19 months after leaving Daybreak Game Company and just a month after shuttering the doors of his indie startup Pixelmage Games, John Smedley has found new employment.
Smedley will head up the San Diego office of Amazon Game Studios, makers of upcoming almost-certain-to-be-F2P arena battler Breakaway, along with MMO titles New World and Crucible. It doesn’t appear that Smedley and his team will be contributing to those two games, according to a statement by Amazon:
His team is already hard at work on an ambitious new project that taps into the power of the AWS Cloud and Twitch to connect players around the globe in a thrilling new game world.
It’s also possible that whatever game the San Diego studio cooks up won’t be free-to-play, since Smedley doesn’t like microtransactions. But now that he’s working for someone again — as it was with SOE/Daybreak — he might have to adapt his vision to suit those of his superiors.
In an email interview with GamesIndustry, Smedley said that he’s excited to work with Amazon and, of course, Twitch. He extensively courted big Twitch streamers to promote Daybreak’s games, most notably H1Z1.
So what exactly will Smedley’s division be working on? Let the “next big MMO” rumor mill begin! Given his background, and probably the sense of unfulfilled potential Smedley probably has regarding EverQuest Next and Hero’s Song, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t want to make something along those lines. In fact, Smedley himself made a few comments about the current state of MMOs in the GI interview:
“I think we’re seeing the evolution of the MMO into a lot of different forms. I look at Destiny and I think it’s an amazing MMO, but it’s nothing like WoW. I think we’re also seeing the realization that content is incredibly time consuming to make, and keeping up with the players is a difficult thing to do.
“For someone trying to make a WoW-MMO they have to deal with 12 years of content. That’s going to mean a focus on more player-owned systems and games that are more open ended (Day Z or H1Z1 are great examples of this) where other players are the content. We’ll still see great MMOs, we’re just going to see them evolve from what they are now.”
So what’s your take on John Smedley’s new gig? Will his new game be something you’re looking forward to trying, or is there too much of a sour taste in your mouth from his previous efforts?