Accepting the job and moving to Montreal was one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make yet. I received the phone call from Means back in November last year, from a tiny fishing village in central Japan, and the cell reception was really really bad. At first I thought I had misheard, but when I climbed one of the large cliffs by the seaside, the message got through. He was really leaving, and I was asked to take his place. The rest of my vacation I was in deep thoughts. On the one hand, I was very happy working remotely from Sweden, living with my man and close to my family. On the other hand, I love the AO team and the game itself, and I wanted to help filling Means shoes when he was gone. So when getting back home to Stockholm once my vacation was over, we agreed that I would come over to Montreal for one year. And I have never regretted this decision, even though it has been very hard at times.
My work here this year has been greatly focused on one thing, to build for a strong future of AO. I see a very big potential in this game and I know you do too. When I look back at these ten months, I believe that even though we are not there yet, the hardest stretch has been overcome, thanks to my wonderful team.
They have created a new player market (GMI), a system that is easily maintained, accessible by all subscribers, and which much improved the performance of our game. They have improved our development tools to ensure that devs can create completely new and exciting content for many years to come, something that have been neglected due to our small team size pretty much since launch. They have soon finished creating a new player experience that will unite froobs and subscribers, and touch on all the elements that makes AO unique and fun, customized for all the different professions, making sure that new and returning players love AO as much as we do. They have fixed so many bugs and annoyances, and improved many features based on your requests. They have begun creating a Dreamworld engine beta client, that will be available for free side by side to the older client. The new client will greatly modernize our graphics and visual style, without removing the charm and unique atmosphere that AO currently offers, and we’re finally beginning to see the light in the end of the tunnel on this greatly experimental project. I am very proud of this team, and I know that our united direction to make AO stronger will be tended to with uttermost passion and care.
Now the time has come for me to leave my position as Game Director, an announcement that saddens me deeply as I love my job, but with the recent cuts in Funcom it makes sense for the project that I say goodbye sooner rather than later to ensure that we can keep someone else on the team. Even though this saddens me, I feel very good about going home to my man and my family again, as one of my closest ones have taken ill recently.
I love AO, and I still like playing it after working on it for half a decade which says quite a lot. AO is a game for creative people and for those who enjoy a real challenge, but it’s also for those who like to meet new people and play with friends, because we have the best game community I’ve ever seen, and I know that the team will work very hard to ensure AO’s very bright future. We’ve been running for over 11 years, nothing can stop us now (:
Tarib edit: German Translation