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David Reid sets the record straight on NC West: Part 2

Adrian Bott

Massively: Great. So it's actually more towards NC West as sort of a general umbrella under which these specific studios can have their own names, and really carve out their own places within the company?

David Reid:
Absolutely. Think about it this way: the reorganization and the establishment of NC West is more of an acknowledgement that we as a company can be doing better on the publishing side, in terms of taking these great products that these veteran leadership studios have been able to crank out, and turn them into much bigger phenomena. Right?

I mean, we've had great success with City of Heroes, we've had great success with Guild Wars, but we think it can be bigger. What we're not doing is changing the studio organization, other than the studios all now report in to Jeff Strain, who has moved on from the day to day management of ArenaNet – Michael O'Brien is now the studio head there, and is leading the Guild Wars 2 team and other projects there – but Jeff serves as a manager across the studio organization.

"... we've had great success with City of Heroes, we've had great success with Guild Wars, but we think it can be bigger."

And in parallel, what I get to do for Jeff and those studios is make sure that we do the best we can to deliver triple-A world class launches across our Western territories, and make sure that the marketing, the sales, the customer support – all the elements that great developers look to great publishers to do – are being done here. There's going to be some common platforms and things on the technology side, and a common team that helps serve the business, but nothing really changes on the product development side.

Okay. So you're saying nothing much is going to change on the product development side, but to that end it seems like as part of the NC West conglomeration, there are some folks moving around. There's a little more... we guess you could say refinement in what people are doing in a couple of these different studios. Could you talk generally about what we're seeing, as far as people moving on to new positions, people moving on from Austin to Seattle, those sorts of things?

David Reid: I should say one thing: that the decision about moving out NC West in the way we're doing it is, while there's no real change happening at the studio level, there is this ratification of 'NCsoft is going to be in the triple-A MMO space day in and day out', right?

We've done some interesting things and had some success with smaller titles, things like Dungeon Runners and Exteel are doing well for us, but the company by and large is the company that Lineage built, and this reorganization is a ratification of getting back to that business and going all-in on the Lineages, Guild Wars, Aions, City of Heroes, Tabula Rasas, Blade and Souls, those sorts of games are what NCsoft is going to be doing day in, day out here in the West.

Now, there's a specific question you asked there about how does this impact certain people. We are planning to – we're in the process of now porting the internal people that we would like to relocate to Seattle, and have offered a healthy number of folks a relocation up to Seattle to be part of what is principally a publishing headquarters. And so that's where the bulk of the North American and global leadership for marketing, for sales, for PR, aspects like that, we're thinking will be headquartered in Seattle.

Seattle for us was the logical place to go because of the relationship with Seoul, and Seattle just happens to be the place where you get the best number of non-stop flights to Seoul and to our West Coast studios, and to our UK office, out of Seattle versus any other city on the West Coast. And so we are also relocating what is now our Eastern games studio, the folks that are our North American and European producer team, for bringing games like Aion and Lineage and Blade and Soul into the Western market. Those folks are moving to Seattle, as well as the publishing headquarters.

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