John Smedley has retired from his position as president of Daybreak Game Company, the studio formerly known as, whose work includes Planetside 2, Everquest, and the zombie survival MMO H1Z1.
The news was confirmedby a Daybreak spokesperson, though no official reason was given for the departure.
“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined,” said the representative. “Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”
Smedley had recently been targeted by hacker group Lizard Squad, after threatening to sue a member of the group, Julius Kivimaki, for reportedlyhim and calling in a that grounded a plane Smedley was flying in. This lead (inevitably given that this is the internet, home of mean-spirited spitefulness) to Lizard Squad carrying out several DDoS attacks on the Daybreak servers, taking most of its high-profile games offline.
It seems reasonable to assume that either Smedley is just tired of being targeted, or that he's distancing himself from the company in order to divert any other potential attacks. Daybreak's current COO Russell Shanks will take up his position in the meantime.
It's a shame. I've always had a lot of time for Smedley, despite not really getting on with H1Z1. He came across as very open and down-to-earth, in a way that the corporate heads of gaming companies generally tend not to be. He was a constant presence on Reddit during development, answering fan queries and admitting when Daybreak had made a mistake., of course, but it's not pleasant to see transparency and openness rewarded , doxing and bomb threats. Who'd be a high-profile public figure on the internet, eh?