Another Blow for Zynga as Chief Game Designer Leaves Company

Boy, the hits just keep on coming for social game maker Zynga. In the last few months alone, the company has been sued by Electronic Arts, fumbled in its efforts to transition to mobile, broke up with Facebook, killed off 11 of its games, and has been bleeding talent like crazy. All of that is in addition to a weak financial performance.

Now, Zynga’s chief game designer Brian Reynolds is moving on. Numerous reports speculated that he was leaving, and he confirmed the reports on Twitter, saying “Yes I'm officially leaving Zynga after 3 3/4 great years. Back soon... need to think of a new Twitter handle though!” (He has now switched to “TheGameChief” from “ZyngaGameChief”.)

For his part (at least publicly), Reynolds was magnanimous in his departure, later posting this on Twitter:

Reynolds Twitter

Zynga President of Games Steve Chiang told Polygon, “"Brian has a long history in the game industry and has been a great partner to the creative leaders at Zynga. I want to thank him for his leadership of the Zynga Baltimore studio in the design and development of FrontierVille, which brought many innovations to social gaming. We appreciate Brian's contribution and we're proud of the deep bench of creative leaders who are leading the next wave of game innovation at Zynga. We wish Brian the best in his next chapter."

FrontierVille/Pioneer Trail screenshot
FrontierVille/Pioneer Trail screenshot

Reynolds has not announced what he’s doing next, but it’s reasonable to assume that he won’t become the chief game designer for another struggling company anytime soon.