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Quest Online sacks president, admits MMO "should never have launched"

Company brings in Derek Smart to overhaul business and RPG

US developer Quest Online has sacked its president and co-founder Dave Allen for "insubordination" and replaced him with 3000AD president Derek Smart.

Although the developer of the MMORPG Alganon announced the change last week, Smart has since clarified that Allen was fired from the company in February, and director of development Jason Blood and design director Hue Henry have also left the company.

"Dave Allen didn't 'depart' I fired him back in February for insubordination and for acting against the best interests of the company, the LLC investors (who I represent), the game and the team," wrote Smart on the Alganon forums.

"Shortly after the investors of the LLC unanimously voted him off the LLC. Leaving his previous partner and co-founder (Greg Wexler, one of the most cheerful and straight up guys you'll ever meet in your lifetime) and myself to run the company."

He added: "I have no personal relationships with any of these three and the decisions surrounding these events were pure business. Nothing more. Nothing less."

The company launched the massively multiplayer game Alganon in December last year, but according to smart that "should never have happened" because the game was incomplete.

"It was a mistake that has not only cost the company money but has also cost people their jobs and put an otherwise exceptional product at risk.

"As a game developer, I know all too well that if your game is not finished and you release it, that's just asking for trouble. No matter how great the game and technology are, it can and will fail. Especially in this industry climate."

Smart said he joined Quest Online in December to help the struggling company, but Allen – who was demoted to COO – was eventually sacked after failing to please the new president and the investors.

The game and company will now undergo sweeping changes, according to Smart, including a new user interface to differentiate it from market leader World of Warcraft, the end of paid subscription fees and a refund for users when the game relaunches in April.

"You don't go competing with WoW when you don't have a WoW sized budget or the manpower to match," stated Allen. "But that's what David wanted to do and I've pretty much tossed it all. The team was unable to actually do this previously due to David wanting it that way, even though they knew it was a terrible decision.

"The best part is that a few months from now you will get to look back at Alganon's December 2009 launch and see the changes," he concluded. "We don't know how long it is going to take for the game to find its footing and gain its own niche, but we're going to throw every goddamn thing at it."

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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