Unbeknownst to most people outside our immediate team, we have been in a slow, deliberate long-term transition here at Reloaded. Starting back in June, we began the gradual migration of key APB production tasks and responsibilities from Linus to Jobs.
By the end of July, Jobs had taken over all key tasks, and Linus started scaling back his day-to-day role. Linus completed his planned move, and is now pursuing other interesting opportunities. I am sure you will hear from him again in the future, but before we let him go completely, I just wanted to take this chance to say a few words about him; Linus has been an amazing co-worker and partner for over 6 years, originally starting as a GM on the old Korean-developed RPG “Knight Online,” eventually becoming Associate Producer, and finally Producer for several of our key titles including APB and Fallen Earth. His passion for these games and in particular his immaculate attention to detail around immersion and the role playing experience will be missed, and we wish him all the best.
Now, as luck would have it, we were incredibly fortunate to have a great mind waiting in the wings for APB, who was ready to step up to the plate when the team needed a great new starter. Jonathan a.k.a “Jobs” is a bit unusual since he did not arrive in the producer’s chair via the traditional path of QA or project management. As most game industry veterans will tell you, a common path for people into a production role often starts with a passionate gamer applying for a black-box QA, Community or Game Master Position, then after a few years advancing into project management and eventually arriving in design or production roles.
Jobs destroys that mold by having started with Reloaded as a hard core developer and engineer. Who also happened to be a passionate APB and shooter player himself. For the last several years Jobs appeared frequently in game using his “Cancer Stricken Steve Jobs” character (sure – he has a sense of the macabre), and joined various groups and clans along the way and got himself deeply immersed in the APB community.
After all, who can forget his classic “Apple Release Day Line Up” from 2012?
The first major project that Jobs helped usher in for APB as acting producer was actually the full launch of FairFight, which has turned out to be a critical milestone for the game.
Now he is deep in the weeds of the next major experience upgrade, especially focusing on the next gargantuan task; match making (and all the ins and outs of revamped and expanded matchmaking will be something he shares in a later blog post). But with that; here is the word from Jobs, your new producer:
Hi all, Jobs here!
The APB community has always been our greatest asset, and I and the team are constantly working to improve this very large game, though sometimes this can be a complicated task due its colorful history. Even so, this is our shared mission, and one that I and the team are tackling with gusto and enthusiasm every day!
As this year comes to a close, I’d like to talk about some of the drastic changes we have been working on and implementing the last several months, and also some things we are going to be focusing on very shortly. But before I go any further, first I’d like to share a note from our former Producer, Linus:
You might be wondering why I've been kind of quiet for a little while. The reason? After 6 amazing years -- some easy, some hard, all of them the best years of my life -- I've decided to expand my horizons and challenge myself in different ways. From the moment I decided to work in this crazy industry I knew I'd only be satisfied if I could do a lot of different things on a lot of different games, which to me meant I'd have to change companies every couple of years. Reloaded, however, afforded me that opportunity without having to leave, and after working on so much, learning a ton, and meeting so many great people, I just sort of threw out my old plan and stayed here for a very long time, through some massive changes at the company. It has become comfortable, though, which is both a blessing and a curse, but that old itch for change and variety is rearing its head, so it's time to add some discomfort and newness to my career.
I can't express how lucky you are to have Jobs at the helm now (who, let's face it, was always 1000x better at playing the game than me anyway, and someone who gave me great feedback on the in game experience), that if you didn't already know you were in good hands -- well, you're in good hands. I've seen the roadmap. Things keep getting better, and Jobs is the guy who will usher in these exciting changes.
If you want to keep in touch, you can do that at twitter.com/joe_willmon, where sometimes I say things that are almost as funny as that one post I wrote on the forum about the PMs cheaters send me.
So long my friends! It's been real fun.
For those who I haven’t had a chance to meet over the last few years, I’m known in-game as the character Jobs in the Colby (NA West) server. Since we launched APB:Reloaded in 2011 I’m proud to say I’ve lived the APB experience – had hundreds of glorious victories and crushing defeats; shared hilarious and absurd moments around the open world with teammates; created and exchanged (some not so) incredible pieces of music and art; and stayed up playing many hours past my bedtime (much to the dismay of my significant other).
So why the delayed introduction? In short, I've been determined to improve our service and gameplay experience for you since day 1 – but first, I felt it was important to first and foremost show you progress before promises.
Today we’re able to boast a massive reduction in cheating activity through our partnership with FairFight combined with all the new internal systems we rolled out simultaneously to the FF launch, so that hackers who would have ruined your matches are now quickly rooted out and removed from the game.
We have boosted the size of our development, art and support staff to bring you more content, more quickly. We've boosted our GM presence in both the game and forums to promote positive behavior throughout our community. We've increased the number of channels to gather direct feedback from our players. We have renewed our focus on giving back to our strongest supporters through giving out hundreds of thousands of gifts through programs like loyalty rewards.
Most importantly, we've been developing innovative and meaningful changes to core gameplay systems, the first of which you've seen in the "Headless Horseman" event, where we suddenly were able to turn entire servers into a pseudo-zombie/infection mode games.
That said, there is still a *lot* of things to be done. Just to name a few, performance is still unacceptably poor for some players and in some cases for all players; the matchmaking system is one of our biggest headaches, and it too often makes less-than-ideal matches from too small of a selection of available opposing teams on a single server (fundamentally only having a dozen or so opposing teams to pick from is not sufficient for a consistent experience), sometimes players wait too long before getting another match; and game-play isn't as intuitive and engaging as we’d like in every situation (though of course, once you get a hang of it, APB: Reloaded can be incredibly hard to put down, and has proven to be a very sticky long-term experience for many players).
But, my goal is simple; any part of the experience that can be improved, will be improved. Our team knows that you deserve the best possible game, and at the end of the day we are APB players too and want a great experience for ourselves and our friends.
Our focus over the next year is simple: growing and improving of APB:Reloaded. The only way we can make that happen is to improve the experience and the level of service that we offer, both in and out of the game.
And as our new lead designer Ricardo mentioned two posts ago, we’ll be placing special emphasis on creating a more engaging, intuitive and fun gameplay experiences for both new and veteran players alike.
As Producer, I couldn't be more excited about the growth and evolution of APB:Reloaded in 2015 and look forward to bringing you these new developments to you this coming year.