Why? Well lets go through it.
1. The two studios Mythic and Bioware have been brought under the umbrella of Dr Ray. Yet the old boss of Mythic, Mark Jacobs, henceforth known as MJ, seems to have been left without a seat when the music stopped. Now it can’t have just been about salary, considering the overall costs of Warhammer Online to produce and now run. Two definitely does not fit into one, when it comes down to the head chair. Maybe MJ was offered a subsidiary roll and just wasn’t comfortable being anyone else biatch, with a new tier of control being inserted above him. It’s going to grate, a lot, since it’s effectively a demotion.
In the corporate merry-go-round, just maintaining your status can be a full time job, especially if things aren’t going to well. Within in a massive company like EA, this will have been a real eye opener. When you are god in your own company, then not a lot happens without your say so, so no one can pull a fast one on you, so to speak. Within the loving arms of EA, that’s not going to be the case. Hell maybe Dr Ray Muzyka (Aka Dr Ray) was more a playa than MJ, potentially having more time to get his feet under the corporate table. Also he didn’t have no 2. below dragging down his star.
To Dr Ray, I think my only comment would be, you repeath what you sow, especially if you had your sticky little fingers in this drama. They do say, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.
2. Warhammer Onlines launch since September 2009, hasn’t gone well. No amount of spin from the PR monkeys can say it’s hit it’s hoped for targets. A lot of kit was bought and a lot of that kit is now in a back room, praying to be brought back into the light. But it’s a tough sell, this is a game that needs a lot of people to make it hum, so if subscriptions do climb, anyone in the know isn’t going to want to transfer to newly christened server, with a lower population, without a massive back hander (payoff).
So has MJ been brought to account for this massive backwards step in numbers, based upon initial copies of the game sold, through to maintaining an active subscription? Something didn’t translate too well within that first month. Though Blizzards brilliant release strategy in the early months of Warhammer didn’t help the Warhammer cause. But as many other bloggers have stated before, the WoW tourist can be an absolute bitch to factor into your rollout strategy and Aventurine strategy was never going to work with Warhammer.
Regardless of this, releasing the game early didn’t help in the slightest. If that was MJ’s call, then unfortunately he has to pay, it was a shockingly bad decision. You only get one launch and Warhammer wasn’t ready. If it was another idiot, or group of idiots then I hope they are long gone, since they don’t belong in the software industry.
3. I can’t imagine he wants to leave the job of resurrecting Warhammer to anyone else, especially at the head of a company he helped form. If you create a company then that kind of drive isn’t easily diverted onto the golf course and it certainly doesn’t want to leave a struggling child in someone else hands.
I did read a comment that MJ had been on holiday for the last month or so, which does basically implies he was on gardening leave. Which is, if you don’t know, the period of time, you have to sit on the benches while your notice period runs out.
One thing I am really looking forward to, is Dr Rays State Of The Game address, now that’s going to be an interesting read. Though he may have to get a ghost writer in to fill in the blanks, about what a MMO is about and how players can really shag up your best intentions. As with all pieces of software, if it wasn’t for the users/players, the launch would have been perfect.