Amid reports that BioWare Austin is laying off staff today, Gamasutra can confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic
's executive producer Rich Vogel is no longer with the company.
Vogel was instrumental in the development of SWTOR
, overseeing all aspects of the MMO before and after its launch in December. The online game, though, has lost around 400,000 paid subscribers
in recent months, and BioWare Austin recently said it's considering free-to-play options
for the title.
Reports also emerged on Tuesday morning that the Austin office is laying off workers, but it's unclear if this headcount reduction is part of the restructuring plan
BioWare announced in May. Though its parent company Electronic Arts didn't specify then how many employees would be affected, the publisher said those layoffs were necessary in order for the team to maintain and grow SWTOR
Gamasutra has reached out to Electronic Arts and BioWare Austin repeatedly regarding the layoff reports but has not heard back as of press time.
Vogel has worked in the game industry for more than 20 years, helping build landmark MMOs like Meridian 59
at 3DO, Ultima Online
at Origin Systems and Electronic Arts, and Star Wars Galaxies
at Sony Online Entertainment. He has spent the last seven years at BioWare Austin, most recently as vice president and executive producer.
Gamasutra understands that Vogel's departure preceded the purported layoffs affecting BioWare Austin today. The studio has not yet said who will take over Vogel's duties managing SWTOR
's continued development.