EA Loses A Third Set Of Studio Founders In The Space Of A Week
Studio heads and founders have been dropping like flies lately from EA’s affiliated developers. The already departed include PopCap (Bejeweled, Plants vs Zombies) CEO Dave Roberts and studio co-founder (and Bejeweled creator) Jason Kapalka as well as Criterion (Burnout, Need for Speed) founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry.
The latest to jump ship are Chillingo founders Chris Byatte and Joe Wee who started the company in 2005 and made a name for themselves with Cut the Rope. That’s the third wave of studio heads and/or founders to pull away from EA in just one week.
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Game Informer reached out to EA, and were given the following short and sweet statement: “Joe and Chris have left Chillingo and EA. We wish them well with their future endeavors.”
Something is clearly not copasetic at EA, more specifically between the publisher and its affiliated developers. Is EA putting strain on its developers or exercising too much control over them? It’s unclear what prompted the founders of Pop Cap or Chillingo to leave but Criterion’s founders were clearly fed up with being put to work keeping a limping series (Need for Speed) alive. Then having their studio cannabalised such that a number of its staff were sent to Ghost Games to continue churning out NFS titles while those remaining were left to work on something else entirely.
EA is obviously doing something grievously wrong to make people people from three different companies walk away from the studios they started. At the time it seemed to be as a result of the Mass Effect 3 backlash but perhaps BioWare’s founders were ahead of the curve when they left the studio last year.