Patrick Soderlund, whose 12 years with Electronic Arts included heading up worldwide studios, the games label and most recently overseeing game designs as chief design officer, is leaving Electronic Arts, the company announced Tuesday morning.
An EA spokesperson told Variety that there are no plans to name a new chief design officer.
“Patrick has been a trusted business partner and a great friend, and his inspiring leadership has had an outstanding impact on EA,” EA CEO Andrew Wilson wrote in a letter sent to EA employees. “As an integral part of the management team for many years – including as head of Worldwide Studios and, most recently, Chief Design Officer – he’s been an agent of change and transformation. From his early vision for Frostbite, which has now become a cornerstone for our technology strategy, to being a champion for Players First experiences, Patrick has always ensured we put creative at the center of everything we do. He has also been unwavering in his commitment to building our pipeline of amazing new games to come, and his fingerprints will be on the experiences that we bring to players well into the future.”
Soderlund founded Refraction Games in 1997, which went on to develop the Refractor Engine and later create a game called “Codename Eagle.” Digitial Illusions CE (DICE) later purchased the company and, with the help of Soderlund, created and launched the Battlefield series with “Battlefield 1942,” an evolution of the ideas created in “Codename Eagle.” Soderlund joined DICE as its CEO in 2000, running the company until its acquisition by EA in 2006. After the purchase, Soderlund was made the VP and general manager of EA Dice. Over the following 12 years, Soderlund held a number of high-profile titles including ones that saw him head up the EA Games Label, the addition of managing Bioware, overseeing EA Sports, EA Games, and Bioware and overseeing all of EA’s game development. Earlier this year, Soderlund was named the chief design officer at EA as part of an internal shuffle which appointed Laura Miele the company’s chief studios officer.
Soderlund’s departure from EA also signals some reorganization within the company, according to Wilson.
“A few teams will move within our organization with this change,” he wrote. “The SEED team led by Johan Andersson will join our studios group to continue driving advanced design and innovation at the leading edge of games. We’re deepening our focus on user experience, and welcoming Jason Wozencroft to our studios to lead a strong, unified UX approach for our games and services. And with new games and content playing a vital role in our networked future, the EA Originals and EA Partners teams led by Rob Letts will join our Strategic Growth group.
“We’re now accelerating into a year where we are delivering some of the most impressive games our studios have ever created, with even more amazing projects in the pipeline. We’re pushing forward to offer access to more great games and content through our industry-leading subscription services. Our competitive gaming program is coming off one record-setting season and heading straight into the next with even higher aspirations. As a company, our culture of creativity and pioneering for our players is powering every step we take.”
In the wake of the news of Soderlund’s departure, EA’s stock saw an immediate drop of 1.26% in morning trade.