While I’ve been in the community building business (more years than I care to admit), I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative, creative, and talented people in the industry.
And while I’ve loved my prior jobs, and their resulting communities, I have to admit that what we’ve been able to build around WildStar is nothing short of incredible. Over the last five years, I’ve had one underlying philosophy that has defined everything we’ve done on the community front: Promote authenticity.
To me, that means honest dialogue without a spin. It means admitting when we’ve done something wrong, and clearly communicating what we are doing to address the issue. It’s meant engaging in forthright communications with the people that make up the WildStar community to identify the things that matter, and find ways for our team to discuss, understand, and adopt them without getting in the way of the conversation.
I’d like to believe that if you were to stack our developer interaction against any of the other game development companies out there, the Carbine team, from developer to artist to programmer, has connected with our community in a way that is unprecedented.
I’d like to say this was a difficult process, but when you work with a team that genuinely loves what they do, it’s pretty easy to coax them into connecting with our fans. In many cases, it’s more challenging to keep them from oversharing. I’m looking at you Jeremy Gaffney and Mike Donatelli. 🙂
I’ve also had the opportunity to hire some of the most talented professionals in the business of building community. Atreid and Scooter love doing this as much as I do, and their talents and abilities have allowed us to build a passionate core community that has experienced firsthand our commitment to listening.
And wow, what a community we have built. We’ve got fansites with true passion, working and collaborating together to allow everyone to feel inclusive, and you have all done a fantastic job for us on so many levels, that it would take me another 500 words to describe how much it has meant to me to work alongside you. You’ve been true heroes, supporting us far beyond creating beautiful websites and writing new and exciting takes on the WildStar information we’ve shared. You’ve even gone so far as to help us manage the crowds on the show floor at gamescom, PAX, and Comic-Con, educating new fans about WildStar, and just generally being superlative human beings.
So it’s with no small amount of heartbreak that I announce that I’m leaving Carbine. Without going into too much detail, recent tragedies in my family require that I return home to be closer to my family. It was a decision I can only define as agonizing, but in the end, my family needs me.
Please understand: I love this team and I believe that WildStar is going to be blockbuster game. I’ve spent five amazing years learning more than I could have ever expected from all angles of the business of making games. It’s an experience I’ll remember and value forever, working with people that have become more than coworkers, but lifetime friends. I will miss them terribly.
The good news is that I leave you in capable hands, with Loic and David in North America, and Melanie, Mark, Jan and Akli holding down the fort for Europe, your community team will be working even harder to build a connected and engaged community like none other.
Add to that the talents of three forever friends of mine and industry leaders in their craft, and you have a powerhouse of a communications team that will make sure there isn’t a person on this earth (and beyond?) that hasn’t fallen in love with WildStar. I’m of course talking about our new VP of Brand, Mona Hamilton, our Director of Interactive Marketing, Christophe Bahamed (who will be stepping in to lead our global community team), and our new PR Manager Michael Shelling ( a man I’ve had the privilege of working with many times throughout my career).
So while this is goodbye for now, I guarantee you that we’ll be playing WildStar together on launch day.
Thank you for all the laughs, the unending support and the inspiration. I can’t wait to see what you do in the coming months.
Until then, take care of my peeps, and enjoy, won’t you?
Troy “Aether” Hewitt