This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective.
I finally heard the now two days old news, CCP Soundwave is leaving CCP. He is leaving to join Riot Games to work on League of Legends. That makes me sad. His reasons given sound fair enough though, he has been with CCP a long time and people do move on eventually.
I’m not overly surprised by the news, given that Soundwave announced his retirement as host of the Alliance Tournament recently. Once he did that immediately raised an eyebrow and asked the question of if he was just stepping down from the role or leaving the company. Guess it was the company.
The other reason I have for not being surprised is purely conjecture, but I have wondered before if Soundwave was ever going to advance further within CCP. He took on the lead designer role quite a long time ago now and we have had the executive producer job change hands a couple of times since without him taking it on. When CCP Unifex announced that he was steeping down as EVE’s executive producer my first thought was the Soundwave might be stepping up in his place. Instead the role was reorganised into the CCP Seagull/CCP Ripley double act dividing/expanding the responsibilities of the role between them. CCP then started looking to hire from the outside a new executive producer for which they brought on-board Sean Decker from Electronic Arts as ‘Senior Vice President of Product Development’.
If I were in the EVE Lead Designer role at CCP and thinking about where my career goes next, I’m not sure I would be seeing much scope for advancement in-house any time soon. At that point, you have got to be thinking about if staying with the same company for another three, five or more years is really the best career choice.
So yeah, I’m not surprised to hear it, but the news does make me sad. I’m going to miss Soundwave’s public speaking. I’m going to miss that quirky sense of humour he brings to his interaction with the community. And I’m going to miss knowing with certainty that EVE’s lead designer genuine ‘gets’ the game and its players.
Who will replace him I wonder? I would hope that it will be an internal promotion, someone who came to the company due to their love of the game. Someone with years of experience actually playing the game. If they do look outside of the company again, then I really do hope that the first criteria on their list is experience in EVE itself.
If it is an internal promotion, I’m not too sure who it will be. The next most senior designer I can think of is CCP Greyscale, an ever controversial figure with the community. He often gets put on the big feature projects like Crimewatch 2.0, but comes with a reputation for doubling down on unpopular ideas. Not sure how he would be received as lead designer! CCP Fozzie on the other hand is a very visible and popular game designer, but only recently joined the company so would seem like an outside bet to get such a senior role.
An announcement from CCP on all of this can’t be far away and it looks like this has been awhile coming so I’d imagine a decision has been made by now. I look forward to the announcement with interest!
CCP Soundwave, so long and thanks for all the spaceships.