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Epic Games Cinematic Director Leaves To Reunite With Gears Of War At Black Tusk

Developer Black Tusk may be new to the Gears of War franchise in name, but it sure is bringing some familiar faces along for the ride. Adding to the familiar talent Black Tusk is collecting, cinematic director Greg M. Mitchell has announced that he has left Epic Games to return to work on Gears of War.

Mitchell has been involved with the Gears of War franchise since he joined Epic Games in 2006. He joins Rod Fergusson, who vacated his position at Irrational Games early last year to reunite with the franchise. Fergusson, who held high-ranking production roles during Gears of War's original run with Epic Games, recently took over as studio head at Black Tusk.

The news comes less than two months before E3 2015, where we hope to learn more about Black Tusk's first foray into the Gears of War franchise.

[Source: Twitter via IGN]

 

Our Take
Anytime a beloved franchise changes hands, it can be worrisome. Luckily, Black Tusk seems to be combining a strong mix of new talent and familiar faces. We hope this means that the next game will incorporate some refreshing new ideas without alienating those who have loved it since the very first time they picked up a Lancer.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Borderlands Head Leaves Gearbox [UPDATE]

Matthew Armstrong, creator and franchise director of Borderlands, has left Gearbox.

Armstrong is credited as game design director and as a writer on the first Borderlands and is included on the "Gearbox Software is" list for Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel when the company went for more generic credits. Today he tweeted that he has left the company.


If you look through his recent twitter posts, it may or may not be related to the recent closure of 2K Australia, developer of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

We've reached out to Armstrong and Gearbox and will update the story if we hear back.

Update

Matthew Armstrong has responded to our request for comment and confirms that he is indeed leaving. In a series of direct messages he stated the following.

"Pre-Sequel, Claptastic Voyage, and Handsome collection all shipped.  In a rare moment, I was temporarily non-vital. I could leave without damaging Borderland or Gearbox too much if I did it at this moment, so now was the time. I think Gearbox will do great in the future, and I think Borderlands will stay strong and awesome. I've been thinking about it for a while.  I'm not quitting out of anger or getting fired.  It's just time for new adventures. I'm an inventor. I'm ready to make something new. Not just new to me, but new to everyone."

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Phil Harrison Leaves Microsoft After Three Years

Microsoft has confirmed to Game Informer that Phil Harrison has departed the company. The former vice president joined the Xbox team in 2012.

“Following a successful tenure as Corporate Vice President in Xbox in Europe, Phil Harrison has chosen to pursue business interests outside of Microsoft,” said head of Xbox Phil Spencer in a statement sent to us via email. “Phil has been a distinguished leader for our European Xbox team – overseeing production at our award-winning European studios and making a substantial contribution to the Xbox business globally. I want to thank Phil for his creativity and leadership over the past three years. Phil is a great friend of mine and I wish him the very best with his future endeavors.”

We met with Harrison last year at E3 amidst changes to the Xbox division following the appointment of Spencer as head of Xbox. You can read that interview (and the aftermath) for more.

[Source: MCV]

 

Our Take
Harrison is one of the last members of Don Mattrick’s old guard to depart Microsoft. Phil Spencer has been putting his own staff in place since he took over, unifying the brand and the message.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Don Mattrick Leaves Zynga

Zynga has announced today that Don Mattrick is stepping down
as CEO and will be replaced by company founder Mark Pincus.

Most gamers know Mattrick as the former president of
Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, where he oversaw the troubled
lead up
to the Xbox One's launch. Mattrick left MS amid a larger
restructuring
in July 2013, taking the job as Zynga's
CEO
with a $ 50
million contract
.

Today, Zynga announced on its investors site that Mattrick
is no longer with the company effective today. No reason was given for the
change, but Pincus, who was Zynga's former CEO and will be returning to the
role, thanked Mattrick for his service. "Don joined us in a very important
time in our evolution," Pincus said. "…The team's hard work for our mobile
players has resulted in bookings growing from 27% mobile bookings when Don
joined to 60% by the end of last year." Pincus also credits Mattrick with the
acquisition of NaturalMotion, the developer behind GTA V's Euphoria engine.
Zynga's Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing were developed by NaturalMotion, and have
accrued over 160 million installs.

[Source: Zynga]


Our Take
Mattrick wasn't at
Zynga for very long, which has me interested to see what his next move is. Will
he show up at another game company, or leave the industry entirely? Given his
former salary and the bad (and likely unfair) reputation he's gotten for the
Xbox One's early stumbles, I wouldn't blame him for seeking other opportunities
– or just retiring on a beach somewhere.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

PlanetSide 2′s Creative Director Leaves Studio

Daybreak Game Company has had a lot of shakeup since breaking off from Sony and changing its name from Sony Online Entertainment. The waves haven't settle yet; now it seems that PlanetSide 2’s creative director Matthew Higby has decided to resign from the company.

"Today was my last day on the PlanetSide 2 team and at Daybreak games," said Higby in a post on Reddit, "This is a move I've been considering for a while now, and the reorganization provided the right opportunity for me to exit."

"Planetside 2 is in great hands, with terrific people who honestly care about the game and the players. I can't stress this enough, the folks working on every aspect of the game, developers, marketing, community are talented, hard working people who care more than you can imagine – I'm fully confident they're going to do an amazing job on the next leg of the journey."

PlanetSide 2 is still headed for PS4 something this year; for more details on the game check out our impression of the PC release here.

[Source: Reddit via GamesIndustry.biz]

 

Our Take
It's not usually a good sign when creative directors leave just after layoffs and corporate restructurings. Hopefully those who recently left Daybreak will be able to find a good home, and that Daybreak's upcoming roster of games will find their developmental footing again.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

XNA, Xbox Live founder leaves Microsoft

Xbox Live Founder Boyd Multerer announced his departure from Microsoft this week after 17 years with the company. Multerer revealed the career change via his Twitter account, saying “Goodbye Microsoft. It was a good run. Xbox was Great! Time to do so…
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Spec Ops: The Line narrative lead, Evolve writer leaves 2K

Walt Williams, a writer at 2K Games and lead narrative designer on Spec Ops: The Line, has left the studio. Williams revealed his departure via Twitter, saying he was “sad to announce” that September 5 would be his last day.

Williams clarified that…
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PopCap co-founder Vechey leaves, PopCap working on ‘all-new’ Peggle

PopCap co-founder John Vechey is leaving his role as CEO at the Plants vs. Zombies 2 developer. In a departing message shared by EA, Vechey notes that his leave follows a sabbatical, which allowed him to “step back and appreciate what I have in life,…
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Konami veteran Dave Cox leaves company after 17 years

Dave Cox, a Konami veteran of 17 years, has decided to leave the company to “explore new opportunities.” …


Gamasutra News

Ex-Vigil Games Founder Leaves Crytek, Forms New Studio

Several ex-Vigil Games developers have left Crytek Austin to form Gunfire Games. The new company is considering attempting to return to the Darksiders franchise.

In an interview with Polygon, ex-Vigil founder and ex-Crytek U.S. head David Adams says that a recent exodus of talent from Crytek's Austin wing. Adams said, "Forming another independent studio was something that I thought about because of what was going on. It got to the point where people were starting to leave… When you make a game, one of the most important elements of that is the people you work with. You could get 12 of the best developers in the world and put them into a room and they may not make a good game."

Adams also cited a lack of good communication between his studio and Crytek as another motivation for his departure. All of the members of the small new studio Gunfire Games are ex-Vigil employees.

Adams and his coworkers left Crytek's Hunt in the midst of development. Adams said that attempting to make another Darksiders games is "one of the options" Gunfire is considering. Any new Darksiders game would have to be made in partnership with Nordic Games, which now owns the property.

[Source: Polygon]

 

Our Take:
Between Gunfire and the newly formed Dambuster Studio in the UK, here has certainly been a huge exodus of talent from Crytek recently. It seems that the company's recent financial struggles are taking a toll. However, it's great to hear any kind of talk of a new Darksiders game.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed