"It was called a sequel, but in reality it was a different game set in the same world, just in the future."
So does that mean EverQuest fans don't have anything more to expect in the MMO genre? Not at all. Smedley told us that they fully intend to do another EverQuest MMO.
"One day in the future, but not sure what point. No one's actually working on it," he said carefully.
After EverQuest II, Smedley directed SOE as they built up a hefty portfolio of games, most of which are available for one price under the SOE Station Pass. Among them were high profile failures in The Matrix Online and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. With The Matrix, they brought it in not only to broaden their portfolio, but also with an eye to the future.
"We partnered up with Warner Brothers on a couple games, we partnered with them on Matrix and DC," he revealed. "It wasn't as much a condition as when we did the deal, it was a part of it."
More recently, they purchased Vanguard's developer Sigil and all of their assets. The deal saw a lot of people lose their jobs, but as publishers of the game, Smedley believed the move was necessary for their fans.
"We felt like we needed to take control of the situation," he told us. "They had run out of money and were about to go out of business."
Rather than see one of the games under their banner simply disappear, he decided to bring it in-house. Many of the developers still work at a reduced Carlsblad, CA office, now officially under the SOE banner.
"We sold over 200,000 copies of the game," said of why he believes it still has great potential. "I think the biggest thing that hurts it is the high system specs."
He believes that time is Vanguard's biggest ally. It's chock full of features he doesn't see in other games and while they hope to improve performance, there is only so much they can do. The game is what it is and over time, people's computers will catch up and by then, he believes the game will be worth a second look.
Hearkening back to a lesson learned from another game, they're listening to the community and making Vanguard better at what it is, rather than trying to make it into something it's not.
"It's a hardcore game, everybody knows it is and there's no point in shying away from that," he pointed out.
That other lesson is the infamous "New Game Experience" the team put into Star Wars Galaxies in 2005. On that, he was completely frank.
"With the NGE, I'm sorry about the mistake we made," he told us. "We screwed up and didn't listen to the fans when we should have, and it's not a mistake we're going to make again."
The NGE completely altered Star Wars Galaxies, a game that had launched in cooperation with LucasArts over two years before. Classes disappeared and the game fundamentally changed in almost every way. It came as no surprise to observers that this change was massively unpopular among the playerbase.
And what was the mistake SOE made that Smedley is sorry for?
"[The mistake was] to not just think we know the right direction without bringing the fans into the mix," he explained. "We made the cardinal sin of not listening, but assuming and we were wrong."
He went on to point out that after two years, the game is once again stable and growing. They continue to update the game with new content and those fans, old and new, who enjoy the current incarnation of the game are being listened to. The old game won't come back - to change now would be as unfair as the first time they did it - but he believes SWG still has a solid future.