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 Bob Portrait


Part four: everything changes

It should have been a perfect time in my life.  I had a great job, amazing coworkers, I lived in a great city and my wife was pregnant with a son.  There was a catch though.  My wife hated Austin, and our personal life was entering some rough times.  Neither of us had time to grieve over the loss of our child, and we were both paying for it.  Our emotions were on a roller coaster.

Then Electronic Arts canceled Ultima Online 2.  Look, I think it was a mistake, but I understood what EA was aiming for.  They wanted to expand the online genre beyond fantasy, and who could blame them.  The mistake was letting UO2 suffer. 

There's an old saying that the slogan of Origin in the later years should have been "We create competition".  Origin, without Richard Garriot at the helm, had a habit of canceling projects, letting developers go and giving other companies a pre made development team to compete against them.

I was working away when the word came down that the project was canceled.  I had just been running around inside the game being chased by a fireball.  I chuckled as i thought about peoples expectations for the game.  This game was going to surprise people.

The end of the game hit me hard.  I knew then that a wild and crazy ride was ending.  Others from UO2 would go on to work on some great projects.  Me, I had to leave Austin.  Living in Texas wasn't working out for me, my wife and son.  julie missed Colorado.  She missed her family, she missed the climate and she missed her friends.

I expected that this would be it for me in the game industry.  I was almost correct.  Back in Denver another game company, Netdevil, was set to release the game Jumpgate.

I don't have much to say about Netdevil.  They were nice enough to work for, but the fit wasn't right for either of us.  First, a person should never work on a project they don't believe in.  It's hard to sell what you don't care too much for yourself.  I tried, but I could never get excited about the game.  Next, it's important that a person finds a company that's right for them.  Netdevil was a small company, staffed with a small group of people who were good friends.  Coming in from the outside was a mistake.

The game flopped in the marketplace for a multitude of reasons and that was the end of that.  There weren't any other companies hiring in Denver, and I was tired with games anywise.  I needed a break.

Part Five: I take a break.


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