game on hold. Full Story
- Posted May 15, 2013 6:33 am PT
4A Games creative director Andrew Prokhorov thanks Jason Rubin for telling the studio's story, but says, "We deserve the ratings we get." Full Story
- Posted May 16, 2013 12:44 pm PT