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Goblinworks | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 2014)  | Pub:Goblinworks
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New CEO Lisa Stevens Posts Community Address

Posted by Suzie Ford on Sep 03, 2015  | Comments

New CEO Lisa Stevens Posts Community Address - MMORPG.com

After the Mumble chat with the Pathfinder Online community last night, much has been speculated about what all the changes mean. With Ryan Dancey and all but three employees removed from the development team, the future of the game is in question. In a new post today, new CEO Lisa Stevens has written a very frank letter to the community. We present it here in its entirety and invite your analysis.

To the Pathfinder Online Community:

From the beginning of the three-year journey to create Pathfinder Online, the one constant has been the support of our community and for this I thank you.  We have had ups and downs including heated debates on design, implementation and overall gameplay.  We have literally battled together (or against each other) and I know you enjoy playing the game as much as I do.  I also know that the community comes together during tough times, and it is probably no surprise that we are currently in a tough spot right now.  There are a number of things that have occurred in the past two weeks that you need to be brought up to date on.   

As we have been on this journey to create Pathfinder Online with you for over three years now, we have striven to be as transparent as possible with you.  We just shared the following message with the community during our weekly Keepside Chat.  In full transparency, here is a quick run down of the state of our game: 

  • EE10.2 is on ZOG for final testing and should roll out to the live server very soon.
  • EE11 is targeted for the end of September
  • Ryan Dancey has resigned from the company for personal reasons (Lisa Stevens will be acting CEO)
  • Finances are tight at Goblinworks, which has resulted in the layoff of the majority of Goblinworks staff
  • CTO Mark Kalmes, Art Director Mike Hines, and Designer Bob Settles continue to push the game forward (your monthly subscriptions are what keep these three employed and the server up)
  • Goblinworks is in talks with multiple game publishers to take the game on and bring it to Open Enrollment

I know that is a lot to take in, so I will share what details we can below:

Game status (EE10.2 and EE11):

We are in final testing before pushing EE10.2 to the live server with its fully revamped and improved new player experience, buy orders for the auction house as well as auction sales histories, settlement chat, and the new crystal ogres monthly event, as well as turning the previous event (The Wrath of Nhur Athemon and its Shadow counterpart) into an ongoing escalation, and making a bunch of bug fixes and improvements.  The team has been working hard on this and on EE11 for most of July and August.  EE11 is done in design, almost entirely done in art, and just needs a bit more programming to get it to the point where we can test. It will take settlement activities to the next level by allowing you to customize and build your settlements the way you want to.  Building a settlement will be a large group task, with lots of raw materials to gather and refine before buildings can be erected.  We will also have the dark elves monthly event ready, providing more PVE content for those who are focused on that aspect of the game.  The core team has the goal of shipping  EE11 by the end of September, and we'll keep you updated on our progress. 

Ryan Dancey:

Ryan Dancey needed to resign from the company for personal reasons.  We were very sad that he needed to leave us, but supported his decision because it is in the best interests of Ryan’s life outside Goblinworks.  In Ryan’s absence, the board of directors has appointed me Acting CEO.

Finances:

We have always known that we would need a certain amount of money to make Pathfinder Online a reality.  Some delays in getting the game to market coupled with some anticipated funding falling through have left us about 25% short of the money we need to finish the game and bring it to Open Enrollment.  We knew that we could cut our burn rate (the rate at which expenses burn your cash reserves) by having folks participate in Early Enrollment and that was always the plan, though we never thought that the Early Enrollment subscribers could carry the company to Open Enrollment.  We knew we needed that full investment amount to do that.  We had numerous times this year where the full funding was dangling in front of us only to be snatched away at the last moment.  Very frustrating, but we moved forward and kept looking for somebody to come through with the money we needed to see the game through. 

Due to the commitment that you have made to the game, your current subscriptions are able to keep the core team employed and the servers live.  We will continue to move the game forward with that team and keep the servers live as long as the continued financial support from the community is there.  But that means we need you, the Pathfinder Online Community, to continue to support us with your monthly subscription fees.  They are very literally what is keeping the servers paid for, and keeping our core team employed, working on EE11, and talking with various potential partners about purchasing the game so they can finish it. If you wish to see the game through to its finish, we need you to support it financially for the next few months, and if you know people that want to support it, encourage them to subscribe now.  (During this period, we will offer only month-to-month subscriptions.) 

On August 28, we had to lay off the majority of the Goblinworks staff.  Continuing to push the game forward are CTO Mark Kalmes, Art Director Mike Hines, and Designer Bob Settles.  We have been keeping the staff abreast of our efforts to find funding for Pathfinder Online and that we would likely have to lay them off on the 28th.  We felt it was super important to give our employees warning so they could plan their lives accordingly.  Their efforts to line up new jobs led to some of the rumors about layoffs.  So why didn’t we announce this earlier?  Because there was and still remains a chance for Pathfinder Online to get its funding and continue forward, so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that we would have to lay the staff off until Friday, the 28th.

Future

For the past few weeks, we have been shopping Pathfinder Online to a number of other game publishers, looking for a good fit to take the game on and fund it over the finish line.  There have been quite a few companies coming out of the woodwork to discuss this with us and we are in ongoing talks with a number of them about the possibilities.  More companies enter the fray every day.  These kinds of things take some time, though we are motivated to see them through as quickly as we can.  At any moment, one of these publishers could agree to buy the game and we could quickly ramp up to full tilt again.  Due to confidentiality, we can’t provide information on these negotiations.  Rest assured that you will be the first people we tell when there is news we can share. 

This isn’t a super rosy picture, but we aren’t dead yet!  The Goblinworks team and the Pathfinder Online community have been underdogs for pretty much the entire project’s history.  But we have persevered and survived.  Sometimes it is darkest right before the dawn.  When I was at White Wolf, we were close to having our electricity and phones shut off in the month before Vampire: The Masquerade released and became a huge hit.  At Wizards of the Coast, we had to lay off the entire staff for 9 months before Magic: The Gathering launched and became one of the most successful games in history.  You have my word that I will work relentlessly to find the right partner to take Pathfinder Online through to the finish line.  The team has brought the ball down the field to the red zone, and now we just need somebody to punch it over the goal line. 

I will be hosting another Keepside Chat on Wednesday, September 8th at its normal time of 5pm PST.  You can join the chat live by going to:

Golarion.mumble.com

Port 3093 

The ability for us to make Pathfinder Online has always been entirely dependent upon you, the Pathfinder Online Community and the support you have given us.  I would like to thank the Pathfinder Online community for your fierce dedication, support, feedback, and drive to see this game made well.  The only reason to make Pathfinder Online is you, our customer.  I hope you will stay with us over the next few months as we search for that proper partner to finish the game.  It is your support, literally, that will allow this to happen.  Without you, there is no Pathfinder Online.   

You have my eternal gratitude,

Lisa Stevens

Acting CEO

Goblinworks Inc.

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Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom
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