Dual Universe has finally admitted JC Baillie is no longer running Novaquark, but it’s mum about who is

    
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This piece has been updated at the end; the original is as follows.

The Dual Universe community has been churning over the last couple of days following the news that it has a new leader. According to recent stock filings, the president of Novaquark, which has been Jean-Christophe Baillie for many years, is now Nicolas Granatino. The filing date of March 31st suggests that the changeover was made earlier this year.

The Redditors who uncovered the move are theorizing that the company has been bought out or received substantial new investment, leading to a leadership shuffle on the board, which would certainly make sense given other indie MMO studios where that’s occurred. It’d also make sense if the Nicolas Granatino listed is the same wealthy financier who’s left footprints all over Google. Obviously, players who backed DU on Kickstarter on through the beta that kicked off last summer are concerned about the state of the game and the company in light of the lack of communication from the studio on the subject thus far.

We reached out to Novaquark PR yesterday morning for clarification, specifically asking whether Baillie was still involved in the company and whether there had been a buyout, but as of this morning, the studio had declined to answer our questions; instead, a representative for Novaquark suggested that we continue waiting for a separate statement it will apparently be making to its playerbase in lieu of talking to the press ahead of time. As we had already held the story a whole day awaiting comment, we are now publishing what is already public knowledge, and as always, we’ll update when we know more.

Source: Societe.com via Reddit. With thanks to Jose for the tip.
Update, 5p EDT
There’s still no statement to press or players this evening, but it appears everyone was right about who Granatino was.

Incidentally, the Reddit thread (where we saw the original leak) was apparently lifted from Discorders without attribution, so credit for our source more properly belongs to them. o7

Update, 6:30p EDT
The statement is finally out this evening, and it’s… brief and light on details. Players will immediately notice that it refers to discussions about publicly accessible corporate documents in the wake of studio silence as “speculation.” It relegates the admission that JC Baillie is no longer in charge of the company to the fourth paragraph, which refers only to the fact that he’s moved on to a new role, without disclosing what that is or who is replacing him or why. No mention of the new president is made.

“We would like to address the recent speculations that have arisen in our community, and openly disclose some changes that are happening at Novaquark.

“First and foremost, Novaquark continues to be supported by its long term investors to allow it to launch Dual Universe in line with its original vision. It also puts us in a position to attract experienced talent to complement the team that’s already in place so that we can continue to improve the game.

“Next week, we will share with you what we think our priorities should be for Dual Universe and how we hope to approach the development of the game with improved processes going forward.

“An important change to note is that Jean-Christophe, the founder of Novaquark, has transitioned from the day-to-day management of the team to better focus on his position as a board member. Over the years since the creation of Novaquark, JC designed and set the standards for the structural and conceptual foundation of the game, and he feels now that a solid base is there for him to move forward as a strategic advisor. The recent changes in the administrative presidency of the company only reflect the transition of JC to his new role. We’re excited to have the team he has built deliver on his vision for the game.

“Rest assured that Novaquark’s future is in good hands, and there is a strong partnership between our long-term investors and our team. We believe that the future is bright for the game and for the company, and we cannot wait to tell you where we want to take Dual Universe.”

Grim.

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Karma_Mule

Well Mr. Granatino does seem to have been a fan for a while. In this May 2020 article about “the metaverse” he mentions Dual Universe in a comment:

https://medium.com/swlh/our-future-is-in-the-virtual-worlds-metaverse-here-s-what-you-need-to-know-676037cd7ea2

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Bryan Correll

I’m sure there’s no cause for concern. I mean, Gazillion Entertainment went incommunicado for a while and that all turned out all right, didn’t it?

Reader
cannotweep

Why would a company refuse to release such seemingly harmless information? Is it not harmless in this particular case?

Reader
Mark Redhorse

This should be a sign of DU’s demise. The game has only progressively gotten worse since the beta began last summer, and after the major changes to the factory building dynamics coupled with the unbearable lag caused by the greed to bring in as many (paying) players as possible without thought to how it would affect the server(s) lag told me all I needed to know. I haven’t logged in in months and with this little tid-bit I’ve canceled both my subs. Good ridence and fare well and adieu. For those still playing, watch for the next changes, they’ll tell you alot about where the new tool bag president is taking you.
Cheers!!

Reader
Renold Cache

I bought into their “subscription beta”. The game runs like garbage, and I’ve been able to run cyberpunk since release. I tried to get my money back, and they said that was no t possible. So I said, f** it, asked them to cancel the sub, and played for a bit, then just forgot about it.

When the sub auto-renewed I contacted them again to have it refunded, as I did not intend to resubscribe. Once again, they came back saying “they didn’t have the ability to reverse any charges” and maybe I could “figure it out.”

So I registered a chargeback against them for both months and got all my money back instead. I recommend not doing business with this company.

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Francis Baud

I’m a bit shocked to learn that Jean-Christophe isn’t the President of NovaQuark anymore, as he was the public figure associated with the studio.