Massively managed to secure an exclusive interview with SOE president John Smedley about the company's newly announced plans to shut down Star Wars Galaxies at the end of this year. It's pretty obvious that he and the team aren't taking this too well, though it's an inevitable consequence of SWTOR's arrival:
I started off by asking John about the reason behind the cancellation and whether or not it was a matter of LucasArts choosing not to renew the contract with SOE.
John Smedley: The decision to shut down SWG is first and foremost a business decision mutually agreed upon between SOE and LucasArts. LucasArts has a new game coming out, and the contract would be running out in 2012 anyway, so we feel like it's the right time for the game to end.
This must be affecting you personally as well. If you could do the whole Star Wars experience over again, what would you do?
Here's what I would have done differently. I would have made sure the ground and space games were launched all at once. I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit. I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there. I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the NGE. At some point the only thing to do is acknowledge the mistakes you made. But we can also look and fix them in the future. Since then, the projects that the team has worked on -- like the Chronicles system -- it's pretty amazing. I want to make sure that we really learn from that stuff. And I think we have. We're actually starting to put some of that stuff into our other games.