Funcom: Departure Of ‘Age Of Conan’ Game Director Will Make MMO More ‘Player-Centric’

Change is under way for “Age of Conan,” and players will like it, a Funcom rep told Multiplayer.

On Wednesday, Funcom announced in their official forums that producer/game director of “Age of Conan” Gaute Godager (pictured) has parted ways with the company.

Godager was with Funcom for 16 years, and was one of the original founders of the company.

MTV Multiplayer contacted Funcom product director Jørgen Tharaldsen about Godager’s sudden departure and how this will affect the game.

Here’s what Tharaldsen had to say via e-mail:

[Image Credit: Joacim Lund]

Tharaldsen: Besides losing a good workmate and friend here at the Oslo studio of Funcom, I think that the fact that Gaute leaves means that we get a direction which is more player-centric, since [new game director Craig Morrison] is so good at being hands-on with the communities at all times. As we are now in a live phase with “Conan” that is really the only goal, you know, making sure our players are happy and have fun.

“As we are now in a live phase with ’Conan’ that is really the only goal… making sure our players are happy and have fun.”

Craig Morrison, the new game director, has worked on both community management here in Funcom and as a game director on “Anarchy Online,” so he brings a very unique experience to the role (and he is great guy too). So while Gaute’s decision to leave is something which will lead the game in new directions, I feel certain that the players will notice a great vision for the game going forward as well. We have seen but the start of the evolution of “Age of Conan,” and out of all the people in Funcom, I can’t think of anyone which could do it better than Craig.

“While Gaute’s decision to leave… will lead the game in new directions, I feel certain that the players will notice a great vision for the game going forward.”

Still, and I think this is important to mention too, Gaute was one of the founders of Funcom and has been one of the luminaries of the MMO world. The MMO genre would not have been the same without him (i.e. this was the man which got instancing into MMO games for the first time, or the action combat system in “Conan,” and many, many other smaller and bigger things). I can’t count how many MMO developers I have met through the years who were inspired by things Gaute and the team around him got into the genre, and as of such we also lose something. He has surely done some great things, and as he now embarks on a new career outside Funcom it’s also in place to give a big thank you for all his contributions.

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What do you think readers? Does this have you convinced that “Age of Conan” is headed in the right direction?

Additional reporting by Patrick Klepek.

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