Coleman helped found the Austin, Texas-based studio in 2005, along with Elie Akilian, David Nichols, and Josef Hall. KingsIsle is known for creating family-friendly, free-to-play online games, such as Wizards 101 and Pirates 101. Coleman had a large part in developing the ideas for those products.
In his letter, he writes:
Goodbye, thank you, and a new beginning.
This update is going to be one of the hardest that I have written, so please hang with me as I try and get through it.
I have decided to leave KingsIsle and pursue my own course. This might sound crazy – and, full disclosure, it probably is – but it is something that I have to do.
What a fantastic experience this has been! As the creative lead of our games, and the first employee hired in Austin, I was in the unique position to watch this team blossom, and watch our games grow from niche titles to mainstream popularity. Wow! A handful of dreamers got together and turned an unknown start-up into the market leader for family online entertainment… That’s not something you see every day. I am blessed to have been able to play a role, and I know that I am leaving the company in capable hands. I have no doubt that the Spiral will continue to expand for many years.
What is next for me? I’m a storyteller, so I will keep doing what I do best – dream up ideas, breathe life into characters, build worlds for you to explore… only next time, I want to do it for myself. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. A new company, a new game, a new story… I’m not ready to say, but when I’ve got something to show, you guys will be the first to know.
I want to thank you for becoming a part of this community. Your patronage has allowed me to work with my best friends, and to entertain you, for almost a decade. You gave me a chance to build something, something unique and wonderful. These are more than games to me. I see these worlds when I sleep. I greet these characters like old friends.
These are the dreams that filled my childhood. I cannot tell you how fortunate I am, to have been given the chance to share them with you.
J. Todd Coleman
After his announcement, GamesBeat interviewed Coleman to ask him about his time with KingsIsle and his future plans.
“I mean, we hit a tipping point with it, and that’s quite a thing to see, right? You have a game that you think, ‘well maybe this will be a niche.’ It’s got an interesting set of ingredients,” he says. “It was this weird, “wow” just one thing after the next, and we’re winning game of the decade awards and the user numbers continue to climb. Then we hit 10, or 15, or however many million uniques per month. The game just took a life of its own. What a crazy and amazing ride.”
He also commented on the strong family feeling KingsIsle has to it, even after its tremendous growth. “To a large degree, the same people that started the company are the ones that were with us for that whole ride, which is really cool,” Coleman remarks.
As far as his new ventures go, Coleman isn’t as concerned about the process and procedures of getting a business in place when his next idea hits.
“The piece that is the big unknown is how long will it take for the right idea to come along, and I don’t have a time frame for that. It happens when it happens. You just open yourself up to hopefully see it when it hits, and we’ll see,” Coleman continues in his interview with GamesBeat.
He ended his interview by expanding on his departure.
“I just wanna add that my departure from KingsIsle is entirely a Todd thing. It’s not a KingsIsle thing. I wouldn’t be walking away if I didn’t know that the company was in great hands. The products — Wizard and now Pirate — are doing still phenomenally well. The company is in better financial shape than it’s ever been. They’re hiring like crazy. I think they’ll grow the company by another 25 percent this year.” Coleman says. “It’s just, you know–it’s time for me to go do it on my own.”
KingsIsle will no doubt miss him.
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