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MMO Veteran Jeff Freeman Passes Away

MMO Veteran Jeff Freeman Passes Away

October 1, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

October 1, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Born in 1968, Jeff Freeman, formerly a senior game designer for Spacetime Studios and Sony Online Entertainment, took his own life on September 24th.

Freeman is best known by gamers for his work on MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies. In addition to his work as a game designer, Freeman also served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

He is survived by his wife, Brenda Freeman; sons, Jeffery Freeman and Jesse Freeman; stepdaughter, Destiny Coffman; parents, Roy and Samantha Clark; sister, SaDonna Moser; and brothers, R.G. Carr and Dwayne Archer.

"I still remember a young kid showing his older brother a program he wrote where a red ball bounced on a screen. He was so excited," Freeman's brother Archer said in a posting on Star Wars Galaxies server emulation forum SWGEmu.

"I thought, 'What's the big deal?' But I knew he was special. He had a mind like no one I knew, he was truly a brilliant man, and I will miss him everyday."

Freeman played a key role in designing SWG's pet system, but is also known for bearing criticism from misinformed players who incorrectly blamed him for the MMO's unpopular "New Game Enhancements" update in 2005.

The game designer took responsibility for implementing features that led bitter players to attack him online for all of the update's changes, including its simplification of game mechanics and professions.

Veteran MMO designer, Raph Koster, who worked with Freeman on SWG and helped him find a job at SOE, said in a eulogy posted on his personal blog, "He spent a huge amount of time talking to the players, talking to people for years afterwards, explaining, apologizing, justifying what he didn’t need to and shouldn’t have had to."

"I want everyone to know that it was not SWG that lead him to take his life," added Archer on the forum. "He has been troubled for sometime. There were [a lot] of personal issues that tore at him. Regardless of how SWG turned out, we must admit that many of the great things we enjoyed about [the pre-combat update game] was because of his work."

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