MMORPG.com has learned that Funcom Producer and Game Director Gaute Godager has resigned his role at the helm of the company’s flagship title, Age of Conan. Funcom wasted no time in announcing his replacement, however in the form of Anarchy Online Producer and Game Director Craig Morrison.
Godager cites elements of Age of Conan that he was unhappy with as the reason for his departure from the company that he helped to build and grow over the last 16 years:
“I have done my very best making this fabulous game, but I have concluded there are elements which I am dissatisfied with. I have decided to act on this, and as a result I have chosen to leave Funcom. It is time to get new, fresh eyes on Age of Conan, and I wholeheartedly support the appointment of Craig. I have had a fantastic time these last 16 years, and I am very proud of the many things Funcom has achieved. Funcom and Conan will always be a big part of me, but as I now look to new ventures outside the gaming industry I am certain Age of Conan’s future is in the best of hands.”
When reached for comment, Age of Conan Product Manager Erling Ellingson echoed Godager’s sentiment, “Gaute has done a great job on Age of Conan, and he has really poured a lot of passion into this. After almost 20 years in the gaming industry he is naturally eager to explore new opportunities, and he also felt that it was time we got some new, fresh eyes on Age of Conan.”
Godager’s replacement, 32 year old Craig Morrison comes from a journalistic background. Before joining the team on Funcom’s Anarchy Online in 2004, Morrison was an Operations Executive for a UK-based news newspaper (Telegraph group) and also spent time as an Associate Editor for IGN’s Vault Network, running a number of their sites.
It is this unique skill set that Funcom says makes Morrison the perfect candidate for the job. In their press release, the company points to his media based management experience and experience with all aspects of MMOs as contributing factors:
“He has extensive experience in managing various sized teams and complex projects across large media based environments. He has also played, written about, managed, produced and directed MMO games for over a decade by now. With his passion and unique skill-set he brings proven MMO experience to his new position, and during his years as Producer on Anarchy Online he has shown a unique ability to tailor development according to the needs and requirements of the players.”
The company, through Product Manager Erling Ellingson, had nothing but good things to say about the new Conan leader:
“We have a tremendous amount of faith in Craig as a new producer and game director. One of the brilliant things about Craig is his extensive experience with handling large online communities, and right now key to Age of Conan's future success will be to listen to player feedback, analyze that and act on that. And I think Craig is perfect in that regard.”
Morrison himself had this to say:
“Taking on the position as Producer and Game Director on Age of Conan is a great challenge but also one I welcome. I have a clear conviction I can lead the further development in a good way, evolving Age of Conan into something even better. My main priority now is therefore to listen to, and act on, player concerns, while ensuring we add additional great content to the game,” said Craig Morrison. “At heart I will always be a gamer, and the coming changes and additions to Conan will always be done with the gamers in mind. Together I am certain we will shape an amazing future for Age of Conan.”
With all of this said, it is difficult at this time to know how the change will effect the game as it continues its development. MMORPG.com will keep you updated on this story as it progresses.