(In case you haven’t kept up with gaming soap operas over the years, David Allen, before his tenure on Alganon, was the original lead designer of Horizons, which had a…. somewhat troubled past. Derek Smart, before his tenure on Alganon, was Derek Smart.)
Dave Allen didn’t “depart”. I fired him back in February for insurbordination and for acting against the best interests of the company. Shortly after the investors of the LLC unanimously voted him off the LLC. So yeah, he has been gone since Feb 22, 2010. I am not at liberty to go into any further details at this time but only to say that eventually everything we do can and will catch up with us. It is only a matter of time. I also fired Jason Blood – his long time buddy – shortly after that and for the same reason.
The Dec 1st launch of the game should never have happened. It was a mistake that has not only cost the company money but has also cost people their jobs and put an otherwise exceptional product at risk. As a game developer, I know all too well that if your game is not finished and you release it, thats just asking for trouble. No matter how great the game and technology are, it can and will fail. Especially in this industry climate. The average gamer is as finnicky as a hummingbird on acid, with a very short attention span and a penchant for being largely unforgiving. In other words, pulling a stunt like that is the death knell for many a game and company.
This whole “WoW look-a-like” rubbish, is gone. I’ve essentially asked them to throw it all out and for the artists to come up with the game’s own unique look and feel for for both the web UI as well as the game UI itself. You don’t go competiting with WoW when you don’t have a WoW sized budget or the manpower to match. But thats what David wanted to do and I’ve pretty much tossed it all. The team was unable to actually do this previously due to David wanting it that way, even though they knew it was a terrible decision.
You know, I’m tempted to subscribe just to keep reading these posts. Oh wait. I don’t have to!
We’re also getting rid of the monthly subscriptions. They are currently suspended, but will be gone for good. I put that plan into place since Dec 2009 with a view to making the game “subscription free” but supported via sales (I was the one who had the client price reduced to $19.95 as well btw) of the client as well as micro-transactions. It is not a traditional F2P game, but if thats what we have to do in the long run, then so be it. For now, we’re taking baby steps.
Derek Smart: the last community manager you’ll ever desire.