Daybreak president John Smedley, of Planetside and H1Z1, steps down


I still get confused whenever Daybreak Game Company are mentioned, as in my head they’re still Sony Online Entertainment, SOE, and stuck firmly in a pre-WoW past. That’s all false of course, with zombie survival MMO H1Z1 and Everquest Next leading their charge into the future. However, it will be done without John Smedley, who today it was announced is no longer President. He’s been with the company since he spearheaded the start of development on the original Everquest in 1996.

Smedley’s not gone for good. In a statement to GamesBeat, a Daybreak spokesperson had the following to say:

“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined. Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”

As reported by both them and Eurogamer, the move comes after a year of harrassment from hacker group Lizard Squad, who grounded a plane Smedley was flying on in 2014 via a fake bomb threat. Understandably, he wasn’t best pleased and started a personal campaign to bring them down. They responded by attacking Daybreak’s servers with denial of service attacks. A fine mess, however it’s currently unknown if this harrassment contributed to Smedley’s decision.

H1Z1 is currently on Early Access, receiving regular bug fixes and content patches and having long since passed the one million sales mark. Nick wasn’t too impressed in his review when it launched, saying it has potential but it’s best off to wait for now. Meanwhile, Everquest Next remains in development, though sandbox tool Landmark is in closed beta. Here’s what Richard Cobbett thought when it launched.