Sony Online Entertainment, the Austin-based MMO specialist responsible for Star Wars: Galaxies, has confirmed reports that chief creative officer Raph Koster is leaving the firm to pursue other interests.
Prior to joining SOE, Koster worked with Origin Systems on Ultima Online, and during his six years with Sony he contributed to the development of EverQuest II. His main contribution to the firm was in the development of Star Wars: Galaxies, which underwent a major redesign that was intended to make the title easier to grasp and more action-orientated; however, the changes left a large number of fans disgruntled.
In a company statement, SOE stated: "Although [Koster's] current interests take him into areas that don't match SOE's strategic goals, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours."
Koster often speaks at industry panel events on the creation and evolution of the MMO genre, and regularly updates his personal blog, through which his next development projects are likely to be announced.
The licensing contract for Star Wars: Galaxies is due to expire shortly, and rumours that LucasArts may be shopping around outside of SOE's camp have resurfaced - although there has been no official confirmation of this so far.