If we wanted to know what the fallout would be from SOE being bought out to become the independant Daybreak Games Company, now we know. And I think many of us wish that we didn’t.
It’s a layoff apocalypse at Smedley’s MMO factory, with Linda Carlson and Dave Georgeson just two (admittedly high-profile) of the many let go with the company’s restructuring.
It stinks on so, so many levels, starting with the fact that Carlson and Georgeson are — or were, at least — the face of SOE for many gamers. Smedley’s big too, sure, but he’s a little off-putting for many gamers who would rather flock to the infectious enthusiasm that the former Landmark lead and CM projected. They loved the games and the community so much, and the community loved them right back.
I’ve been following Brasse since her days as a LOTRO fan mapping the Old Forest and loved that she adopted a dwarf persona for her time at SOE. I always thought Georgeson was a little weird, but in a good way, and talking to him at PAX last year was a highlight of my interviews. They both deserved so much better than this, as did everyone else let go, such as Steve Danuser.
The SOE community is so tight-knit that this isn’t just another bad day at the office — it’s absolute heartbreak and rage erupting everywhere. I’ve been watching it wash through Twitter and our Massively OP office chat, hearing the same stunned, incredulous expressions followed by the same outpouring of anger and grief.
There’s also some genuine, perhaps justified fear that SOE as we knew it is really, truly over — and that EverQuest Next and Landmark’s future is in serious jeopardy. The people who made this company special are now gone, and all we’re left with is talk of bringing games to Xbox One. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the future for Daybreak is mostly H1Z1, PS2, and DCUO on consoles.
And that is a horrible, terrible shame. I’ve never been the most die-hard SOE player, but I’ve admired the passion that studio and its team put into its games, and the level of commitment for trying new things and melding sandbox and theme park elements together. EQN was perhaps the only AAA MMO on the horizon for me, and now I can’t get much hopes up about that.
But today it’s about the people who have found themselves laid off, and as someone who just went through that with Massively, I can sympathize. Here’s hoping they land at studios that do appreciate their talents and passion.
P.S. — Syl may have called it