Amid reports that BioWare Austin is laying off staff today, Star Wars: The Old Republic's executive producer Rich Vogel has revealed to Gamasutra that he is no longer with the company.
Vogel was instrumental in the development of SWTOR, overseeing all aspects of the MMO before and after its launch in December. The online game, though, has lost around half a million paid subscribers in recent months, and BioWare Austin recently said it's considering free-to-play options for the title.
Reports also emerged on Tuesday morning that the Austin office is laying off workers, but it's unclear if this headcount reduction is part of the restructuring plan BioWare announced in May. Though its parent company Electronic Arts didn't specify then how many employees would be affected, the publisher said those layoffs were necessary in order for the team to maintain and grow SWTOR.
Vogel has worked in the game industry for more than 20 years, helping build landmark MMOs like Meridian 59 at 3DO, Ultima Online at Origin Systems and Electronic Arts, and Star Wars Galaxies at Sony Online Entertainment. He's worked at BioWare Austin since 2005, most recently as vice president and executive producer.
Gamasutra understands that Vogel's departure preceded the purported layoffs affecting BioWare Austin today. The studio has not yet said who will take over Vogel's duties managing SWTOR's continued development.