John Smedley, former president of Sony Online Entertainment. Everquest creator (opens new tab)Smedley, who was previously the director of Amazon Games’ San Diego headquarters, has decided to step down. Smedley stated that he had thought a lot and decided it was time to try his hand at something different. Bloomberg sent an email to its staff. (Opens in new tab.
Smedley had been with Amazon Games since 2017, which is six years. However, he did not ship any games during that period. Which is not all that unusual at Amazon Games, which has had a rocky ride over the last decade including cancelled games, launched-and-cancelled games like Crucible, and abandoning projects like the Lord of the Rings MMO.
One of the early strategies for the company, which was spearheaded by Mike Frazzini, studio head, was to hire big-ticket developers such as Kim Swift (Portal), Clint Hocking, (Far Cry 2), or Smedley. All of these people. including Frazzini (opens in new window)Amazon Games has now been left by. That’s not to suggest the publisher is in trouble—recent years have finally seen it win some success with New World and Lost Ark—but it does seem notable that so much talent has been-and-gone from Amazon Games without ever shipping a game. Smedley’s had his moments (Opens in new tabBut Everquest is undoubtedly the best. The Foundational MMO. This is the person you want to see more of.
“John is a game industry legend, and we’re grateful for his contributions to Amazon Games over the past six years,” Amazon told Bloomberg. Smedley will be staying for a transitional period as the San Diego studio continues to work on their unannounced project.
Amazon Games recently released some interesting news. It will be publishing the next Tomb Raider title and co-developing it (Opens in new tab. You can see why the hybrid approach might be more attractive, given Amazon’s success in Lost Ark and the poor track record it has with solo projects.
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