Garwulf's Corner

Garwulf's Corner
A Note From Garwulf In Support of John Smedley

Robert B. Marks | 24 Jul 2015 12:00
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The news has broken that John Smedley has stepped down as CEO of the Daybreak Game Company, following a sustained campaign of harassment.

Back in 2002, the original Garwulf's Corner had just ended, and I had begun working on a book about EverQuest for Osborne/McGraw-Hill. (The book would be published in 2003 under the title The EverQuest Companion). To research this book and properly tell the inside story, my editor at McGraw-Hill and I needed to go to Sony Online in San Diego, and interview the developers. To do that, we needed access first... and that could only be granted by John Smedley.

We arrived in his office on a sunny morning, as I recall, and after some brief pleasantries, he asked us to explain what the book was about. Both my editor and I knew that if he didn't like what we told him, we wouldn't get to interview a soul, and the book would be dead. We also knew that John had been besieged a couple of times already by reporters ready to crucify the game for online addiction and causing a suicide.

And we weren't doing a PR piece for Sony Online - we were telling the whole story, warts and all...the successes and the mistakes. Let's just say it was a tense moment, with the very existence of the book hanging in the balance.

I suppose we could have lied and said what we thought he wanted to hear to get what we needed. But we didn't - we took the risk, because that was the right thing to do. I explained the project to him: That we were going to be responsible and take a holistic approach, tell the story as it was, the good and the bad.

I almost didn't have enough time to finish speaking before he gave us full access to the company.

That's the John Smedley I know. There are a lot of people who wouldn't have done that - people who would have tried to stage manage the publicity, or sweep the mistakes under the rug. But John Smedley didn't. If there's a stand-up guy in the world of video game development, it's him.

That he should be driven away from what he loves is unconscionable, and he deserves so much better. And John: if you're reading this, I hope you land on your feet, and are able to find a way to keep doing what you love.

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