Mark Jacobs mysteriously left the studio he co-founded, Mythic Entertainment, when EA put BioWare's Ray Muzyka in charge, as head of the overarching RPG and MMO group.
Was it because Warhammer Online didn't perform? Did he walk? Was he pushed?
Regardless, that was 2009. Today, Jacobs has resurfaced at the helm of his brand new developer City State Entertainment, a 12-strong studio making an iOS, Android and possibly PC game for Q4 2011.
"At the end of the day, when you take other people's money, you have to do what they tell you to do; I've done that before, and a lot of times it's cost me," Jacobs told Forbes, refusing to elaborate on his EA departure further.
"I'm tired of strings and being told what to do by other people. We're a very collaborative group where we talk about everything, and that's what you need if you really want to be successful.
"I'm tired of strings and being told what to do by other people."
Mark Jacobs, president and creative director, City State Entertainment
"Social games are certainly a lot easier to develop than a traditional game, let alone an MMO. And because of the faster development cycle and the lower costs, we have a lot more freedom in what we want to do.
"We don't have to worry if the hardcore gamers are going to get incredibly upset because we're doing something a certain way," he said. "We don't have to worry if our game is going to sell another 20 copies. We're just looking to make fun, enjoyable games."
Mythic launched big-bucks MMO Dark Age of Camelot in 2001, before the World of Warcraft boom. EverQuest was that generation's clear leader (FFXI eventually caught up - and don't mention Lineage), but DAOC was at the front of the chasing pack, reaching a peak of around 250,000 active subscribers.
The entire 170-person company was bought by EA in 2006. Warhammer Online followed in September 2008.
Jacobs spent one year under a non-compete clause after he left Mythic in 2009. Once that dropped, he set about putting together his new team, which counts talent from Mythic, Bethesda and Obsidian.