Jeff Freeman, Former SWG Lead Gameplay Designer, Dies

Jeff Freeman, Former SWG Lead Gameplay Designer, Dies

image

Jeff Freeman, former Lead Gameplay Designer on Star Wars Galaxies, has tragically taken his own life.

Freeman had previously worked at Spacetime Studios as well as on Ultima Online, but is best known for his stint on Star Wars Galaxies, where he was unfortunate enough to become the public face of the "New Game Enhancements" update, one of the most infamous debacles in MMOG history. In a story from June 2007, Allen Varney detailed how Freeman became the target of gamer rage over the NGE, even though his role in its development was minor.

Despite the fact that he continued to suffer online abuse at the hands of Star Wars Galaxies players unhappy with the NGE changes even after leaving Sony Online Entertainment in late 2006, Freeman's brother clarified that his suicide had nothing to do with the game. "I want everyone to know that it was not SWG that led him to take his life," he said. "He has been troubled for some time. There were a lot of personal issues that tore at him."

A memorial service will be held for Freeman in his hometown of Austin, Texas, on October 2. He was 39.

Permalink

*raises a glass*

Difficult to add words without them becoming a cliche.

The_root_of_all_evil:
*raises a glass*

Difficult to add words without them becoming a cliche.

"May the Force be with you...always"?

Still, sad that he died, more sad that he committed suicide. :/ I find it hard to sympathise with people who commit suicide though, simply because it's something I view as one of the ultimate selfish acts.

Thanks for saying it before I did Amnestic, while this may spark a "is suicide justified?" debate, I'm still sticking with what I believe by just saying that I can't really offer condolences to someone who kills themselves, and that's saying something because I use to be suicidal and I had 2 friends take their own lives.

-but they have still died so I'm gonna give them that "default respect" because it's still a loss. May Jeff have fun toying with "The Force" in the afterlife!

I agree with everything ElArabDeMagnifico, minus the suicidal part. Also haven't had a friend commit suicide, but I did have one make a damn good stab at it.

thebobmaster:
I agree with everything ElArabDeMagnifico, minus the suicidal part. Also haven't had a friend commit suicide, but I did have one make a damn good stab at it.

Okay, now hold on. How can you *fail* to commit suicide? I mean, I know it happens but I'll be damned if 90% weren't merely seeking attention.

I can get it if you were interrupted before/during your attempt, but you'd think people would plan better for the last moments of their life.

I was contacted late tonight by John Donham, senior producer on Star Wars Galaxies and a former co-worker of Jeff Freeman. He had this to say:

"I wanted to mention Jeff was also the one who did the SWG pet system, one of the most praised game systems in the original SWG. I was the senior producer of SWG, I worked for Rich Vogel. I remember trying to cut the pet system because we were running out of time to ship the game, so he came in over a weekend and didn't go home, made the whole thing, and it was spectacular. One of the best design creations I've seen in 15 years of making online games. It's just a stunning and terrible loss, and Jeff being remembered for the NGE is such an injustice, when so much of his spectacular designs are what made the original SWG so special."

Malygris:
I was contacted late tonight by John Donham, senior producer on Star Wars Galaxies and a former co-worker of Jeff Freeman. He had this to say:

"I wanted to mention Jeff was also the one who did the SWG pet system, one of the most praised game systems in the original SWG. I was the senior producer of SWG, I worked for Rich Vogel. I remember trying to cut the pet system because we were running out of time to ship the game, so he came in over a weekend and didn't go home, made the whole thing, and it was spectacular. One of the best design creations I've seen in 15 years of making online games. It's just a stunning and terrible loss, and Jeff being remembered for the NGE is such an injustice, when so much of his spectacular designs are what made the original SWG so special."

Rather than dwell on his death, let us celebrate his life.

Mental health issues are a lot more complicated than you think.

I guess we need a mental health thread, but this is the Jeff Freeman thread. Sounds like he will be quite missed.

I never played SWG, but it sounded really cool. RIP, Mr. Freeman.

thebobmaster:
I agree with everything ElArabDeMagnifico, minus the suicidal part. Also haven't had a friend commit suicide, but I did have one make a damn good stab at it.

.... was that pun intended?

meatloaf231:
Rather than dwell on his death, let us celebrate his life.

Agreed, he seemed like a great guy that happened to have bad luck when NGE hit.

R.I.P.

What a shame. I extend my sympathies to his family and friends. It's hard to understand the demons that go through the mind of a person who can take their own life. I wish him the peace in the afterlife that he obviously could not find in this life.

Amnestic:

thebobmaster:
I agree with everything ElArabDeMagnifico, minus the suicidal part. Also haven't had a friend commit suicide, but I did have one make a damn good stab at it.

Okay, now hold on. How can you *fail* to commit suicide? I mean, I know it happens but I'll be damned if 90% weren't merely seeking attention.

I can get it if you were interrupted before/during your attempt, but you'd think people would plan better for the last moments of their life.

She took 40 Advil. I'd say that's a bit beyond "seeking attention".

Well...Breen won, Freeman is dead...Sorry....

Anyway, it's sad to see him go.

Why God? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Take George Lucas or John Smedley instead :'(

Dear lord this is sad. Everybody seems to be kicking the bucket this year. It's depressing.

Rest in Peace Jeff.

You'll be missed.

I apologize, but I just couldn't stop myself from posting a message. This is Jeff's ex-wife and the mother of his two teenage sons. Shame on you that say you can't sympathize. I certainly hope his 16 and 18 year old sons don't stumble across this page as I have done.

I don't believe that a person not suffering from serious depression (as he obviously was) could see things from someone's point of view that is suffering. How hopeless would one have to be to see absolutely nothing to live for and to just want everything to end?

Jeff's death is a horrible loss for all of us (his family). He leaves behind many people that love him and, even though he didn't know it, our lives will always have a void that can never be filled.

I'm sorry, but callous comments from people that have absolutely NO idea what they are talking about (along with no sympathy) make me sick.

Rest in peace, Jeff. I wish you had known how much you are loved. I'll be seeing you on the other side someday. :) Love Always, Jannetta

This is Jeff's brother. Jannetta is so right and such a good person. It angers me very much that she had to respond to people without a clue.

Jeff will be missed and we should honor his life. There are some that hide behind an online name that can not behave in a proper social manner.

Amnestic, I pray that you never have a family member that is hurting in this way. It is a terrible loss, you can not imagine the pain.

I'd like to point to a very nice post by Raph Koster on Jeff:

Raph:
He did much more, but for me that was a shining moment. This was a guy older than me, a guy with more life experience, frankly. But to me Jeff was the guy that I found out there and helped and advised and hired and watched blossom. He was on his own trajectory - no question - but I am not someone who has really been a mentoring type, honestly, for whatever reason. He was a guy I could point to who had challenged me, learned from me when I had something to offer, and forged his own path. He went on to do great work on Jump to Lightspeed and then with Spacetime.

We disagreed about the NGE. But I also knew that when he got blamed for the whole thing, that it was a silly oversimplification, and I said so. It wasn't fair for him to be the public face of the NGE, but it happened anyway. He spent a huge amount of time talking to the players, talking to people for years afterwards, explaining, apologizing, justifying what he didn't need to and shouldn't have had to.

The full post is at http://www.raphkoster.com/2008/09/30/jeff-dundee-freeman/

One of the comments on his post in particular seems very appropriate to me

Fishermage:
I know you are the one with the theory of fun, man. Here's my minor corollary: the world just got less fun now that he's no longer here with us.

I knew Dundee casually back when he was an active participant in the UO community - he had a brilliant mind, and it really is a tragedy that he'll no longer be a part of our virtual worlds.

I feel this is appropriate, from one Star Wars fan to another:

"Kaysh nu kyr'adyc, shi taab'echaaj'la. Ret'urcye mhi Jeff."

It's a Mandalorian saying meaning: "He is not gone, merely marching far away. Goodbye Jeff.

As a former Galaxies player, I appreciate the work he did to make my days more fun, we'll all miss him.

Amnestic:
Okay, now hold on. How can you *fail* to commit suicide? I mean, I know it happens but I'll be damned if 90% weren't merely seeking attention.

I can get it if you were interrupted before/during your attempt, but you'd think people would plan better for the last moments of their life.

Besides counting every ounce of courage and backing off there are ways to do it wrong. Ways that I'd rather not go into.

The attention seeking ones probably need attention for a reason.

I'm afraid I don't remember the pet system, but I was one of the first people who signed on and enjoyed the game.

Thoughts and prayers go to Jeff and his family.

The insensitive remarks are made out of ignorance, I think. I think the MMO industry was better having had Jeff in it.

Well, what else can be said? It's a sad loss, yes, but there's not much we can do now. Either way, Rest in Peace Jeff Freeman. Always to young, but like some other people said we should celebrate his life not mourn his death.

This might cheer you up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo

I've always found the word "condolences" to be rather sterile, when offering comfort. i don't know why however i felt the need to post here, even though I'm not a terribly active member on this site. It is truly a sad loss, to lose such a fine gentleman in this world. A man who seemed to have endless integrity, strong will and compassion. What hurts the most is that he is a father of two children. He has surely touched so many lives in so many facets. Even me, someone who has never played SWG, or met him, or anyone he knows but can still be affected deeply by his story.

All i hope for is that his passing can contribute to something much greater. I wish his family the very best, and I'm sure this story will linger in my mind for a very long time.

Bobby

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here