President of Sony Online Entertainment John Smedley has apologised for decisions made on the direction of Star Wars Galaxies, describing then as "stupid" and a "complete and utter fail".
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Smedley offered a candid apology for the controversial Combat Upgrade (CU) and New Game Enhancement (NGE) updates, which between them removed the ability of players with combat professions to stack defensive abilities, significantly reduced and simplified gameplay mechanics and professions and made Jedi a starting profession.
Smedley defended the decision at the time, citing the need to revamp the game in order to stem the loss of subscribers the game was suffering. Instead, however, the updates sparked in-game demonstrations and further player exoduses. Sony subsequently offered refunds to players who bought the Trials Of Obi-Wan expansion as it was released two days prior to the implementation of NGE.
"Stupid decisions," Smedley wrote in response to a question from a user, "Complete and utter fail and I am very sorry."
After the player backlash, Smedley moved to assure players that SOE had learned from the mistakes it made with CU and NGE and wouldn't repeat them. Subsequent attempts to reintroduce some complexity to the game weren't enough to reverse its decline, however, and the SWG servers were eventually shut down in December 2011.
Fans of the pre-CU game have created a number of free emulators, allowing the world to continue in an unofficial capacity. Asked what he thought of one example, SWGEmu, Smedley was equally candid.
"Well officially I have to say it's bad," he wrote. "But that's officially."