My friends at the United-Forum, below is my letter to the community which you may have read by now, but I have some very special personal words for you guys here.
The first time I visited Germany was at Leipzig Games Convention 2006 for The Battle for Middle-earth 2. I will never forget sitting on the podium with Mike Verdu being grilled by some of you guys about supporting Command & Conquer, that was a moment. I will also never forget the extremely warm reception you guys showed me and my team at the EA Community Team party, the awards ceremony where you LET ME present, your love and excitement for BFME and C&C, and the extreme welcome you made me feel. Ever since I've gone to Leipzig and Cologne over and over again for GamesCOM, and then CommandCOM, every visit was always extremely memorable because of you guys.
The community team which Pete Larsen established that you have continued and held so high is something which has always inspired me in my role as your C&C Community Manager. I can honestly say, the fans in Germany, without a shadow of a doubt, are my absolute favorite. You guys make me feel like David Hasselhoff when I am there, seriously! I have way too many memories to share, but none will compare to my first Leipzig experience, that was a series of moments I will never forget.
Germany is the home of Command & Conquer fans at heart, there is no doubt about that, you guys rock and I know you will continue the C&C legacy. I hope to be in Cologne this year and look forward to seeing many of UF Rockstars again.
All I can say at this point is thank you United Forum for being so incredibly dedicated and passionate to this franchise. Don't worry, I am not going to Blizzard, too loyal to C&C. I am going to another big publisher, but won't be working on an RTS, my heart is and always will be with C&C. Below is official letter, but please know, I will always be in your service, as a friend.
I realize I was never perfect, but I always did everything with the best intent and with my best efforts under any circumstance...
I’ll never forget my first act of duty as the C&C Community Manager, I got Zero Hour patched! The community reaction was like peace had been restored to the world! It was from that point on that I felt like my journey as your Community Manager truly began…I wish I could end this journey with patching Zero Hour again and Kanes Wrath, but alas, here we go...
My friends, my community, my 2nd family
I’ve been your C&C Community Manager for over 6 years, especially if you consider my days with the BFME franchise. I was brought in to EA as a contract marketing assistant on BFME1 back in February 2004, and soon found myself building the BFME community (I guess that was my destiny!). About 1 year in almost to the day, shortly after BFME1 shipped, the torch of being the official C&C CM was bestowed upon me by the dev team (from one great legendary Delphi), that was February 2005. And today, almost 6 years later, I sit here in front of my computer screen, still your official C&C Community Manager for one last moment, as honored and humbled as ever to have kept this role for so long. It’s become an extreme passion, a “second life”, and a place I know I can always find some of my closest friends. You guys have truly been my 2nd family, and you guys are the reason this C&C franchise has lived on for 15 years strong and will continue, Commander!
As cheesy as it may sound, I’m just a sentimental APOC if you never knew, and it may just come from how emotionally tied I have been to this community, it absolutely breaks my heart to tell you today, I will be stepping down as your C&C Community Manager and leaving EA after what has been one helluva rollercoaster ride. Today is my last official day here at EALA.
You need to know this was *not EA’s decision*, this was 100% my own. I was not laid off, not fired, not tortured by Kane (or Joe Kucan), not part of a reduction in force, and certainly not forced out or given motivational reasons to leave. In fact, my bosses and team all provided me reasons to stay with heartfelt content, while also understanding at this stage in my career and life, doing what is best for me and my family is ultimately the right path to choose.
I sincerely hope my decision does not impact negatively on you, or the C&C franchise. I have a replacement whom I’d like to introduce, Per “Goodman” Bonomi, he also manages the BF Heroes, Lord of Ultima and BattleForge communities with the help of his excellent Play4Free Community Team. He’ll be in touch and on the boards very soon. He is an extremely passionate C&C fan, and someone I know can keep the ship afloat in my absence, and especially at a time when the dev team is revamping the franchise. At this stage, what’s important to me is for you to have someone you can still connect with. Things are going to be slow for awhile, but I know we’ll be leveraging the community as much as possible until our dev team is ready to pull the curtains off the future, and well beyond.
I want nothing more than the best for this franchise, and I don’t want my absence to invoke anything negative in the community. It was a personal choice, a leap of faith, and one that was extremely difficult when considering all the factors, most notably, my community family.
I’ll be staying in the gaming industry in LA. You can find me on Facebook and in a few other places soon once I rise again!
I’m always long winded at saying goodbyes, just who I am. Thank you C&C Community for being true friends and giving me the passion and energy to be your C&C Community Manager for such an eternity! I hope this is not goodbye, but just an update on life, as one close friend would always give to another.
Every day is community day,
Aaron “APOC” Kaufman