Star Wars: The Old Republic Loses Executive Producer - UPDATED

Star Wars: The Old Republic Loses Executive Producer - UPDATED

image

Amid rumors of further layoffs at BioWare Austin, The Old Republic Executive Producer Richard Vogel confirms that he has left the company.

BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO has suffered another big blow as the executive producer on the game, long time Star Wars guy Richard Vogel, has confirmed his departure. Vogel had been with BioWare Austin since the beginning, co-founding the studio in 2005, and had served as executive producer on The Old Republic since June 2010. Prior to that, he'd spent five years working on the "other" Star Wars MMO, Sony's Star Wars Galaxies.

BioWare Austin also reportedly laid off an unspecified number of workers today, although it's currently not clear whether those are "fresh" layoffs or simply those that were announced in May finally taking effect. BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk said at the time that the studio was "bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people," but didn't specify how many were being cut or when they'd be shown the door.

After a record-breaking start, Star Wars: The Old Republic stumbled, losing subscribers and even considering a transition to free-to-play. To help combat the slippage, BioWare recently implemented a new trial mode that allows players to create characters in any class and take them all the way to level 15 at no charge.

Vogel's departure reportedly came ahead of today's layoffs. BioWare has not yet announced who will assume his role at the studio.

UPDATE: BioWare has confirmed with GamesIndustry that the layoffs reported on Tuesday are part of the staffing cuts that were originally announced in May.

"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," a rep said. "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. 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."

Source: Gamasutra, LinkedIn

Permalink

Wait, his name was Vogel?

Thank god he was laid off, he would have caused some serious problems for my gang.

On a more serious note: It's always sad to see someone lose their job, no matter how good or bad they are at it. :\

kortin:
On a more serious note: It's always sad to see someone lose their job, no matter how good or bad they are at it. :\

Especially when they co-founded the studio they worked at.

Cyrus Hanley:
Especially when they co-founded the studio they worked at.

Oh so he did, I must have glazed over that part. That makes it even worse. My condolences to him.

Bioware is looking more and more like EA everyday.

This layoff thing is unsurprising(not this guy, this guy is surprising since hes co founder and all). there was a LOT of people brought in to make SWTOR, and it makes sense that now that the game is done, layoffs occur, since theyre no longer needed, and bioware wont use them for sure.

It says that he has left the company, its quite possible that he can see where its going and he's abandoning ship before he's taken down with it. Being the captain and all :)

Ignoring that the nature of the departure not necessarily seeming to be a lay off, I wouldn't be shocked if the decision was made simply to pursue another start up project. Studio jumping is not really a new thing in this business, particularly once you've "finished" the product. It's something that you even see with positions like Community Managers and the like. I'd wait before foretelling doom. At least to see what the man's next venture is.

What's a Produer?

Captcha: think green
Not helping, captcha, but good try.

Burn in hell, TOR. Maybe then you can stop trashing Knights of the Old Republic 2 in order to make a quick buck.

I'm sad see someone that helped found the Austin studio go, but lets face it, this isn't going to affect SWTOR in any way.

Soviet Heavy:
Burn in hell, TOR. Maybe then you can stop trashing Knights of the Old Republic 2 in order to make a quick buck.

I'm confused/curious on what you mean by that, because I see little to no references to KOTOR 2 in this game.

At this rate, TORtanic will be lucky if her maiden voyage lasts even a year.

I said it before and i say it again:

Its Warhammer online/mythic all over again...

First the game looses subscribers left and right, introducing free server swapping.. then the boss is fired.. then the games dev crew is reduced to skeleton size and the game put on bare minimum live support to slowly wither away. Somewhere inbetween more and more servers are decomissioned.

To bad no one at EA got the memo that no one can make WoW 2.0 anymore.. not even blizzard (the current one) could pull that off in my opinion.

Sheo_Dagana:
I'm sad see someone that helped found the Austin studio go, but lets face it, this isn't going to affect SWTOR in any way.

Soviet Heavy:
Burn in hell, TOR. Maybe then you can stop trashing Knights of the Old Republic 2 in order to make a quick buck.

I'm confused/curious on what you mean by that, because I see little to no references to KOTOR 2 in this game.

It's more about what Bioware did to KOTOR 2 in the run-up to the release of TOR, as well as stuff in the background events:

Sheo_Dagana:
I'm sad see someone that helped found the Austin studio go, but lets face it, this isn't going to affect SWTOR in any way.

Soviet Heavy:
Burn in hell, TOR. Maybe then you can stop trashing Knights of the Old Republic 2 in order to make a quick buck.

I'm confused/curious on what you mean by that, because I see little to no references to KOTOR 2 in this game.

The entire premise of the game is based around plot elements from KOTOR 2. The True Sith Empire was first mentioned by Kreia. Remnants of the ancient Sith Species who lingered in exile beyond the outer rim. Revan was prepping the galaxy for their return, but then vanished.

The upcoming HK-51s are a bastardized version of the HK-51 assassin droids that HK-47 was supposed to have taken control of to beat the HK-50s and GOTO in KOTOR 2. According to the restored content mod, and made official in the Essential Guide to Droids, HK-47 turned the HK-51s into his personal army, answering to no meatbag and creating a droid nation.

Now, they are being turned into minions for players because Bioware is losing subscriptions, so in desperation they turned to fanservice at the expense of what the HK-51s and the True Sith actually were.

The True Sith from KOTOR 2 were not the proto galactic empire. They were more a force of nature, the very essence of the Sith themselves. They were almost supernatural, a really unique take on the dark side that didn't rip off the Galactic Empire. So, Bioware turned them into the Galactic Empire because they think people are stupid and wouldn't be able to tell if they were sith unless they looked like Darth Vader knockoffs.

Mamzelle_Kat:
What's a Produer?

Someone who does stuff professionally... They are also often french, hence the Pro-duer. :p

Now seriously though, "What is a producer?" As I understand it, basically, a producer is your guy who actually makes sure the pieces of a project all fit together. A lot of times that's through making sure there's funding. Making sure all the various parts are working together properly.

In the case of an MMO, we're talking about making sure all the little fiefdoms, (coding, art, PvE content, Raid content, PvP, game mechanic engineering, and so on) are all working together, and not getting in each others way. In a way, for video games, a producer looks a lot more like what you'd expect from a director in films. They have to handle a little bit of everything and make sure the project has a clear objective.

Translation: This is (probably) the guy who said, "in order to be successful, we need to be as close to WoW with lightsabers as possible."

In films, a producer tends to be the guy who gets the money, and points the project in a general direction when they pick a script and hire their director. After that they can be involved in casting, SFX, editing, and in some cases directing (usually when the director IS the producer, but not always).

Again, this is my recollection, if someone else wants to jump in and clarify further, please do.

Soviet Heavy:
The True Sith from KOTOR 2 were not the proto galactic empire. They were more a force of nature, the very essence of the Sith themselves. They were almost supernatural, a really unique take on the dark side that didn't rip off the Galactic Empire. So, Bioware turned them into the Galactic Empire because they think people are stupid and wouldn't be able to tell if they were sith unless they looked like Darth Vader knockoffs.

The "True Sith" in TOR are kinda... consistent with the Sith race from Tales of the Jedi... except, IIRC they were supposed to me mostly wiped out by the time KOTOR1 rolled around...

Though, as you pointed out, KOTOR2 really deals with the fallout of that war in detail.

Soviet Heavy:

The entire premise of the game is based around plot elements from KOTOR 2. The True Sith Empire was first mentioned by Kreia. Remnants of the ancient Sith Species who lingered in exile beyond the outer rim. Revan was prepping the galaxy for their return, but then vanished.

It always annoyed me that Obsidian got no mention for TOR, despite the fact that the entire game is based upon the premise they set up.

The True Sith from KOTOR 2 were not the proto galactic empire. They were more a force of nature, the very essence of the Sith themselves. They were almost supernatural, a really unique take on the dark side that didn't rip off the Galactic Empire. So, Bioware turned them into the Galactic Empire because they think people are stupid and wouldn't be able to tell if they were sith unless they looked like Darth Vader knockoffs.

This is the biggest tragedy for me. The whole thing with the True Sith looked like it was going to be an incredibly unique take on the idea of Light Side versus Dark Side. The fact that Revan left behind every ally who would have been useful in a one-on-one fight, and that the Exile did the same, suggested to me that it wasn't a physical fight that Revan had embarked for, but a fight of ideals. Instead of taking an army with him to defeat the Sith by force, Revan went by himself, accompanied later only by the Exile, in order to defeat them ideologically. Considering that in KOTOR 2 you pretty much defeat Scion and Traya by talking to them (the lightsabers are just a pretty distraction) I can easily see Revan and the Exile deciding to do the same for the rest of the Sith.

And of course, the entire clusterfuck at the end of The Old Republic: Revan would have been avoided if Revan and the Exile had decided to take Bastila, Canderous, the Handmaiden and co along after all.

For what it's worth, Chris Avellone revealed a while ago that while he never worked out details, he always envisioned the True Sith as a forgotten faction of Exar Kun's Sith Empire that splintered off and did it's own thing. Even if so, they'd have still been way different to the Imperial knock-offs we saw in TOR.

I can easily think of a way to cover for Mr. Lore Freakout's little hissy fit about HK-51 models. Place this facility on a planet that isn't Telos. Which is easy because Telos isn't in game. Boom. That amaaaaazingly terrible lore problem caused by cut content and a blurb in an old sourcebook? Fixed. As for the "True Sith", to my understanding, Avellone's idea was not entirely different from BioWare's. A splinter Sith Empire. Just not from Sadow's time.

I swear, some of the criticizes TOR faces are nuts. Some are well earned. But for as much as I love Chris Avellone and KoToR II, Heavy's little rant is vacuous. TOR's far more lore compliant than people think. If we want to criticize it, focusing on mechanics issues, content limitations, or mismanaged server distribution at launch ought to be the road to walk down.

Alex Mac:
I can easily think of a way to cover for Mr. Lore Freakout's little hissy fit about HK-51 models. Place this facility on a planet that isn't Telos. Which is easy because Telos isn't in game. Boom. That amaaaaazingly terrible lore problem caused by cut content and a blurb in an old sourcebook? Fixed. As for the "True Sith", to my understanding, Avellone's idea was not entirely different from BioWare's. A splinter Sith Empire. Just not from Sadow's time.

I swear, some of the criticizes TOR faces are nuts. Some are well earned. But for as much as I love Chris Avellone and KoToR II, Heavy's little rant is vacuous. TOR's far more lore compliant than people think. If we want to criticize it, focusing on mechanics issues, content limitations, or mismanaged server distribution at launch ought to be the road to walk down.

The fact that they aren't from Telos doesn't matter. It was a freighter that crashed Belsavis. What does matter is that the way they are being presented goes against what the HK-51s are supposed to be. Independent, self serving killing machines that answer only to other HK units due to their self preservation routines. Having them turned into player companions so that they can have their own personal HK-47 knockoff goes completely against the HK-51s original intent.

And while Avellone may have had similar intentions as Bioware for just what the True Sith were, I doubt the execution of such a foe would be similar. The True Sith we are presented with are Sidious's Galactic Empire, right down to the visual aesthetics. Their leader is Darth Nihilus with a different name. Instead of the war of ideals that Traya hinted at, we are given the Prequel Era Old Republic fighting the OT Era Galactic Empire using force of arms.

Everything about what Bioware has done is the antithesis of what Obsidian had planted. The internal war of ideals becomes the external war of weapons. The droids of individuality and independence become slaves to organics. They seem to take Obsidian's ideas and then do the opposite.

Starke:

Though, as you pointed out, KOTOR2 really deals with the fallout of that war in detail.

War.War never changes.

Sorry, but the oportunity was ripe for the taking.

OT:I have no sumpathy for ToR, especialy since it completely retcons most of the plot of KOTOR2.

captcha:Burger with fries. - more like Bullshit and chips if you ask me.

Soviet Heavy:
The fact that they aren't from Telos doesn't matter. What does matter is that the way they are being presented goes against what the HK-51s are supposed to be. Independent, self serving killing machines that answer only to other HK units due to their self preservation routines. Having them turned into player companions so that they can have their own personal HK-47 knockoff goes completely against the HK-51s original intent.

You're judging intent from a barely finished piece of cut content and a blurb from an old sourcebook. That's bad basis for establishing intent. In fact, having played the relevant content, we know that unprogrammed HK droids are of variable allegiance. We know this because it an happen in the self safe cut content. GOTO can assume control over them (and even HK-47) given the proper variables, which immediately shuts down your notion of answerability to only other HK units. So perish this thought that we were necessarily dealing with independent machines. We're not. Not entirely. And all it takes for a quick lore fix, like it or not (and frankly, I don't care if you don't like it), is to say that the units liberated by HK-47 were unique.

Canon shifts all the time, particularly in this IP. Nothing is ever completely sacrosanct. Hell, not even the films are.

And while Avellone may have had similar intentions as Bioware for just what the True Sith were, I doubt the execution of such a foe would be similar. The True Sith we are presented with are Sidious's Galactic Empire, right down to the visual aesthetics. Their leader is Darth Nihilus with a different name. Instead of the war of ideals that Traya hinted at, we are given the Prequel Era Old Republic fighting the OT Era Galactic Empire using force of arms.

Now we are talking about visual aesthetics, which is tricky because there's even lore reasons for this (ie. similarities of ship structure, the usage of the Bendu symbol, and even the visual similarities of Imperial military uniform). We can argue if it was lazy design and I'm generally inclined to agree with those but the fact of the matter is that all these things that apparently drive you nuts have escape clauses written into the very fabric of the IP. And not just by BioWare's writers.

As to the notion of internal war, the theme is not wholly abandoned, despite your proclamations. Indeed, one of the large struggles of TOR comes from the ideological struggles of the Jedi and Sith, extending back to the time of the Great Hyperspace War. To say nothing about the game's desire to explore the relative worth of the Republic and Empire with no definitive answer. The physical manifestation of this (ie. war) would have occurred no matter who handled the writing and no matter the exact nature of the True Sith. Avellone would have obviously done things different but he relishes in deconstruction while BioWare's MO has always been rooted in notions of reconstruction first.

Everything about what Bioware has done is the antithesis of what Obsidian had planted. The internal war of ideals becomes the external war of weapons. The droids of individuality and independence become slaves to organics. They seem to take Obsidian's ideas and then do the opposite.

Ignoring your gross, gross oversimplifications and immense fawning over Obsidian (who, I might add, I do think write consistently better stories than BioWare)...BioWare has the right and Lucas Licensing has the right to take the frame work offered by Obsidian and do whatever they want with it.

Regardless, this discussion is not only off topic but dull. It amounts to bruise ego nonsense. "Oh, what if Chris Avellone did this." "Oh, I wanted this instead of this!" "If only he managed to.." Well, guess what? Unfortunately, he didn't. Instead, he got to return to the work he started on Van Buren and finally weave it into New Vegas. I, for one, am immensely glad for that turn of events. Fallout 3 was fine enough but to have so many old Black Isle individuals return to the IP was nothing less than a godsend.

Damn TOR on its own merits if you must damn it. Not on in comparison to some hypothetical, perfect Obsidian developed masterwork. Judge it on the actual and on its own. Many of your critiques would still hold and you'd also sound a lot less petulant. You've had years to accept the notion that Obsidian's vision was likely not going to come to pass. It's probably best to let that go, Indiana.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Sheo_Dagana:
I'm sad see someone that helped found the Austin studio go, but lets face it, this isn't going to affect SWTOR in any way.

Soviet Heavy:
Burn in hell, TOR. Maybe then you can stop trashing Knights of the Old Republic 2 in order to make a quick buck.

I'm confused/curious on what you mean by that, because I see little to no references to KOTOR 2 in this game.

It's more about what Lucas did to KOTOR 2 in the run-up to the release of TOR, as well as stuff in the background events:

FTFY. There's a reason that LucasArts forced the game to come out early with a chopped ending. He Who Shall Not Be Named was death on the idea of a morally ambiguous force. It's also why there was no KOTOR 3 and SWTOR was set several hundred years later. It allowed for easier retconning.

Andy Chalk:
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk said at the time that the studio was "bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people," but didn't specify how many were being cut or when they'd be shown the door.

And so another company has been raped and pillaged to its eventual doom. I can't say I'm suprised. Once they allied with EA it was only a matter of time. I would have kept a running tally of just how many companies have fallen to EA's horrific mismanagement, but I lost track about a decade ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saalGKY7ifU

In all seriousness, I do sincerely wish those who lost their jobs the best but Bioware went to bed with the devil (EA). This is what happens...

fi6eka:

Starke:

Though, as you pointed out, KOTOR2 really deals with the fallout of that war in detail.

War.War never changes.

Sorry, but the oportunity was ripe for the taking.

OT:I have no sumpathy for ToR, especialy since it completely retcons most of the plot of KOTOR2.

captcha:Burger with fries. - more like Bullshit and chips if you ask me.

Just remember, when the chips are down, the Brahmin is empty.

But yeah, I'm with you on the no sympathy. This whole thing has a hilarious schadenfreude quality for me.

Im seeing it all fall apart before my very eyes!

 

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.