John Smedley is moving on from his role heading the San Diego branch of Amazon Game Studios, according to a memo sent to staff and first published on Bloomberg this afternoon. “After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time for me to try my hand at something new,” he writes.
Smed is well known in the MMO genre, of course; he ran MMORPG company Sony Online Entertainment (EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, PlanetSide, DC Universe Online) for nearly two decades. SOE split from Sony in 2015 and became Daybreak, while Smed himself left Daybreak in mid-2015 following a harassment campaign against him and the company. He then founded Pixelmage Games to Kickstart indie retro sandbox MMO Hero’s Song, though it was canceled mid-development (and donors refunded), immediately after which Smed – and most of the Hero’s Song team – were picked up by Amazon Games in 2017.
Since that point, he’s been heading up a team working on some sort of sci-fi MMO-shooter that had yet to be formally announced. We do know it was still in production as of last fall, and Amazon told Bloomberg that Smed’s team “remains focused on bringing their unannounced project to life” and that he’ll be “staying on until the team is fully transitioned before he moves on to pursue something new.”